It can be life giving and regenerative to take time away from the every day demands of life, and retreat to a beautiful setting where one can shift the pace of life, engage in creative, contemplative processes and uplifting conversations, and enjoy awesome food and deep rest. A wide variety of retreats with this in mind are designed and facilitated each year to welcome people into such an experience. Check each retreat for details and locations or contact me if you would like to arrange for one to be brought to your area.
An Earthy Experience
Engaging with Creation Season
September 25th (4:30) - September 27th (1:00), 2023
"The earth is what we all have in common."
- Wendell Barry
We are gifted with this precious earth as our home, and invited to live with gratitude, reciprocity and care every moment of our lives. We will nestle into the beautiful valley at The House of Prayer in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, as we begin this intimate journey with creation during the ecumenically celebrated Season of Creation. As we engage in this year’s ecological-based theme “Let Justice & Peace Flow” we will:
Create a river that flows with our gratitude, concerns, and signs of hope for the earth.
Participate in mindfulness walks that invite us to consider different ways of relating to the earth.
Experience GRACE: a nature-based spiritual process of Grounding, Reflection, Art, Connection and Expression.
Engage in a unique Circle of Life Game that inspires reflection and conversation with the natural world.
Offer blessings and commitments to care for the earth housed in clay vessels.
As we connect with the earth and each other in sacred ways, we will be connecting with nature-based wisdom that David Abram expressed as being “older than our thinking minds.” By the end of this retreat, we will leave both refreshed and blessed with a deep relationship with the earth itself, and an intentional commitment to care for this place all species call Home.
Facilitator: Marg Janick-Grayston; Expressive Arts Practitioner, Spiritual Mentor, Nature Therapy Guide, Retreat Leader, and Creator of Free Flow Wellness.
Number of Participants: Maximum 7
Registration Fee: $225 (Covers accommodation, food, and materials)
Facilitation Donation: Suggested range is $125 - $175 for the retreat.
Register By: September 17, 2023
Payment: Registration fees & Facilitation donations can be sent via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to Marg Janick-Grayston, RR2, Site 2, Box 44, Canora, SK. S0A 0L0. Please include any special dietary needs for this retreat.
Cancellation Policy: If leadership cancels the retreat, a full refund will be offered. If a participant cancels by September 17, a full refund will be offered. If a participant cancels after Sept 17, all but $75 will be refunded.
Supplies: Bring a journal, pen, markers & crayons to carry with you in nature, and clothing to help you enjoy being outside in all types of fall weather.
Soul Naturing Sanctuary
A.K.A. Wild Church
Day 1 (4:30 PM) - Day 3 (1:00 PM)
"Creation is our first and final cathedral. Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing."
- Richard Rohr
Come experience this soul-naturing practice where nature invites us into the Sacred. During this retreat, where all constellations of spirituality are welcomed, we will form a community through our connections with Spirit and Earth. One by one, through spiritual practices that invite us to commune with the natural world, we will reflect upon, experience, and respond to soul-naturing components that Wild Church gatherings tend to embrace. Such components include Gathering and Silence, Land Acknowledgments, Sacred Readings, Sacred Conversations (with nature as we wander the land and wonder on our own for an hour prior to an invitation for sharing), Expressions of Gratitude and Wild Blessings. We will bring our time to a close with this Communal Practice that expands our connections with Spirit, Earth, and each other as we gather outside in the soul naturing sanctuary known as The Qu’Appelle House of Prayer, in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.
Angels from Heaven to Earth
Engaging the Mystery Together
A Zoom-Based Retreat Series Over 4 Days
Mondays, November 27th, December 4th, 11th, and 18th, 2023
"Winged spirits - angles - are part of the mystery of every culture."
- Sophy Burnham
Stories abound of people sharing experiences of angels coming as thoughts, visions, dreams, animals, light on the water or in the clouds, and as people to name a few. Perhaps you have a few stories of your own where you have felt brushed by the divine and wondered if angels had accompanied you. During this Advent retreat, we will take time to share the mysteries, of Heavenly Angels to Earthly Angels, as we explore the qualities that are believed to be part of the essence of Angles. Qualities that include bringing a calm and peaceful serenity our way, offering messages full of wisdom that guide and teach us, accompanying us with a healing presence, and providing us with a memorable moment that leaves us feeling that we are never quite the same afterwards. During our time together, we will be invited to gather up and share our experiences, contemplate the essence of our guardian angels, and be invited to offer gratitude in creative forms of our choosing.
Leadership: Marg Janick-Grayston; Expressive Arts & Energy practitioner, Spiritual Mentor, Retreat Leader, Forest/Nature Therapy Guide, and Creator of Free Flow Wellness
Register By: Nov. 19, 2023
Facilitation Donation: This is a donation-based service so any amount will be gratefully received. A suggested range is $125 - $175 for the complete series. Your facilitation donation can be sent via e-transfer to email@example.com or via mail to Marg Janick-Grayston, RR2 Site 2 Box 44, Canora, SK. S0A 0L0 at the time of registration.
Cancellation Policy: If leadership cancels the retreat, a full refund will be offered. If a participant cancels by Nov. 19 a full refund will be offered. If a participant cancels after Nov. 19, a full refund minus $30 for administration will be refunded.
Supplies: For your time of contemplative/creative expression, you may wish to have the following handy: a journal, pen, paper, magazines, scissors, glue, markers, crayons or paint, scraps of material, clay and/or any other types of materials you might wish to use during the time for personal reflection.
Retreats Available Upon Request
All signs Point To Spring
From Freeze & Thaw Right Through to Full BLossoming
A Zoom-Based Retreat Series Over 4 Days
"What we humans have that is special is our awareness, our ability to notice, 'Oh, this is what is happening' - whatever it is - and be courageous, stay loving, and keep an open heart as we reflect upon life."
