Yoga

We Came, We Saw, We Mini-ed

A mini version of the main retreat was something we had always toyed with doing, and finally this year we made it happen. We wanted to do something that was (A) in the Sydney area, (B) only one day long and (C ) a lower price point than that main retreat. We still wanted the elements that we think make the main retreat so special - a small group of women, a yoga workshop and some sort of creative workshop. The space had to be homey and welcoming. The food had to be delicious.

And thankfully, that all came to be. We’re very grateful to the women who came to our event, and to the teachers and chef that we had work with us, for this special day.

Thanks!

Participants - seven women, each with unique creative gifts, stories and reasons for being there. You’re all gorgeous. You made this day what it was.

Susan MacDonald - delicious food and snacks, including a raw cacao hummous that we were all astounded at and a foraged raspberry leaf tea that tasted so fresh.

Alison Uhma - Creative Workshop about Graphic Memoir making that had us all giggling at our doodles and thinking deep about our pasts.

Molly Fletcher - for grounding us and relaxing us with your meditation and yoga.

Big thank you to Krista Montelpare for providing wonderful vintage dishware for our food, vintage vases and fresh flowers!

Carman United Church Hall - for the space full of history and warmth.

Lotherington’s Flowers & Gifts - for the Calandiva plants that were the welcome gift.

Here are the photos that Emily took that showcase our first ever Mini CSW:

Our First Ever *MINI* Creative Soul Weekend!

Happy March!

The days are getting longer and even if there are storms forecast, it feels like winter is on the wane.

We’re so excited today to tell you about our first ever MINI CSW!

Over the last four years as we’ve done the “original flavour” Creative Soul Weekend (which is three days long, by the seaside in Port Hood), we’ve heard from some women in our audience that while they would love to take that time for themselves and indulge in self-care and creativity, for a whole host of reasons they just can’t. Can’t take the time, can’t afford the price point, et cetera.

And we’ve always toyed with the idea of creating a one-day, smaller version of the retreat, closer to the main population centre of the island, but it’s been on the back burner for years, since this is a side passion project for both of us and our number one rule is not to stress ourselves out doing something we do for love alone.

Anyway, this being our fifth year, we decided this was the year to spread our wings a little and try a one-day event as well as the regular retreat in September.

And now it’s all planned and ready for you to sign up!


Here’s what’s on the go:

On March 23rd, the Saturday just after the Spring Equinox, we’re gathering in an old church hall in the seaside town of Sydney Mines, at 10 am. There will be tea and coffee and a little snack to greet you, as well as a little welcome/thank you gift. We’ll introduce ourselves, share nourishment, and settle in. Then at 10:30 the lovely Molly Fletcher will lead us in a gentle yoga flow designed to naturally stretch the muscles and open the joints of the body, while simultaneously providing vital Prana (energy) throughout the body, mind, & Spirit. Leah has taken yoga classes with Molly and can attest to her gentle leadership and calming presence. It’s a great way to start off the day.

After yoga we’ll break for lunch. Local chef (and Creative Soul Weekend 2018 alumna) Susan MacDonald is in charge of food and she’s using her creativity to create a meal that’s both nutritious and inspired by the spring equinox and the event theme of renewal, rebirth and fresh energy. We’re so excited to get to share Susan’s love of food!

In the afternoon we’ll stretch our creativity. Local visual artist Alison Uhma will lead us in a workshop on graphic memoir and creating a brief autobiographical narrative. Experience in drawing is not necessary! Bring a sketchbook and any art supplies you like to work with. Other supplies will be provided. Alison is interested in the capacity of storytelling to both extract personal truth and remedy broken relationships with the self and others. She is currently completing the first serial in a graphic memoir entitled From the Other One, about a daughter's relationship with her mother and the devastation of Alzheimer’s Disease. We’re very lucky to have her with us for this event!

After the workshop we’ll have an afternoon snack, circle up to share anything we’d like to share from the day, and say our farewells, wrapping up by 5 PM.

So there you have it - the first ever mini CSW. We so hope you can join us. We’re limiting spots to 10 women to keep the same intimate and friendly feeling of our longer retreat - so if this is for you, don’t be shy and claim your spot here. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email us! creativesoulweekend@gmail.com

Click here to be taken to the event page, with more info including bios for our teachers.




RECAP: 2018 Weekend!

A Note from Leah

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!

Emily_Rankin

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.

