Meet the Mermaids of Mind, Body, Saltwater  - 30A

Meet the Mermaids of Mind, Body, Saltwater 

By: Kristy Gustafson | Posted Nov 7, 2022

They call themselves “joy facilitators,” and for good reason. 30A locals Kathy Maxwell and Stacie Boudreaux set out to curate retreats that allow women to take time out of their busy schedules to find their joy and connect in new ways. What they found was a simple yet profound equation: Mind + Body + Saltwater. This Spring, they hosted their first retreat that brought together 15 women in a dreamy lakefront home, and what resulted was a kind of magic they themselves didn’t even see coming. The days began with coffee and sunrise paddles continued with enlightening workshops, beach time, YOLO e-bike rides, journaling, and lounging by the pool, and concluded with sound healing experiences, bonfires, live music, and true, genuine connection. With plenty of organic, healthy, and delicious meals throughout. 

As they prepare for their next retreat on November 13-17, they invite you to join them for a rejuvenation unlike any other. Get to know the mermaids themselves below. 

To begin, how did you ladies meet?

Kathy: We originally met back in 2016 when we had kids in the same 1st-grade class. It was one of those interactions where you know you share the same vibe and certainly say “hi” in passing, but don’t really know one another. Fast forward a couple of years when we would run into each other here and there around town or at the same birthday parties our kids were attending + also, following one another on social media>>> I was in the middle of some pretty dark & heavy places in my life and (I know this can sound a bit out there but…)I was in the midst of a meditation where I had just journaled, asking for help, for clarity on finding what it was I needed, “what is my next best step?” — and as I sat in my bedroom floor on a furry cushion, clear as day, I heard “reach out to Stacie.” So I did! I stepped way outside my comfort zone at the time, hopped on Instagram, and immediately DM’ed her asking if she was interested in meeting up to chat. And just a few days later, we sat at the beach and completely just clicked. I very much wanted to learn how to be comfortable on a paddleboard and although my paddleboarding skills rapidly improved, it was the connection that really served as my medicine. Connection to the water – to all that Mother Nature provides – and also, connection to community – which I had no clue I craved so much.

Tell us how the idea for Mind, Body, Saltwater came together. 

Stacie: I know the term is worn out to some extent, but it truly has been built completely organically. When we would get together to walk or bike or paddle or however we had our meeting of the minds we would always end up having some sort of conversation or moment that just fired us up in all of the best ways. We have since dubbed what happens and the way it feels to us as “making magic” which is something we try to keep brewing at all times. So between the energy we were cultivating when we were together and witnessing the healing powers both on the water and within the vibration of this community, we knew we had something that we wanted other people to know they can tap into. “What comes out of your mouth comes into your life” so when we made our intentions clear, the door seemed to kick wide open. The best way to say it is that every little detail just fell into complete alignment and gave us the opportunity to build our first two retreats this past May. We were able to secure the most perfect rental house on Lake Stallworth and were so lucky to be backed and supported by Jeff & MItzi Archer at YOLO and just went for it. Since then we have just been riding every ripple that the energy of it created and have been doing small events and whatever we can to keep the ripple going. We also have our next retreat planned for November.

There are a lot of elements that make your retreats what they are – nourishing food, sunrises, time on the water, workshops, and more. What have been each of your favorite pieces?

Photo credit: Kiana Tate

Kathy: I love calling these experiences “immersion retreats” because it’s when you completely step out of your norm – your usual loop or patterns and completely immerse yourself in all the magic – you can really allow yourself the feel what you need to feel in order to take the next right step with whatever it is in your life that you need clarity with. It’s so refreshing to see our society start to put more value into self-care, but when you let others nurture you, it’s like all the jumbled, complexities that make up your current life situation just seem to fall into place. My favorite part has been to witness how the diverse group of lovelies who are a part of our retreats, no matter the age, or stage of life, or interests, end up being the perfect recipe for one another — the synchronicities + the connections! And yeah – I really dig the food. Sharing some of the ways I have learned to nourish my body with others and hearing them comment on how good they feel nourishing their bodies, and helping them navigate how to do the same at home — it’s pretty awesome.