- Emilia Elizabeth Lahti
During this retreat series, which begins on the first day of Spring and falls into the Lenten and
Easter season, we will be invited to make room for inner reflection as we draw from themes
arising through an exploration of the 4 months that the season of Spring spans. We will begin
with a focus on the qualities of March which invites us to turn our attention towards the
seeking of balance in our lives. During our 2nd gathering, we will invite the spring migration of
birds that ramps up in the month of April to inspire us to create lovely nesting places within
our homes and our beings. During our 3 rd gathering, we will be invited to explore how the
month of May summons us to sprout forward in life. And finally, we will turn our attention to
the last spring month of June, to guide us towards a reflection on the blossoming of love.
Each segment of the retreat will include a meditative and sharing time to draw us into the
theme of the day, and 1.5 hours of off-screen time for personal contemplative/creative
reflection, followed by a time for sharing. As we explore the Spring months of March through
June, we will discover how all signs point to Spring, and reflect on integrating new awareness
into our lives.
"Embodying Advent: A Journey of the Senses"
A Zoom Based Retreat Series over 4 Days
1:30 - 4:45 CST
"The universe is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to become sharper."
– Eden Phillpotts
Connecting to experiences through our senses is what deepens our human experience of the
world and brings life to magical things like hope, peace, joy, and love. When it comes to our
senses, we tend to be familiar with sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound, but we use plenty of
sensations other than the big five as we go about our day. In this retreat, we will expand our
experience of the 4 themes of Advent (hope, peace, joy, and love) by engaging them with up to
11 senses! Through a meditative journey we will imagine such things as the aroma of hope, the
texture of peace, the sight of love or the sound of joy, to name a few. Perhaps contemplating
advent through our bodily senses, rather than through our mind, might bring hope, peace, joy,
and love to life in a new way, and even enliven our actions as we move through each day.
During our time together there will be times of sharing and meditation to spark our senses, as
well as 1.5 hours off screen to respond in reflective & or creative ways, before we wrap our
theme up and gift each other with the insights that came our way. We will leave each session
with a sharper sense of the magical themes of Advent.
Soaking in Nature with Poetry by Mary Oliver
An In Person Retreat:
Day 1 (5:30 pm) – Day 3 (1:30 pm)
The Qu’Appelle House of Prayer, Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.
There is so much wisdom Creation has to offer us if we just slow our pace, and open our hearts to
listen. I don’t know of anyone who listened and responded to nature as it spoke to her more deeply
than the poet Mary Oliver. In this retreat, that takes place during the ecumenical Season of
Creation, we will be inspired to listen to creation speak to us as we take Mary Oliver’s poems for a
stroll through nature, or simply soak them in as we sit quietly, and then respond to our experience
in our own inspired ways. During this retreat there will be time spent sharing together, as well as
lots of time to wander, listen, reflect and respond to nature on your own. As we nestle into the
valley at the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer for this retreat, we will celebrate nature, listen to creation
speak, and reflect upon ways to care for our Common Home that is filled to the brim with diverse
forms of life.
Doors of our Heart: A Journey through Palm Sunday to Easter and Beyond
An Online Retreat Series over 5 days Via Zoom
(1:00 - 4:15 CST)
"Approach each new door with trust and confidence in your heart
knowing the world is waiting for the goodness and the love you carry within you.."
Doors can be a metaphor for our lives…a symbol of who we are, how we live our lives out, and what
our relationship with the Divine is like. This retreat series invites us to open the door into the hearts
of people who journeyed with Jesus from Palm Sunday through to Easter and beyond, and to explore
the doors of our own hearts along the way, that we might open them wider and wider to Divine love.
Themes we will explore together along this journey include:
Day 1: Envisioning the Door of our Heart: Journeying into Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-40)
Day 2: Exploring the Shadowy Doors of our Heart: Journeying from the Garden to the Tomb
Day 3: Connecting with Hope, Longings and Guardians of our Heart: Journeying into the
Tomb (John 20:1-18)
Day 4: Examining the Locks and Hinges on the Doors of our Heart: Journeying Behind Locked
Doors (John 20:19-31)
Day 5: Stepping Beyond the Threshold of the Door of our Heart: Journeying Towards
Transformation (John 21:1-19)
Each segment of this retreat series will begin with a time of exploring the scripture passage and
theme together. This will be followed by 1.5 hours of off-screen solitude to reflect creatively on the
doors of your heart through your choice of options such as meditating, praying, journaling, painting,
collaging, sculpting, creating a song or poem or any other expression that you feel drawn towards.
We will then come back together for a time of sharing, and bringing our time to a prayerful close.
Supplies: For your time of creative expression, you may wish to have the following handy: a journal,
pen, paper, magazines, scissors, glue, markers, crayons or paint, scraps of material, clay and any
other types of materials you might wish to use during the time for personal reflection.
An Imagination Pilgrimage for the Soul
Knitting our Lives into the Sacred Landscape of the Earth
An Online Retreat Series over 5 days Via Zoom
1:00 – 4:30 (PT) 2:00-5:30 (CST)
“A pilgrimage provides a sense of purpose…calms the restlessness within
…makes the days worshipful…and knits one’s life into the landscape.”
- Guy Stagg
Although some pilgrims have wandered continuously with no fixed destination, pilgrims more commonly seek a sacred place that deepens their connection with the divine. Over the years people have found spiritual connection by lakes, at vistas, on mountains, and in sacred gardens. During this time when travel has become challenging for many people, this retreat series provides an opportunity to take an IMAGINARY pilgrimage across Canada, in the company of others. As we journey together, we will reflect upon what a pilgrimage for the soul is and ways that the natural landscapes we encounter might ruminate with our lives and connect us spiritually. During the retreat, we will reflect upon the following:
Day 1: Spiritual Guides and Accompaniers for the Journey: What guides along the way
might we invite to accompany us on this pilgrimage for the soul? Might it be a deity, a saint, the
moon, the sky, a winged one, a four legged one, or the company of a loved one?
