Marry Yourself? On the surface this event sounds like a way to help ease the wounded hearts of disenchanted single ladies. We’ve heard about the man who married his pillow but that seemed nuts. What type of woman would be kooky enough to organize such an event and what kind of woman would dare participate in an activity that seems to be a pledge to singlehood forever?
According to Tarra Christoff, one of the organizers of the Marry Yourself retreat, this event is all about creating a world where every woman loves herself.
“Women of all backgrounds participate in this work,” Tarra says. “At our last workshop we had a 19-year old woman interested in improving her family relationships and setting better boundaries; a mother and daughter that both wanted to start prioritizing themselves; a woman with a young daughter who recently went through a divorce; and an executive who was burned out and ready to start focusing on self-care as the number one priority.”
Tarra says all of the women who attend her Bali retreat, were from diverse backgrounds in age, socioeconomic status, and motivations, but they had a few things in common.
1) They were ready to make self-care and loving oneself a priority
2) They wanted to heal wounds to self-love (we call them Arrows to the Heart)
3) They were in a transition of some kind and looking to create a new story for their lives.
“The retreat is about embracing self-love and removing all barriers to it. In the words of Rumi, ‘Everything has to do with loving and not loving.’ Marrying yourself is about unbridled love for oneself. We live in a culture that sends the message to women that it’s not ok to be single,” Tarra shares. “Our retreat participants are all over the map–recently divorced, happily single, or desiring to be in a committed partnership. What they share is a desire to fully love themselves and have that be the foundation of their lives. But yes, for single women, I do think that this retreat can be incredibly liberating. I felt a big exhale when I married myself. It was the first time I truly accepted and even embraced my singlehood.”
When Tarra was 37 she decided to surrender my love life to a Higher Power. Though she personally desired marriage, she decided that she was going to be happy with her life whether she was ever legally married or not. She wrote Soul Vows, which are commitments that she made to her life’s vision and decided to put her energy there. She had a solo ceremony near a waterfall in Big Sur which changed her life.
The San Francisco resident says her life changed dramatically after writing those vows. Elusive dreams that she had longed to manifest had suddenly appeared in her life. Her work began to take off and her income reached a whole new level. Eight months after her Soul Vows, she met the most amazing man who she plans to marry this summer solstice. He proposed at the beautiful location where she married herself in Big Sur.
“It was magical and I am convinced it had everything to do with committing to my life on the deepest possible level and also with surrendering my vision of being married,” she shares. “We believe that it is both a revolutionary and political act for a woman to radically embrace self-love. If our culture could do this, there would be no more war. However, the war has to end inside and for many women there are hidden and not so hidden beliefs that have to do with martyrdom, giving ourself away, self-hatred, comparing ourselves to others and not truly valuing ourselves.”
Although the Marry Yourself retreat is indicative of a dream come true for Tarra, the road hasn’t always been so smooth. In fact, she had to learn how to give herself space and grow to appreciate herself as a woman and a businesswoman within that space.
“A major obstacle I’ve overcome has had to do with loving myself and believing fully in myself and my gifts,” Tarra admits. “The Marry Yourself work helped me to go deep into those places that did not feel worthy. I believe that self-love is actually the foundation of creating a successful, sustainable business that works for you. For example, I love to take summers off and travel the world. I finally allowed myself to play during the summer time, since that’s what brings me joy and my energy for work naturally drops off. For women, it’s really about designing a business that works for the lifestyle you want and never apologizing for that.”
Her commitment to sharing this message of self-love and freedom with the world is deepened by the bliss she feels now that her life-long dream of being partnered with her soulmate has come to fruition.
“I truly believe that the only reason my soulmate is standing by my side is because I married myself,” Tarra says. “By loving myself first, I created the space for this amazing man to enter my life. By choosing to commit to my Soul Vows, the guidepost for my values and dreams, I opened up the doorway to this union. I am excited to be returning to my beloved Bali, Indonesia for a Marry Yourself retreat this August. If you are reading this article and feel the call, we would love to have you join us!”
Tarra Christoff, MA, leads The Inspired Work Circle, an online program for women in a career transformation. In August 2013, she will co-lead a “Marry Yourself” retreat in Ubud, Bali Indonesia. Join her for seven unforgettable days of self-love, discovery, and a chance to write your Soul Vows by visiting www.marryyourself.me or http://workthatmakesadifference.com/ if you are ready for a career transformation.