Like it or not, life’s probably not going to stop coming at you.
Not personally. Not socially. Not globally.
So maybe YOU need to stop instead
Let’s face it, these are challenging times.
It’s hard not to be affected by the constant barrage of news about hatred, violence, politics and global calamities, and obviously we all have our own personal trials and tribulations that impact our lives.
If you have a compassionate heart or a sensitive nervous system it can be overwhelming, even depressing or anxiety-inducing.
You find yourself dreaming of a chance to get away, to clear your head, rest your heart and tend your soul. Not just a vacation, but an intentional “reset” where you can take the time to feel and process your feelings, to regain your footing and restore your spirit.
If you’ve had similar dreams, please allow me to invite you to just such an experience:
Autumn’s Pause is a retreat for women where your only obligation is to heal your heart, tend your soul and rediscover the voice of your inner wisdom.
There’s a heavy price for “pushing through”
No doubt you’ve done your best to take some time for yourself.
Maybe you go to yoga every week, try to meditate every day, and meet your girlfriends every month for venting and mutual support. Yet it’s still not enough to counter the stress of life today.
Women tend to be highly attuned to the needs of others, and too often we end up squeezing in our needs around everyone else’s, whether it’s family, work, friends or community.
On top of the logistics, we’re afraid it’s selfish and self-indulgent to even consider taking time for ourselves.
It’s not what a “good wife”, “good mother” or the dreaded “good girl” is supposed to do.
It smacks of privilege.
Therefore even when you try to carve out some time for yourself it slips through your fingers, and your self-care lands last on the list of “things to do”.
This kind of self-sacrifice is neither ideal nor sustainable. Rarely does it allow a lifestyle in which your innate gifts and talents can emerge, let alone where you can function at your best and be a force for good in the world.
This myth of the noble martyr is a fairy tale grounded in a worn-out patriarchy that is on it’s way out.
Here’s the harsh truth: if you don’t allow yourself to “drop your bundle” occasionally – for reflection, relaxation and simply being – the repercussions can be ugly. You can end up experiencing any number of unpleasant symptoms, including:
Confusion and overwhelm
Frustration and feeling powerless
Boredom and dissatisfaction
Physical and/or mental exhaustion
Irritability and rage
Sometimes, in order to move forward, you need to stop.
Especially in today’s world, a little “time out” is necessary when you’re overwhelmed and worn out.
And you are the only one who can make the time to care for yourself.
Nobody else can do it for you.
What you need is to engage in some Radical Self-Care: to make the brave choice to step away from your hectic day-to-day life and allow yourself to be held in the transforming embrace of sacred space, good food, deep rest, and compassionate community.
Yes, it can be hard to do.
Yes, it can feel indulgent. Or scary. Or simply alien.
That’s why it’s RADICAL.
What you need is a jumping off place…something that allows you to shift gears without the demands of daily life interfering. A little structure, a little facilitation, and the presence of supportive companions.
The glorious benefits of Radical Self-Care
Held each fall, Autumn’s Pause is an invitation to immerse yourself in safe and sacred space where you can take time to reflect upon what is true and essential for you, to safely process the feelings you’ve been stuffing away, and to renew your connection to your own inner wisdom.
It’s an opportunity to have your story witnessed within a circle of caring and compassionate sisters and experience the relief of no longer feeling alone.
When you give yourself permission to do this most basic act of self-care you take the first step towards creating the rest of your life as a reflection of most deeply held truths.
When you give yourself the space to do this sacred soulwork, you can craft a life in which your own needs get met without shortchanging others.
When you gain clarity about who you are at the deepest level, you can create a life that that enables you to bring into the world all the gifts that are uniquely yours to share.
When you have the courage to examine what’s no longer working or standing in your way, you are freed to move forward with new momentum.
When you have the support of community it’s easier to do the challenging work of facing your shadows.
And when you return home from this transformative experience you will have more resilience to live in this world of ours, more capacity to serve as a spark of hope and love, another voice for peace.
Before the retreat, I was feeling somewhat unsettled and disconnected, and anxious to have the time to myself. The retreat allows me stop everything and think only about me, which is something that I rarely do. It allows me the space and time to focus and pinpoint the issues that I need or want to deal with while at the same time feeling unconditional support from the other women.
Last year I’d been doing some work with a therapist on trying to find my place, to feel a part of a group. For the first time in a very long time, I felt a part of a group, of the circle. I felt connected to the other women in many ways.
There’s an ease during the retreat, a camaraderie among the women who respect one another and offer unconditional affection. You can be who you are, and there are no critics. There’s nothing more inspirational than the power of a group of like-minded women who are supportive of one another.
I came to this retreat so broken and amazing things happened to me. Before the retreat, I was feeling like I had completely lost myself and my way. I had no idea what to do with my life.
Once I signed up I was kind of nervous—I wondered what I’d gotten myself into! But once I was there everyone was so accepting and wonderful. With the community of women there I gained clarity and acceptance which allowed me to remember who I was. The group was supportive but gave me space and didn’t try to solve my problems—they let me do this on my own.
The retreat was the best thing I have ever done for myself, and the experience changed my life. The whole experience has left me feeling like a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders which makes me feel lighter. I feel whole again. This will be a yearly event for me. I can’t wait for next year! You would have to experience it to believe it!
