How Heart Wide Open Came to Be
Oh, where to start on this one? Saar had recently graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Canada, and participated in a specialized yoga teacher training which focused on helping those who struggle with body image issues and eating disorders. She was looking for a co-facilitator to offer a 6-week program to bring together yoga, mindfulness and community, to support those in need. She sent out a newsletter to ask her global network if they were, or would know someone who would be, interested. One of her dear friends, Claudia, replied and recommended her to get in touch with Marthe.
Saar reached out, and as she would be visiting Europe in the fall, Marthe invited her to come over to Norway, and spent a couple of days with her at her parents’ home a couple of hours from Oslo. And well, the trusting nomad she is – of course Saar said yes. We met up at the Oslo train station, and travelled a couple of hours North, as Saar ooh-ed and aah-ed about the magical views on the journey. It did not take long for us to notice that we had a lot in common: an immense love of the written word, a deep desire to create and hold space for community, lots of struggles – and growth through – mental health issues and eating disorders, and an insatiable Wanderlust.
A vision of co-creation developed, and a couple of Skype calls later a rough draft of our 365 day Online Coaching program was created. We worked remotely, as we selected monthly themes, and broke those down into daily love notes to our members. Each day would bring a poem, inspiring text, yoga nidra recording, work sheet, recipe, self care guidance, and invitations to share and connect in our Facebook support group.
We met up a couple of weeks later, in Spain, to ring in the New Year and to officially launch Heart Wide Open 365 (no longer on offer, but keep your eyes out for a future book-version of our best material!) , after which Saar took off for Thailand, and Marthe went back to Norway to continue her Degree in Law. Heart Wide Open was completely pieced together whilst we journeyed on seperate continents, pulling from our personal learnings, growing alongside our members.
It was a magical and nourishing experience, to be interacting with a powerful group of women from across the globe in our online group – some of them connected on deeper levels, on the phone, through letters, or even – in person. It inspired us to take the screens out of the way in our connection, and our first Urban Retreat in Vancouver, on Saar’s Birthday (July 5th) in 2015 was a given. It might have been the best Birthday she’s ever had.
Heart Wide Open hasn’t only been something we created for others, it’s also been a rocky road of self-growth and a lot of mirroring and challenges as we worked through our own ‘stuff’ and met up to co-work, in Portland, OR, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and travelled around Cambodia together. Our higher Selfs knew we needed this collaboration, and our friendship, as much as our members needed our support, creativity and experience, yet we were a bit stubborn to surrender in to that at times.
We are so grateful our paths have crossed, and that we continue to walk together – our heads up higher than a couple of years ago, our hearts a lot more open than when we first met, and our ego’s a lot less chatterly than back in the day. We stand behind living with a Heart Wide Open, or as Danielle LaPorte would side: Open, Gentle Heart. Big Fucking Fence.
We’ve created what we were so much in need of, years ago. And are so pleased you are here to share this journey with us.
Our intention during these retreats is to create and hold a safe space for deep and honest connection and conversation. You see, Heart Wide Open was really born out of some of our personal desires and needs: we were hungry for a community of like-minded people, who aren’t afraid to show up perfectly imperfect – as they are.
We decided to create a community in which we can break taboos, speak our minds, and freely express what is is that wishes to be expressed. Without judgment, and without the need to change anything. Rather, we intend to embrace and befriend all the parts of ourselves and others, and to ride the waves of the ebb and flow of life – together. You are perfect – and welcome – just the way you are. Whether life right now feels like a dried up well, smooth sailing, or more like an overwhelming surf with 12 meter high waves.
What we Stand for
We wish for everyone we get in touch with to feel noticed, and seen. To start to see, feel, and experience that your perceived weaknesses and rough spots, are some of your most beautiful, powerful, and inspiring pieces. To welcome in vulnerability and honest conversation, so that we can start to see that wholeness is your nature, and help you let your natural well-being in.
Some Themes we Work With
- Finding Freedom
- Accountability & Tribe
- Play & Laughter (it’s medicine!)