Day 2: Ebb and Flow: What might the lakes, rivers & oceans reveal about our life as we
imagine travelling through Eastern Canada?
Day 3: Wide Open Vistas: As we reach the prairies, how might the wide-open view speak us
Day 4: Finding Solid Ground: What might the rocks, cliffs and peaks of the mountains in
Alberta inspire you to ponder?
Day 5: Nurturance and Vitality: As we reach British Columbia how might the tucked away
lush, sacred gardens help you contemplate peace?
Each segment of this imaginary journey will begin with a time of reflection and sharing on the theme of the day inspired by video footage of the landscape, followed by individual time for meandering
outdoors, journaling and/or creative expression as we invite the landscape to speak to us about life. We will conclude with an invitation for sharing, and close with a theme song to send us off, until we meet again for the next great adventure the following week. Come; connect with a small group of spiritual seekers to enter this imagination pilgrimage of the soul under God’s clear blue sky together.
Supplies: Your imagination, a journal and pen, a copy of the handouts you will be sent prior to the
retreat, art supplies of your choice (e.g., art paper, old cards, markers, crayons, magazines or old
calendars, scissors, glue).
A Breathtaking Path to Whole-Hearted Living
Art as a Spiritual Practice
"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow."
- Kurt Vonnegut
Come explore the diverse nature of spirituality that connects us with our soul, and helps us
discover ways to breath in life with courage and vigor. In this retreat we will discover our place
in the universe through a mandala meditation, the power of our breath as prayer, and delve into
the realms of our heart as we engage in creative processes that open up the doors to new ways of
being. Participants will be invited to explore life through guided imagery, creative expression,
writing, music and movement that bring about new awareness, and are catalysts for healing,
transformation and deeper connection with the Divine. Spaciousness for personal reflection and
sharing will be woven into the retreat time as we explore the principles of Spirituality, and this
breathtaking path to whole hearted living. Close to the end of this retreat series, participants will be emailed a document with a wide variety of creative ideas they can explore as a spiritual practice, if they wish to delve into this breathtaking path to whole-hearted living more deeply in the days following the retreat. Participants in this retreat can look forward to:
• Gaining deeper insights into understanding how meditation, breathing, and expressing oneself
through art modalities can be a form of spiritual practice that connects us with the Divine and
helps us live more soulfully.
• Personally experiencing the benefits of art as a spiritual practice through active engagement in
creative processes, and coming to understand that incorporating art as a spiritual practice into
one’s life does not require being an “artist” for it is all about what emerges through the process
of communicating rather than what any finished art expression looks like.
• Gaining insight into the principles and practices of art as a spiritual practice, and ways to
incorporate a wide variety of creative spiritual practices into one’s life.
Location: Zoom-based retreat once per week for 4 weeks, 3.25 hours per session.
Mapping Our Lives
Exploring a Map of Human Experience
Thursday, Nov. 5 (evening) – Saturday, Nov. 7 (noonish)
Location: First United Church, Swift Current, Sk.
In this retreat, we will be exploring a typical looking map that substitutes the names of cities, rivers and seas for concepts, feelings and everyday human experiences. We will find beautiful regions and
desolate ones: Climb mountains of work, survive the desert of despair, and be cradled by the Bay of
Wisdom. Through an exploration of this map, and creative processes to fire the imagination, we will be invited to discover where we are in life, where we want to go and map out our route for getting there. Come and join us for this unique adventure as we explore a map of human experience that has
something for everyone. Watch for further details.
An Advent Journey of the Heart
Advent can be a true journey of the heart and this year is no exception. The scripture readings take us on an emotional journey from one week to the next as they invite us to explore our heavy hearts, our capacity for love and compassion, what direction we need to take to flourish, and the things that we might offer grateful praise to the Divine for. Each week we will explore the particular theme that arises from the heart of an advent scripture passage and reflect on it. We will begin our time together by reflecting on a song, poem, image, video and/or meditative practice that ties in with the chosen them of the day. Then we will delve into the depths of our heart as we take time to explore it further on our own through suggested creative expressions that may include such options as journaling, collaging, imagery, painting, poetry, praying, or whatever direction you feel inspired to take. We will then have time to share in a small group, and finally come together with everyone as we draw the day to a close. Here is a sneak preview of the themes and passages of reflection for this Advent journey into the heart:
Session 1: From Heavy Hearts to Hope-Filled Spirits (Luke 21:25-36)
Session 2: Infusing our Spirit with Love and Compassion (Philippians 1:3-11)
Session 3: Flourishing Towards Joy (Luke 3:9-17)
Session 4: Grateful Praise (Luke 1:39-49)
In “To Bless the Space Between Us” John O’Donohue wrote: “A loving heart awakens the spirit of possibility and engagement with others.” I look forward to engaging with others for this Advent journey of the heart that will awaken the spirit of possibility.
Supplies: For your time of creative expression, you may wish to have the following handy: a journal, pen, paper, magazines, scissors, glue, markers, crayons or paint, scraps of material, clay.
Location: Zoom-based retreat once per week for 4 weeks, 3 hours per session.
