This year’s retreat felt like the most magical and yes, intimate, yet. Every year I kind of hold my breath waiting to see how everyone “gels” together and (knock on wood) every year the group becomes fast friends. This year was no exception. By Saturday night it felt like we had all been friends for years. For me personally the highlight of this year was Robin Scott’s workshop on Saturday afternoon, but truly it is impossible to pick a favorite thing, as everything this weekend from the food to the downtime to the yoga was restorative and lovely. Already counting down the days til next year!
A Note from Emily
Everyone single person who attended this year (like all previous years) was a welcoming, unique and brilliant woman doing amazing things. And our guides Danielle, Robin and Amanda brought so much needed energy to the weekend. The conversations were meaningful and life affirming/altering. Every year I come home feeling a shift in myself. Having the opportunity to plan and host such a special weekend is one of the highlights of my year. I'm grateful for everyone who has attended, wants to attend and have read our words. I get just as much (or more) from the weekend as those who we plan it for.
What We Did:
The 2018 Creative Soul Weekend was our FOURTH annual retreat… how is it four years already?!? This year we tried some new things, and kept some traditions alive too. Emily got some fantastic photos, which we're going to share here, along with a day-by-day recap of how the retreat went. Stay tuned at the end of the post for what's coming next for Creative Soul Weekend, including the dates for next year, so you can mark your calendar and book your childcare now! LOL.
Thursday - Welcoming The Gals
Emily and Leah checked in and set about making the cabin welcoming for this year’s participants. We set out flowers, the gift bags, and got the food in the fridge and cupboards.
* A huge thank you to Brenna MacNeil and Quincy Street Market for their unexpected and generous donations to our gift bags and to Robin for gifting us all with our own oil from her beautiful Oils for Empaths collection.
A note on food: This year’s food marked a departure from CSW tradition! We had originally done the food potluck-style in the first year to lower the costs, and then continued that tradition because it was fun to cook together, but it had come to be a little more trouble than it was worth, so this year we gave preparing all the food a try, and including that in the overall price. And because we had two participants who have gluten sensitivities, and one who eats vegan, we made all the meals vegan and gluten-free (with meat and wheat options for those who wanted them) a choice which was enjoyed by all and will definitely be carried over into next year. In this day and age we’re all aware of the health benefits of such a diet and it’s nice to try new recipes to take home. Links to the recipes we made are below in the post - we used all Oh She Glows recipes.
Anyway! Everyone arrived between 3 and 8 PM, as we were all travelling from various places… some from Sydney, some from Halifax, and one gal even came from Maine! This is why we don’t plan anything for Thursday evenings… it’s nice to just relax, greet everyone, and hang out. Unpack, check out the cabin, say hello to the space again.
A couple gals busted out their tarot cards to share, and after a while we ate lentil walnut tacos for supper. The evening passed comfortably with conversation and connection, and a late-night swim.
Friday - A Day with Danielle Bryson
Breakfast was DIY, with eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, granola and toast with PB and jam available, as well as tea and coffee.
Danielle Bryson, a yoga teacher and healer based in Baddeck Bay (Black Stove Studio), arrived at 10 and we spread out our mats on the deck for a yoga class. She opened the class by lighting white sage, then led us through poses to open up our chakras and get the creativity flowing, ending with a yoga nidra session. Danielle’s energy is bright and bubbly, humourous and yet wise, and it was a perfect way to start the day off.
Lunch was a spiced red lentil, tomato and kale soup, which one participant dubbed “Soul Soup” afterwards, with chickpea “egg salad” sandwiches.
Then in the afternoon Danielle did private sessions of reiki, massage and yoga nidra in a bedroom upstairs. As the private sessions went on, the others hung out in the cabin, on the deck, or the beach.
When we don’t have stuff scheduled, it’s very relaxed - you want alone time, you can definitely go for it, no questions asked. Or if you want to hang out and make a collage, and chat, that’s totally fine too. The two Leahs did a run to the local grocery store for a few supplies, and a drive to a couple local beaches and viewpoints.
Dinner was pizza and warm squash salad. Confession - pizzas were of the frozen variety! Whatever… we feel that creativity is all about putting the work in, in some places, and making things easy on yourself where you can. Right? Right.
Saturday - Morning Free Time and an Afternoon with The Diary of an Empath
In the morning Leah N wanted to get some bodyboarding in, so she took anyone interested up the coast to West Mabou beach and then, after those waves weren’t great, to Inverness beach. There may have also been some “Instagram Husbanding” - impromptu photoshoots of us living our best lives. The rest of the gals stayed in Port Hood and had their own solo adventures. There was reading, walks on the beach, tarot, journalling and foraging for edible and healing plants.
Everyone reconvened at lunch for Big Vegan Bowls, artfully arranged by one of our participants who happens to be a professional chef.
Afterwards, Robin Scott (thediaryofanempath.com) and her friend Amanda Bradshaw arrived. We gathered around the table to take part in a sample of Robin’s Empowered Empath Journalling Course, on the Sacral Chakra. We made a small vision board and did some dream journalling and then learned how to set goals and work with the non-physical to take our power back and manifest what it is we are wanting for our lives. It’s hard to put Robin’s energy exactly into words, but afterwards we all felt calmed and yet energized, stoked to get our goals for the next month into action.
Then we quickly got gussied up and headed across the village to the Clove Hitch, a local restaurant where we had a reservation. The intimacy and relaxation of the cabin is so lovely but it’s also nice to get dressed up and dine out with friends new and old! And the Clove Hitch is casual but also fancy… a nice place to wear our dresses and fancy clothes to, and wear lipstick.
Then back to the cabin afterward where Emily chatted with us about the Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions and we talked through some of the questions. But we were all pretty tired by this point so we ended up cutting it short… but we all took the materials home with us for further pondering.
Sunday - the Bittersweet Farewells
Ahh, the last morning. By this point we’re all ready to go home but also don’t want to leave. The weekend feels like it flew by, yet we’re all so full of goodness, we know we soaked up every second. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.
We made a batch of pancakes (https://ohsheglows.com/2014/02/25/easy-vegan-and-gluten-free-pancakes-strawberry-shortcake-w-whipped-cream/) which we shared around the table. We took a group photo on the deck, then a few gals took off early to catch a bus, and the rest of us walked on the beach one more time, letting the waves wash over our feet, sitting and chatting on the sand til a random raincloud came along and made us scurry for the cabin. Then it was packing up the cars and getting ready to head back to “real life”, whatever that is.
The dates for next year are September 5th-8th,
so mark your 2019 calendars, book your childcare, start saving up your spare change (because your self-care is important and you have a whole year to make this happen for yourself!), and most importantly, either sign up for the newsletter or follow us on Instagram or Facebook in order to get all the goodness we’re going to be writing about between now and then! As well as to be the first to know what we’re planning for our big FIFTH YEAR and to know when registration opens.
Leah & Emily