My name is: Desirée Pais.
My stomping ground is: Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
I’m known for being: Founder of Benshen.co.
I'm talking about: Our new Benshen.co Co-Working Retreats. We had our first one this past January in upstate New York. It was a winter wonderland-style incredible weekend with an amazing group of women. We spent three days in this gorgeous house, had morning and evening meditation classes and workshops, food prepared by Zoe Johnston and heavenly gift bags with beauty and wellness offerings from Lesse, Osea, Rachel Saunders Ceramics, Prismatic Plants and more. It was so nice to have a weekend.
You can find it at: Our next retreat is April 8th-10th.
Before I launched this, I was: Running Benshen.Co virtually and Benshen Course once a month.
My interest was sparked when: I used to go upstate a few times a year with a group of friends. We would rent a big house and drive up. Most of us are creatives, freelancers or entrepreneurs of some sort. After a few times, I realized I loved going, not just to get away, but to be surrounded by people I love who I was inspired by and genuinely had an incredible time with. We would cook dinners together, spread out about the house working during the days, drinking wine by the fire at night, laughing, singing karaoke, going for hikes, swimming in the rivers. I absolutely loved it and looked forward to it every time. And upstate New York is truly magical all year round.
What inspired me to start this was: For me, while I love going away on retreats, it’s hard for me to shut off completely for a week as a business owner. Ironic, I know. I realized that so many people want to actually just get out of town and get some fresh air/new perspective, and I find that I’m always inspired and actually create better work or get new ideas when I’m in a new place and around people that inspire me. So I thought, what if we planned three-day getaways where we could combine co-working with a yoga/meditation retreat?
What we offer is: An opportunity to get away for the weekend in beautiful upstate New York with an incredible group of women, deep dive into kundalini yoga and meditation practices and come out feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
What makes it different is: I think the co-working aspect is something that I haven’t seen too much. I love that we combine the opportunity to work together, whether it be on your business or your vision, and then take time to enjoy the rejuvenating aspects of being on retreat, as well.
One thing you can’t miss is: Zoe Johnston’s food—and the gift bags.
My favorite secret detail is: There’s a hot tub! Who doesn’t love a Venus moment?
What it means to open your heart is: To open your heart is to get to know yourself. I think the more we can begin to run into ourselves instead of away from ourselves, the better. When we know ourselves and how to love ourselves, we can show others how to love us too rather than creating expectations for them to love us in a certain way and then being let down when they don’t.
When you show self-love, it opens your heart because: You really learn how to take care of yourself, so even when there are hard moments (and, of course, it’s important to have a solid support system), you know how to take care of your own heart. It might not be easy every time, but we get better and better at it as we practice learning how to tend to ourselves and our hearts.
Photography by Olivia Hamilton