Expressive Arts Studio 2 - Theory & Practice
4 Day Course
This course is part of the WHEAT (Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Institute) Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate Program. This segment of the course will introduce the use of expressive arts strategies that are geared towards multiple intelligences and right brain ways of knowing. Principles and practices of expressive arts, and interventions that can be creatively applied in schools, agencies, creative programs, and private therapy practices will be explored through highly experiential expressive arts processes including the modalities of visual art, movement, music, writing, drama, and meditation. There will be a strong emphasis on developing skills that build connections with students/clients through a person-centered and invitational relational style that creates trust and empowerment, and exploring expressive arts activities that promote self-awareness, emotional health and positive change. Through participating in this course, students will explore aspects of their own lives and become more prepared to work with others through expressive arts interventions. For full course information refer to https://www.wheatinstitute.com/expressive-arts-certificate
Leadership: Marg Janick-Grayston: Expressive Arts, Reiki and Quantum Touch practitioner, Spiritual Mentor, Retreat Leader, and Business Owner of Free Flow Wellness
Location: WHEAT Institute, Winnipeg MB
An Earthy Experience:
Awakening to New Perspectives of Wisdom
“Let the earth shape us even as our fingers create something new from the earth itself."
- Marjory Zoet Bankson
This retreat will offer nature-based wellness practices through invitations to connect with the
earth and create with the very gifts it offers us. We will explore:
• the universes expansive diversity and three ways to relate to the earth through mindfulness
• an internal “weather report” and drumming meditative experience to express how we feel about the earth
• designing nature altars using a practice of gratitude, mindfulness and symbolism
• offering blessings to the earth in the form of clay creations
• GRACE: a nature-based spiritual process of Grounding, Reflection, Art, Connection and
As we connect with the earth and each other in sacred ways, we will be connecting with nature-
based wisdom that David Abram expressed as being “older than our thinking minds.” We will
leave refreshed, blest with new perspectives of wisdom from the earth itself, and deeper
connection to this place we all call home.
An Imagination Pilgrimage for the Soul
Knitting our Lives into the Sacred Landscape of the Earth
"A pilgrimage provides a sense of purpose…calms the restlessness within
…makes the days worshipful…and knits one's life into the landscape."
Although some pilgrims have wandered continuously with no fixed destination, pilgrims more commonly seek a sacred place that deepens their connection with the divine. Over the years people have found spiritual connection by lakes, at vistas, on mountains, and in sacred gardens. During this time when travel has become challenging, this retreat invites us to take an IMAGINARY pilgrimage across Canada, in the company of others. As we journey together we will reflect upon what a pilgrimage for the soul is and ways that the natural landscapes we encounter under God’s clear blue sky might ruminate with our lives and connect us spiritually. Throughout the retreat, the following themes will be explored:
Session 1: Ebb and Flow: Reflecting upon what the flow of the rivers and the rhythm of the
Atlantic Ocean has to teach us about moving through life.
Session 2: Wide Open Vistas: Exploring what the wide open vista views of the Prairies invite us
to reflect upon.
Session 3: Finding Solid Ground: Gathering inspiration as we ponder how the rugged mountains
of Alberta speak to us about finding our footing as we move forward or retreat in life.
Session 4: Nurturance and Vitality: Contemplating what we take time to nurture, what brings us
alive, and what offers us peace as we reach the tucked away lush, sacred gardens of British
Each segment of this imaginary journey will begin with meditative videos and writings to reflect upon
and spark the sharing of stories. It will be followed by individual time for journaling and creative
expression depicting how the landscape spoke to us about life and connected us spiritually. We will
conclude with an invitation for sharing, and offer a poem, image, song, prayer or blessing to send us off, until we meet again for the next great adventure the following week. Come; connect with a small group of spiritual seekers to enter this imagination pilgrimage of the soul under God’s clear blue sky together.
Advent Conversations Around the Fire
Igniting sparks of Creative Contemplation on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love
An Online Retreat Via Zoom
(Note: Each day will begin with a time of reflection on the given theme, followed by a couple of hours to go off to contemplate and create. The last hour will be spent back on zoom for a time of sharing.)
A 4 day, 4.5 hour retreat series
“The candles are many but the light is one.”
Advent is a season to slow down, reflect, and prepare to connect with spirit-filled light in the
world. This retreat offers time to reflect on advent themes around the light of a candle, create
expressions at a contemplative pace, and harvest deeper awareness about hope, peace, joy and
love through sharing together. In preparation for the season, we will explore each theme
separately through a process of offering stories, poems, songs, quotes, symbols, meditations
and/or experiences that we share with each other. Our collaborative conversations will spark
creative flow towards expressing our thoughts, feelings, and insights through any form of
creative expression the spirit guides us towards, whether it be journaling, storytelling, collage,
fabric arts, singing, dancing or simply sitting in mindful stillness… One never knows how the spirit
will seek expression, so there are no limits. Further conversation will help us continue
reflecting on each advent theme with greater and greater depth as we create an advent alter to
guide us spiritually through each week. Upon leaving, we will have many new insights sparked
by wonderful conversations and creative expressions that began around the light of a candle,
which we can integrate into our personal lives and/or worship planning.
Supplies: A candle, matches, a journal, and any art supplies that might help you in depicting
hope, peace, joy & love in a creative form. Also, any stories, poems, songs, quotes,
meditations, symbols and/or experiences that come to mind that you may wish to share on each
of the themes of hope, peace, joy and love.
A LLWL Continuing Education Event
Entering Advent in a Time of Crisis
Bah Humbug or Hope-Filled Anticipation?
A 3-hour Zoom Event for LLWL’s
With an Optional “Chat Time Over Lunch Time” Invitation
to engage in free flow conversation with your cohort.
(Note: During our time together there will be small blocks of time spent offering some
information, and larger blocks of time offered for personal reflection and group sharing.)