CSW_2018 (15 of 53).JPG

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.

> Recipe: Spiced Red Lentil Tomato and Kale Soup, Oh She Glows

> Recipe: Chickpea Salad, Oh She Glows

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.

> Recipe: Vitamin Glow Warm Squash Salad, Oh She Glows

 

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.

csw_wild_flowers.jpg

Everyone reconvened at lunch for Big Vegan Bowls, artfully arranged by one of our participants who happens to be a professional chef.

> Recipe: Big Vegan Bowl, Oh She Glows

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.

> Recipe: Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Pancakes, Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream, Oh She Glows

IMG_0867.JPG

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.

Cheers!
Leah & Emily

An Interview with: Danielle Bryson

Health and Wellness Practitioner for 20 Years • Compassionate Care Assistant • Yoga Teacher & Nidra Teacher • Reiki Master

lines_dot.png

 

You're an advocate mental health and wellness. In what ways has building a community around your creative business benefited you and the women you work with?

Mental Health & Wellness is top priority for me. Our minds and energy swim together like two fish. Where one goes, the other follows. I try to lead by example and strive to offer a space that allows for a clear mind and positive energy. In the hopes that you take what you’ve experienced with me and share it with others. Good medicine multiplies when shared!

How does movement and yoga play a role in fostering your creativity?

Movement medicine is my main creative outlet. My body, energy & presence are fed by this movement. This is my canvas, to create a shape or sensation. To loose that internal chatter, even for a few briefs moments, is BLISS! I can reach that place best through Yoga, Dance and Song.

IMG_2056.JPG
IMG_5407.JPG

Do you have any experience with burnout? How did you or are you overcoming this?

Burnout can come on slick and fast. So if your not paying attention to the amount of energy you dispense and where.....Burnout shows up knocking on the door with a fat fist and you weren’t prepared for visitors. We become short & angry when we aren’t fuelling ourselves. Check in with yourself often, ask where your engaging your energy and if your being nourished. 

How does your creativity impact other areas of your life?

As a care giver CREATIVITY is very important. Going with the flow & thinking outside the box. Creativity doesn’t always mean a physical product will be the outcome. Sometimes my creativity produces a “Feeling” and I’m all about creating a fabulous feeling for others.


On Embracing Self Care:

I schedule time for myself, the same way I put aside time for others. I define self care as ANYTHING you do solely for yourself. And I make it a priority/ like a special event marked in my planner.

On Refilling Your Creative Cup:

I surrounding myself with inspiring ladies! We are so blessed to live on such a talented and creative island. One day I’m fuelled by a walk in nature with great people. I’m moved by the wicked support I receive from my Archery Club. Or perhaps it’s signing up for an embroidery workshop at Victoria Country Creates. Filling my cup on CB is easy, sometimes it’s finding a big enough cup to hold all that is on offer is the hard part. 

On Nature and Outdoors:

I crave the fresh air above me and the solid ground below me. It reminds me of the “Big” beautiful picture. Settles my mind and ignite’s my spirit.
 

On Community:

My greatest passion and honour in life is to share healing tools. I created Black Stove Studio so my community had a safe and supportive space. This lil space in Big Baddeck is inclusive, welcoming and definitely represents my giving quirky personality.

Danielle_Bryson_Cape_Breton_Retreat

To me, "creative power” means standing in my truth, and sharing that truth with my community.

IMG_8130.JPG

What is something you have always wanted to try?

I grew up hearing the ladies in my family talk about weekly ceramics classes. Molding something with my hands and sealing it with fire! That’s something I’ve always wanted to do CERAMICS/POTTERY

What advice to you have for someone struggling with creative blocks?

Dance, Dance, Daaaaance! Shake it off siSTAR! Don’t get stuck on being stuck. This to will pass and the creative juju will once again flow. Because all blocks can be shook lose with a good solid BOOGIE!


I’m extremely fortunate to have a group of inspiring and creative ladies around me. Living on Cape Breton Island is like being a box of Light Anywhere Matches......it’s super easy to get fired up! 
— Danielle Bryson

Suggestions!

Something to Read - Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Something to Watch - The Fall By Tarsem Singh

Something to Listen to - Bat for Lashes

Something to Make - A self portrait 

Somewhere to Visit - Gampo Abbey Buddhist Monastery/ Pleasant Bay, CB

lines_dot.png

Thanks for all the great photos Danielle!! <3 Check her out on Instagram!