Our First Mother-Daughter Retreat

On June 11, Jackie Long, my daughter Deborah Davis, and I held a daylong retreat for mothers and daughters at Stillheart Institute in Woodside, CA. See the video summary here.

I’ve always known that the mother-daughter relationship can be fraught with tension, hurt feelings, and unresolved issues. If those issues are left unattended, they can grow and prevent the relationship from flourishing.

What I didn’t know before June 11 was whether mothers and daughters would be willing to focus some attention on their relationship and nurture it in a safe setting.

Now that we’ve given our first Mother-Daughter Retreat, I’m happy to report that mothers and daughters are not only willing to work, they are eager to nurture this precious relationship that has such an enormous impact on their lives.

When I welcomed the mothers and daughters to our retreat, I told them I knew they were remarkable women. Our 11-hour retreat included yoga, group sharing, practicing communication skills, singing, and mother-daughter bonding with hiking and shared meals.

Our participants exceeded our expectations. The women who attended ranged from their early 20s to 70s. Not all of them came with a mother or daughter but they all hoped to share what they learned with them.

I was touched by the transformations I witnessed between mothers and daughters and amazed by the awareness that can come in just a few hours. The women opened up so quickly, almost like floodgates releasing, and participated wholeheartedly.

It was comforting to hear familiar struggles between mothers and daughters discussed openly and also to see the new appreciation they had for each other. Several described the day as a “gift that will keep unfolding” as they acknowledged what they wanted in their relationship.

We took a risk in offering such a unique day and it paid off. As one of our participants wrote in her evaluation:

It’s amazing what can happen in one short day if you give yourself over to the intention to connect and love more deeply.

I feel honored to have witnessed such honesty and I’m so grateful to our first adventurous mothers and daughters for opening their hearts and minds in our circle of women. I know there are many more mothers and daughters who would love an opportunity to nurture their relationship and we hope to offer more retreats in the future.

  1. I think mother-daughter retreats are a great idea. I live quite close to both my daughters, so any problems tend to get worked out. But on a recent camping trip, my second daughter and I had a quite nice heart-to-heart among the pines late one night. Somehow a different setting does facilitate sharing.