The advent season takes us on a journey towards Christmas, the ultimate symbol of hope, love,
and giving. For many of us it has become a time for family gatherings, big feasts around the
table, and the exchange of gifts and hugs. But, with Covid, and distancing, and tiny bubbles of
contact in our midst, we may feel more like Ebenezer Scrooge whose response to Christmas
was” Bah Humbug” because it lacked meaning for him. With everything that is going on, it may
feel harder for us this year to enter this season with hope-filled anticipation. In our time
together we will be checking into our” internal weather forecast” to see how we, and the
communities of faith we relate to, are entering the Advent Season. Secondly, we will consider
why this season overflows with hope from a historical perspective, and where hope is showing
up today. Lastly, we will review some research information on the negative and positive effects
of faith in a time of crisis, and brainstorm ways to acknowledge people’s struggles, as well as
embrace our faith in the most positive of ways to reconnect us with hope. And as an optional
bonus to this time together, anyone interested is invited to stay longer for a “Lunch Time Chat
Time” with your cohorts to engage in some extra free-flow conversation time together.
Supplies: A sheet of paper and some markers or crayons is all that is needed for the invitational,
reflective “internal weather” check-in process, or if you find that scary, you can feel free to use
your imagination. Also please have a pen and paper or a journal for writing in.
Listening for the Still, Small Voice Within
A Guiding Light Towards Health and Wellness
Day 1 (5 pm) – Day 3 (2:00 pm)
In this day and age, with a multitude of responsibilities and the pull to stay connected to social
media and technology, we seem to take less and less time to listen for the still small voice of
wisdom to guide our way. And the more hurried, and tired we become, the harder it seems to
connect with such wisdom. In this retreat we will be invited to engage in energetic practices
that boost our energy throughout the day. We will be inspired to connect with the still, small
voice within us creatively as we reflect on the challenges the biblical character Elijah had in
hearing the still, small voice, and consider our place along a similar path towards burnout. We
will also experience fun, and unique ways of listening to the still small voice as we engage in
“Playing with Archetypes”. This game includes 24 Red Rose Tea figurines along with processes
that invite us to listen to ancient wisdom, housed in folk tales, that apply to our own lives.
Through explorations, we will discover how archetypes (ancient, universal patterns of behavior
derived from historical roles such as Mother, Father, Servant, Healer, Child) can be viewed as
another inner support system guiding us towards well-being. All of these experiences will lead
us towards greater awareness of the still small voice within, that guides us towards health and
Spirals of Call: Aligning Role and Soul
Reoccurring Patterns in Life Leading to True Self
An Online Retreat via Zoom
A 4 Day Retreat from 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Note: Each day will begin with an introduction to the material via zoom,
followed by a couple of hours for you to go off to reflect and create.
The last 30-45 minutes will be spent back on zoom for a time of sharing.
“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral.
You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths."
Barry H. Gillespie
As long as we are alive, the spiral of call never stops. Time and again, as we experience the shifts and
transitions in life, the spiral of call revisits us. Each time we enter the spiral it takes us to a deeper place of understanding who we are, what our life purpose is, and what our unique gifts are to offer in the world. In this 4-day retreat, we will explore the spiral of call, and reflect creatively on the components of identity, purpose in life, and unique gifts, as well as the patterns of change that accompany each of them. Whether or not we are in the midst of relational, vocational, economic, health, aging, or geographical shifts, the spiral of call will revisit us again and again. Sometimes it begins with twinges of restlessness, sometimes it is welcomed, and sometimes it hits us unexpectedly out of nowhere. No matter how it shows up, when we begin to notice questions of identity, purpose and gifts arise within us, it is helpful to become acquainted with the spiral of call, and the patterns of change that will take us another step towards discovering our truest selves, and aligning our role and soul.
Nestling into Stillness
Day 1 (4 pm) to Day 3 (2 pm)
"There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole different world begin to whisper."
- James Carroll
During this time of year it can be refreshing to step outside the busyness to enter a few days of deep time to nestle into stillness, and deepen our spiritual connection as well as refresh our creative energy. During this retreat each participant will receive a copy of “Listening Below the Noise” by Anne LeClaire, that will become our companion as we nestle into the beautiful Qu’Appelle valley at The House of Prayer, which is a very quaint place that draws people towards an experience of stillness. As we gather, we will prepare ourselves to walk into a snow-filled day with ears open to the divine. This retreat is all about slowing our pace, preparing to enter into times of silence, sharing our experiences, talking about the shadow sides and resistance to silence, and imagining ways of crossing the threshold of deep time that are designed for our unique selves, as each of us returns home. I hope something in this retreat will whisper to you, and will awaken you to the benefits and pleasures of a world that is waiting beneath the noise.
Flowing Through Life
Letting Go of Control and Perfectionism
Day 1 (4 pm) – Day 3 (1 pm)
"People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner. " I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds."
- Carl R. Rogers
Many people tend to live out of the left side of the brain and look at life through a critical lens. Creating dreamscapes with alcohol inks, helps us to loosen up, open our minds to a myriad of possibilities, be gentler with ourselves, and flow through life with greater ease. In this retreat you will be guided through the process of dreamscaping with alcohol inks, as well as consider ways to quiet the critical mind when it kicks in. As we draw upon June Rollins dreamscape techniques during this retreat we will:
Experience the sheer joy of watching sunsets magically appear as the inks run and mingle with each other before our very eyes
Explore 4 questions put forth by Byron Katie to help us “Love What Is.”
Consider Dewitt Jones perspective of “Celebrating What’s Right with the World.”
Become familiar with Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller’s “Map of the Soul” and 5 steps to take a “you-turn” when we become overwhelmed by an emotion.
The beautiful dreamscapes that we go home with will continue to inspire us to flow through life freely as it unfolds.
