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What it looks like to actually 'Do the Work'

I started hosting my first women's retreats nearly ten years ago now. My concept was very simple. I wanted to get women outside for a whole day, connecting with nature, themselves, and each other in a shared experience that would inspire a more introspective viewpoint. My little day retreats included a guided mediation, a group processing ritual, a trail ride on my horses, a gentle yoga session led by an instructor, and concluded with a charcuterie spread and some wine.


Ten years later, I still host my sweet little day retreats and in fact have one scheduled for April 13th! But since moving to our farm here in TN, I have had the awesome opportunity to dramatically expand and deepen into the retreat experience and concept. Knowing the benefits of just one day of retreat work with women, I wanted to be able to facilitate even bigger shifts, even deeper healing, and offer even more tools and resources to women on their own healing journeys.


So, our Soul Tending retreats were born. I cannot take credit for what these 4-day, 3-night retreats have evolved into, as there has been so much beautiful influence from other healers and practitioners that have made them possible.


I knew that I wanted to create a space and an experience where women could really dig deep and 'Do the Work.' This phrase 'Do the Work' has such an abstract quality to it though, and I wanted to speak to what that looks like and how we have structured it specifically for our Soul Tending retreats.


Here are some of the modalities that we step into during the retreats that facilitate deep emotional processing, big releases, serious ah-ha moments, and permanent changes in perspective:


The Medicine Wheel:


The medicine wheel is a group processing tool, adopted from indigenous belief and practices, that I was taught in my studies as a graduate student. The main idea behind the way that I facilitate the Medicine Wheel, is to help us externalize things that we may feel are obstacles, struggles we are having, or problems we can't seem to solve.


When we can take an issue we are having serious trouble with and see it outside of ourselves, we become a little less identified with it and a shift immediately starts to happen just in the simple act of externalization.


In addition to externalizing some negative element we are stuck in, we are also invited to externalize a positive element in the Medicine Wheel; something we are maybe wanting to manifest in our lives, a goal we have, or a way we want to feel. Visually, we can now see these positive and negative elements (represented by personal objects) outside of ourselves, taking up space somewhere else.


Then, the wheel offers Choice and Movement around these now externalized elements. We can choose to let them live in different quadrants of the wheel or move from one quadrant to another. Each quadrant of the wheel representing a different psychic space; Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual.


When we work in the wheel, we invite in a new perspective, we remind ourselves that we have choice, and we can see the ways in which these energies within us want and need to shift. The Medicine Wheel is such a powerful tool and I am continually blown away by the healing it facilitates.


Parts Work:


My very good friend and colleague, Kristi Schatz, MA Transpersonal Psychology, who facilitates these retreats with me, is a true master when it comes to guiding women into the deeper layers of their psyche. She facilitates several exercises that are 'Parts Work' influenced but supported by image and somatic work.


If you've never experienced Parts Work, it's incredibly revealing of how we talk to ourselves, what we think of ourselves, and the systems of behavior we have developed as a means to protect ourselves. Being able to shed some light on these systems, helps us to find grace for ourselves, to reconnect with what we call our 'Capitol S Self,' and to adopt more adaptive thinking and behavior.



Some of the parts Kristi focuses on connecting to are our Inner Critic, our Inner Child, and our Wise Woman. It's truly one of the most effective approaches to inner work and self-development that I have been a part of and have seen the benefit of in my personal life as well.


We tend to be very closely enmeshed with our Inner Critic, that voice that loves to chime in and tell us all sorts of untruths that keep us from believing in ourselves, fully loving ourselves, and claiming joy over self-doubt and insecurity. The Inner Critic loves to say things like, "you're not good enough" "you're not smart enough" "no one wants to hear your ideas" and basically just anything to make you feel wholly unworthy! Yay! We love our Inner Critic!!


The beauty of this work is that when we can start 'unmeshing' from some of our parts with loving acceptance of why we created them in the first place, we can begin to truly connect with who we are at our core and align ourselves there. This is BIG work!!


I'll have to delve into the benefits of our other modalities used in the retreats in another post because there's honestly too much to talk about in one post! But just to give you an idea, we also step into Equine Therapy, Sound Healing, Restorative Yoga, Cold Water Therapy, and Fireside Council.


So, if you're in a place in your life where you're ready for some seriously deep inner work, this retreat is for you! And not to fear, Kristi and I make this work fun, gentle, and easy. Digging deep doesn't have to be painful or hard. It can be incredibly effective AND lighthearted.


Read some more details here and reserve your space! There's never a better time than NOW to truly start loving yourself.







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