Stacie: My life started shifting and changing completely on the water. My healing began when I connected with paddleboarding almost ten years ago, so that is the one that screams the loudest. I am also someone who chases the sunrise as often as I can. In 2020 when the whole world seemed to shut down, I discovered a beautiful path and vantage point nearby my house to watch it come up over Choctawhatchee Bay. It has since become a ritual for me and something that I love to encourage people to do and lend a new perspective to. Most of us are not early risers so many have never been up early enough to witness it. At the retreats, we gently encourage everyone to join us outside at dawn to watch together. It ends up being a highlight and so special to see everyone excited to be up before the rest of the world, wrapped in a blanket, coffee mug in hand, birds chirping in the early morning air, witnessing the rise altogether.

All of these contribute to what you refer to as “soul medicine” and helping people find their “toolbox” for joy and freedom. Where do you feel that most in your own lives? 

Kathy: We all go through (grow through) different seasons of life and the “tools” we use can change according to where we are in our journey. For me, where I am in this season, focusing on nourishing my body with nutrient-dense foods that also help feed my creativity and nourishing my soul by immersing in nature and adventure allows me to shine my joy and feel the freedom I feel good about. Helping others figure out who they are, what brings them joy, and what their “toolbox” consists of truly lights us up — seeing how empowered they feel when they realize they no longer need to look outside of themselves to be saved, but that they have what they need at their disposal to become the very best version of themselves, feeling so good and so free. My mind is constantly blown by how amazing it feels to truly be of service in this way. It’s this level of joy that you feel when you know you are aligned.

Stacie: We have so many “tools” and resources available to tap into. We really aim to use Mind Body Saltwater as a catalyst to gently introduce as many of those resources and pieces that helped us in our own journeys to joy and freedom. It’s a good way to dip a foot into each one to see if something resonates with you, personally. For some, it could be incorporating breathwork or meditation into daily practice, making more effort to connect to nature, or focusing on a healthy diet, or working with one of the several amazing people within our local community who offer therapy or experiences that could lend to healing and improved mental health. What works for one person may or may not work for the rest. My personal freedom and joy are built on doing things based on the way it makes me feel versus “the norm”. I have really worked to tap into those feelings and to pay attention. I am constantly shifting and swapping out which tools I have in my daily toolbox but the sunrise, the salt water, my diet, and the clear mind that comes with meditation and focus on awareness are permanent fixtures. 

Your next all-inclusive, immersion retreat is November 12-15. What are you most looking forward to?

Kathy: Oh wow! So much! I think for me it really goes back to that alignment piece, that moment when it becomes so clear how everyone fits together and is all in that joy state. I know for us, at this point, it’s a complete knowing – trust – that we are endlessly grateful to be a part of.

Stacie: This is such a hard one for me because I don’t know if I have the words to properly express my answer. Both retreats in May were all women, women from every walk of life you can imagine, and each of us there for a different purpose and intention. What we all had in common was our thirst for freedom, joy, and connection. When that kind of high-vibing energy comes together in the same safe space, it is explosive in all of the very best and most empowering ways. We all just want to be seen, so having a room full of eyes staring back at you with full love and support, it is powerful! The connections that were cultivated throughout the course of a few days were so beautiful! I look most forward to that, to seeing all of those eyes staring back and lit up when they have the time and space to remember why we are all here.  

Ready to make time for you? Their November retreat will consist of a series of morning and evening sessions that attendees can pick and choose from. Check them out here.

To learn more, visit Mind Body Saltwater or follow them on Instagram.

Kristy Gustafson is a writer, born-again beach girl, and author in the works. You can catch her on her YOLO paddleboard, the tennis courts, toes in the sand, or up and down the beach in search of the area’s best Bloody Mary. Follow along her adventures on Instagram @kristyerin10.