Inviting the Winged Ones to Inspire our Living
Day 1 (4 pm) – Day 3 (2 pm)
"May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living." - EE Cummings
Birds seem to catch the interest of people from far and wide, so much so that they have inspired humanity to discover ways to take to the air in numerous forms. Each bird species is incredibly fascinating, and once we begin to delve into their unique characteristics they begin to inspire our own living. What better time of year to enjoy connecting with and learning from these amazing winged ones than Spring time? In this retreat we will have time to meander outside to commune with the local birds, look at the power of a feather, and become versed in the characteristics of the familiar and smarter than we even imagined magpies, the majestic eagles, the ancient loons, and the amazing hummingbirds. As we zoom in on these amazing birds we will create an expressive arts piece that reminds us of the ways they inspire our living.
The Art of Creating More Time for What We Love
Day 1 (1pm) - Day 4 (1pm)
'"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for."
Are you feeling like you don’t have enough time or energy in a day to get through your to-do-list, and still take care of yourself, enjoy hobbies, and have quality time with your family and friends? Well, it seems many of us suffer from “Time Scarcity” in our lives, which creates stress, and depletes our vital energy. In this retreat, participants will receive a copy of “The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People” written by a monk, doctor, teacher and bestselling author by the name of Pedram Shojai. His book offers us 100 short, daily reflections on slowing time down, discerning where our time is leaking, and making adjustments to habits that eat up our time. During the 4 day retreat, we will explore numerous themes in the book through creative processes, and experience some blocks of free time as we get off to a great start in living from a perspective of “Time Prosperity.” And we will have our very own copy of the book to return home with to continue the practice of stopping time, and creating more energy and enthusiasm aligned with the things we most value and love in life.
A Pathway to a Resilient Spirit.
Day 1 (4 pm) – Day 3, 2018 (2:00 pm)
"People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their beauty is revealed only if there is light from within"
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Much of the messaging at this time of year is about Joy. Some of us embrace joy fully, some of
us catch glimpses of it, and some of us really struggle to experience it. Ever wonder why some
people seem to be able to stay connected to joy, and have a resilient spirit even when life get’s
tough, while others just can’t seem to bounce back? In this retreat we will draw upon the
research of Brene Brown in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” to discover the essential
elements of a resilient, joy filled spirit. We will come to understand that resiliency is grounded
in spirituality, and practices of gratitude and joy. We will reflect on these aspects of our own
life through creative explorations, and DIG deep to get Deliberate, Inspired and Going as we
focus on cultivating joy and building our own resilient spirit.
From Monkey Mind to Mindfulness
Finding the Sea of Calm Within
Day 1 (5 pm) – Day 4 (1 pm)
“Last week I online shopped too much. Then I ate 2 pounds of jelly beans to feel better about that. In fact, while I was trying to read soul-nourishing things
all I could think about was shopping and jellybeans.
Points to the monkey mind."
- Anna White, Mended: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Leaps of Faith
Neuroscientists now tell us that the practice of mindfulness is fundamental to our mental health, to
forming healthy relationships with ourselves and others, to our creative pursuits, and to moving through this world with deeper compassion. Neuroscientists also say a practice of mindfulness can literally change the brain in positive ways, and it is as simple as paying attention! This 4 day educational retreat will be filled with creative fun as we focus on an exploration into the nature of our minds, and the practice of mindfulness. Over the course of the retreat we will:
- Discover aspects of mindfulness, the benefits of mindfulness, & practical mindfulness skills.
- Monkey around with wool as we create a Mindscape of our Mind
- Get intimate with the rhythm of our breath
- Create a Sea of Calm Mandala to expresses our place in the universe
- Tune into music as a mindfulness practice to our inner-world of thoughts and emotions
- Create an introspective sacred space
- And have plenty of free mindfulness time to simply be!
Come, let’s open our awareness to our beautifully complex minds together, as we move from monkey
mind to mindfulness in a sea of inner calm.
Rooted In Nature
Inviting Trees to Inspire Our Living
Day 1 (5 pm) – Day 4 (2 pm)
We read in fairy tales of trees with human faces, trees that can talk, and sometimes walk. As we explore the groundbreaking scientific discoveries of how forests are social networks that communicate, support and nurture each other, perhaps forests will become magical places for us too. Come take a walk in the woods with us, as we welcome our new understandings of trees to inspire us to reflect upon our own lives. During this 4 day retreat we will reflect on information in Peter Wohlleben’s new book “The Hidden Life of Trees” and enter into creative processes that help us explore our own rootedness, stability, growth, pace of life, and how to bloom where we are planted. At the end of this retreat we will take home an expressive art piece of a tree depicting our own unique life in symbolic form. After this event, our view of the forests, will change forever, and a walk in the woods will be an experience like never before.
Enlightenment in Slow Motion
Elders in Training
Day 1 (4 pm) – Day 3 (2:30 pm)
"Apprenticeship for becoming an Elder begins very young, and continues over a lifetime."
Are you intrigued by the idea that enlightenment comes to us in slow motion, and that
throughout our entire lives we are indeed “elders in training”? Are you interested in exploring
ways to move through life with grace as we age and grow towards enlightenment? If so, come
engage in creative processes designed to help us explore this fascinating topic together. There
will be lots of individual reflective time, as well as time to share our thoughts and learn from
each other, as we:
- Recall shape shifting/transformative moments in our lives
- Become fierce with reality as we explore a pathway to wholeness
- Consider where we are speeding through life, and where we yearn for moments of
deep, unrushed time
- Explore what nurtures our deepest longings and connection to the divine
- Reflect on Thomas Moore’s 7 steps to becoming an Elder who inspires others to engage
the world meaningfully
Come join us in this engaging opportunity to explore our natural process of aging through a lens
of positivity and wholeness.
Listen With the Ear of Your Heart
A Contemplative Practice for all of Life
Day 1 (4:30 pm) – Day 3 (2:00 pm)
During this time of year, when life is often more hustle and bustle, than reflective and contemplative, it can be a real gift to slow the pace down long enough to breath, and listen with the ear of our heart. During this retreat we will create time for that part of us that longs for silence, reflection, creative space, and stillness to soak in the presence of the holy. As we explore themes of hope, love, joy and peace, we will reflect on inspirational writings, art images, music, and nature by engaging in a 4 part contemplative practice that invites us to listen to our heart through a process of Shimmering, Savouring, Summoning and Stilling. We will spend time sharing how we imagine this contemplative practice might be integrated into the rhythm of our entire days when we re-enter whatever awaits us upon returning home. Come and join us. We just may discover renewed energy that is sustainable through this unique contemplative practice.
The Extreme Art of Well Being
A Practice of Holding Our Own Wellbeing Sacred
Day 1 (4 pm) – Day 3 (2 pm)
Feeling overextended? Wishing you could care for yourself as well as you care for others? Just want life to slow down a notch so you can catch your breath and replenish your energy? The practice of extreme well-being focuses on making choices that reflect the true nature of our soul, and allows us to make our greatest contribution to the world with renewed energy. During this retreat we will explore 12 practices of wellbeing. Each participant will be invited to explore creative processes that delve more deeply into the 6 practices that most catch their attention. By the end of our time together we will each identify one practice that we wish to focus on in our life as we return home. Throughout this retreat there will be blocks of spacious time for us to truly rest, or soak in some fresh air out in the beautiful prairie landscape, as well as time for personal reflection and sharing. Each of us will go home with a creative journal including information about all 12 practices that will inspire us to engage in the Extreme Art of Well Being for years to come.
Art Making as Mindfulness:
A Breathtaking Path to Living in the Moment
Day 1 (10am - 6pm) – Day 2 (10am - 6pm)
During our time together we will experience processes that draw on breath meditations, visual arts, writing, movement, and sharing as they explore the practice of mindfulness. We will engage in creating soul infused creative expressions that help us wake up to the truth of what’s happening inside & outside us, moment by moment, and embracing whatever arises with unconditional acceptance. Practical knowledge about how to plan sessions for groups, work from a person-centered approach with people’s art, and art making ideas to integrate into your personal and professional lives will be interwoven throughout this experience. Come learn how mindfulness can take us on a breathtaking path to living in the moment.
An Excursion into the Land of Emotions
Day 1 (4pm) – Day 3 (2:30pm)
Emotions are what make us human.
“They are energy in motion.”
- Peter McWilliams
As humans we experience an array of emotions popping up within us every day. We express some openly, we hide some intentionally, we love the feeling of some, and we dislike the feeling of others.
In this retreat we will begin our exploration of emotions by drawing from the fascinating characters of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust as portrayed in the movie “Inside Out”. We will be invited into creative processes that help us reflect on how each of these emotions moves through our own lives. We will consider the stages and strengths of each emotion, and learn processes that aid us in responding emotionally in ways that lead us towards positive relationships within and without.
Come join us for this time of befriending these predominant emotions that move within and without out us throughout our lives.
Art as a Spiritual Practice
A Breathtaking Path to Whole Hearted Living
Day 1 (6pm) – Day 3 (1pm)
A spiritual practice involves breath, courage, vigor and soul.
Come explore the diverse nature of spirituality, discover the power of your breath, and delve into the realms of your heart as we engage in expressive arts processes that open up the doors to new ways of being. Take time to consider the principles of spiritual practices and ways you can embrace the arts leading to a breathtaking path to whole hearted living. Participants will be invited to explore life through guided imagery, visual arts, writing, music and movement that are catalysts for healing and transformation. The focus is 100% on the insights gleaned alone and together through the power of creative expression rather than the finished products so artistic ability is not a requirement to participate. Spaciousness for rest, relaxation and personal down time will be woven into this retreat.
Shining Our Light in the World
Day 1 (5pm supper) – Day 3 (1:30 pm)
There is no time like December to slow the pace of life down, peer into the amazing star filled night sky, and consider how we might shine our light in the world as the New Year approaches. During this retreat we will take time to consider a map for living through the Courage and Renewal Touchstones that have been newly depicted as Touch Stars in the night sky. As we peer into the night sky, and enter creative processes, we will consider shining our light in the world through the touch stars of: welcome, presence, speaking truths, being invitational, refraining from fixing, listening to the inner teacher, finding what we need, asking open and honest questions, turning to wonder, soaking in silence, and holding things in confidence. We will consider which of these Touch Stars shine faintly in our lives and which ones light up the night sky as we expand our brightness together. We will leave with our own personal Mantra/Touch Star painting to guide our way through life.
Mapping Our Lives
Exploring a Map of Human Experience
Day 1 (5:30pm supper) – Day 3 (1pm)
In this retreat we will be exploring a typical looking map that substitutes the names of cities, rivers and seas for concepts, feelings and everyday human experiences. We will find beautiful regions and desolate ones: Climb mountains of work, survive the dessert of despair, and be cradled by the Bay of Wisdom. Through an exploration of this map, and creative processes to fire the imagination, we will be invited to discover where we are in life, where we want to go, and map out our route for getting there. Come and join us for this unique adventure as we explore a map of human experience that has something for everyone.
Moving to Life’s Rhythms
A Practice of Moving the Body, Releasing the Heart and Freeing the Mind
Day 1 (5:30pm supper) – Day 3 (1 pm)
It is said that movement is our first language. Gabrielle Roth, author of Sweat Your Prayers, created a musical map that focuses on the embodiment of 5 distinct rhythms in life: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. At this retreat we will explore each of these states of being through movement, and expressive arts processes that give expression to our experiences in life. People will be invited to adapt the movement components to their own physical comfort levels. All other expressive arts components (visual arts, journaling, EST.) will focus entirely on what we learn from the process, rather than what any finished product looks like, so artistic ability is of no concern. Come join us as we explore this dynamic movement practice that helps our bodies feel quieter, our minds become clearer, and our inner space cope with life in new ways.
Pearls of Wisdom
Exploring Maps for Living through Rhythms of Nature
Day 1 (4pm) – Day 4 (1pm)
Are you aware of a decision you have to make, an idea you want to implement, or a dream you have for your life but don’t know how to proceed? Have you ever experienced the first stirrings of intuition where you know something wants to take shape within your life, but you don’t know what it is? At times like this we often want immediate clarity, rather than waiting for it to unfold naturally. In this retreat there will be spaciousness to explore the natural stages of waiting, opening, closing, holding, releasing, emptying and sitting that occur in the creation of a pearl. Each of these stages will be explored through a process of information, meditation, symbols, art journaling, and sharing to discover Pearls of Wisdom that can be applied to our own lives. We will discover the places that pull us out of synch with this natural process, as well as consider what stage we need to settle into in the present moment. All the expressive arts components will focus entirely on what we learn from the process rather than what any finished product looks like so artistic ability is of no concern. As we leave, we will each take a book of our creative art journaling and information about each stage with us, to assist us in being mindful of this natural cycle in all areas of our life.
A Full Voice Adventure
Exploring Five Elements of Our Voice
Day 1 (4pm) – Day 3 (2:30pm)
“Imagine your throat as a very personal universe.
Imagine that the top of your universe opens
to receive the wonderful vibrations from the infinite universe around you…
You will feel your voice flowing with strength and energy...”
The Tao of Voice – Stephen Chun-Tao Cheng
Do you ever wish your voice would flow with strength and energy, as you try to project your knowledge, express your passion, extend compassion, convey clarity, or offer inspiration to others? Do you ever wish you could understand the voice of others better? During our time together we will discover the potential of our Full Voice through 5 elements shaping unique voice styles. We will explore the groundedness of our Earth Voice, the passion of our Fire Voice, the compassion of our Water Voice, the clarity of our Metal Voice, and the spiritual connection that our Air Voice conveys. Learning to consciously tap the full range of expression available to us makes it much more likely that our messages will reach the minds and hearts of our listeners. Understanding the Full Voice of humanity also strengthens our ability to listen more fully to others we encounter. Come join us for this play-filled retreat where we will be guided through a variety of creative processes, including music, singing, movement, writing and imagery that help us embody the 5 elements that will surely help our voices flow with strength and energy.
Prairie Labyrinth Pilgrimage
Day 1 (5:30pm) – Day 3 (1pm)
The point of a maze is to find its centre.
The point of a labyrinth is to find your centre.
Come join us for a relaxing retreat where we will experience a variety of labyrinths in the Saskatoon area. Our retreat will begin with a meal around the supper table followed by a time of community conversation, reflection, and sharing. Our first morning will be spent at a 40 acre site where you will be invited to follow your intuition as you walk a Cretan style labyrinth, enjoy walking paths, a medicine wheel, and a crystal gift shop with over 200 mineral varieties. We will draw the morning to a close as we gather in the onsite “Inspiration Hall” for a time of reflection on our experience and a picnic lunch together. In the afternoon we will travel to a second location to experience the walking of a labyrinth together as a community. In the evening we will relax around a bonfire where we will enjoy a meal together, visit and possibly roam the hills or riverbank in the valley. On our final morning we will experience walking a homemade labyrinth and consider how we might continue aspects of this experience in our everyday lives. As people engage in this retreat they will be invited to reflect through creative processes including journaling, poetry, meditation, movement, and sharing that sparks a deepening spiritual journey.
Presiding at Funerals & Ministering to the Bereaved:
A Retreat for Lay People Interested in Funeral Ministry
Day 1 (6pm supper) to Day 2 (1pm)
It is a very sacred moment in time to be able to journey with a family experiencing grief, and accompany them through a process of creating a funeral service that meets their needs. The focus of this program is to honour and encourage the gifts lay people have for funeral ministry and explore and further develop the skills needed to preside at funerals and offer ministry to the bereaved.
During the weekend, time will be spent exploring, learning, and reflecting upon topics that include:
Phases of bereavement and emotions of grief
Pastoral care skills
Exploring the components of various styles of services
Reflecting on our theology on death and dying
Reviewing sample services and resources
Creating a service that meets the needs of the family
Exploring the need for self-care
Looking at Boundaries and Ethics and Pastoral Charge policies that support lay people in this ministry
Participants are encouraged to arrange a tour of a Funeral Home prior to coming to this session, and to bring a copy of their church’s funeral policy if they have one.
Building Communities of Care
An Introduction to Pastoral Care
Day 1 (7pm) – Day 3 (1pm)
At a time when congregations are struggling to meet pastoral care needs this retreat will offer an opportunity to reflect upon our Christian roots in offering pastoral care as a whole community and building pastoral care skills. Together we will practice essential pastoral care skills, discern our strengths and growing edges, consider pastoral care as a theological action, and explore areas of spirituality, prayer, scripture, and boundaries and ethics as they relate to pastoral care. In this way we can embrace an ancient Christian model where pastoral care is offered as part of our natural flow in life as people of faith accompany each other throughout life.
Lay Worship Leader Going Deeper Retreat
Day 1 (5:30pm supper) – Day 3, (1 pm)
I offer Lay Worship Leaders Going Deeper Retreats for people who are Licensed Lay Worship Leaders in the United Church of Canada with the purpose of providing an opportunity to reconnect with their peers, support each other, and further develop skills for worship leadership in particular areas of interest that they identify.