Hearing the call, following the path
This retreat found me. While I was at my SoulCollage Facilitator Training the idea of a women’s retreat with the intention of soul-tending with SoulCollage started whispering in my ear. By the time I returned home I knew I had to make it happen.
Had I ever led a retreat before? Nope.
Did I have the faintest idea where to start? Nope.
What I knew all too well were the challenges of trying to take time in my “normal” life for deep personal development, and I was fairly sure I wasn’t alone in that experience. I wanted to create something for women like me who were longing for some time and space to be able to let go and just focus on themselves for a little while. Not a spa weekend, but a weekend to really “drop in” and listen for their inner voice.
I also knew the transformative potential of SoulCollage.
I found Hope Springs (the perfect venue), threw it out there—and women heard the call. That was 2010.
Since then this retreat has truly had a life of its own and continues to evolve. My role is to be the midwife, still listening for that quiet voice that first whispered in my ear in 2009, and doing my best to bring forth the perfect experience each year for the women who join me in the circle.
My business, Our Sacred Pause, is the weaving together of a lifetime of both academic and personal passion for issues of peace and fulfillment, women, aging, art, heart and soul. I bring an eclectic background to my work, including a Masters in Adult Development and Aging, training as a SoulCollage Facilitator, and 25 years in the healing arts as a massage and craniosacral therapist.
In all the work that I do, from midlife mentor to massage therapist—indeed in all areas of my life—I’m a passionate advocate for slowing down and pausing from all the doing and “shoulds” of life in order to make time for inner work and self-discovery.
The Autumn’s Pause retreat is the distillation of all my study, training and passions into an immersive group experience, and is the highlight of my year.
“And it feels like quiet,
feels like nodding in agreement,
feels like a long exhale.
It looks like autumn, it looks like light on fire,
it feels like dancing and it goes like this:
if you ask yourself what else you need
the answer’s nothing.”
Lyrics from “Long Exhale” by singer/songwriter Beki Test, inspired by and written during the first retreat in 2010, which has become the unofficial theme song for this annual event.
Prior to the retreat, I was busy, busy, busy with a full life. But so much of my time was outwardly focused on others that it was hard to find the time I needed in my day to day life to be inwardly focused. I needed to have a dedicated chunk of time to check in with me.
Over the weekend, I had a profound change in my story about fear—moving out of thinking I needed to go into worry and stress whenever I felt fear and understanding that was simply my story – and my decision – about how to react to fear. With this realization I was able to write a new story for myself and respond to fear in a centered, accepting way.
This was an amazing group of women and Julie offered warm support, gentle guidance, deep reaching questions and experiences as she shepherded us through our time together.
Is the circle calling you?
It’s not for the meek of heart, this kind of experience. Nor is it for the woman who just wants a little vacation or isn’t interested in feeling her feelings and examining her life.
It takes courage to make yourself a priority, to face your fears and your unfinished business. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable to engage in the kind of introspective soul-searching required to create a truly meaningful life.
But the renewal that comes from time away and the grace that arises within a circle of women is beyond measure.
And if you’re still reading this, then you already know it’s for you.
Where we’ll be
Hope Springs Institute provides the perfect container for this transformational weekend. The 130 acres on which Hope Springs sits is palpably sacred, due no doubt to both its ancient history (including its proximity to the Serpent Mound!) and the modern-day efforts of the Hope Springs staff. Arriving there you can exhale and allow the land itself to support you as you release your burdens.
Arriving there you can exhale and allow the land itself to support you as you release your burdens. Delicious, locally-sourced meals, “inspired lodging”, and soul-stirring gathering spaces – all surrounded by the natural beauty of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southern Ohio – this is what awaits you at Autumn’s Pause weekend for women.
When we’ll be there
The retreat begins at 6:30 on Thursday, November 7th and concludes at 2:30 on Sunday, November 10th.
What we’ll do
The weekend will take you deep into the inner exploration of your growing edges and your blind spots, all balanced with open time for relaxation and integration. The art and practice of SoulCollage® will serve as the primary tool for your exploration.
In addition you’ll experience guided imagery, meditation and other processes to help you reconnect to what’s important to you and rediscover your own internal rhythms and timing, all with the support of a community of like-minded women where your own process will be held, witnessed and honored.
And it’s not just deep seriousness all the time! We’ve been know to have powerful drum circles, campfires and singing and some fairly raucous late-night hot-tub soaks.
All this, combined with the grounding of the Hope Springs land and the nourishment of delicious, mindfully prepared meals will support you in deeply engaging with the 7 elements of sacred soul-tending that are the foundation of all we do at Our Sacred Pause:
- Relaxing into an understanding of where you are in your own personal journey
- Reconnecting to the flow of your own natural rhythms and cycles
- Embracing the sacred – sometimes scary – work of healing and reclaiming your lost, wounded and forgotten parts
- Graciously and generously creating space for radical self-care in your day-to-day life
- Allowing your innate feminine wisdom to guide your steps
- Envisioning your unique, soulful and ever-evolving Life
- Grounding your transformation in your physical being
What you will get
- Four days and three nights’ lodging in a private, colorful, comfortable room (single rooms unless you request otherwise)
- Nine fabulous meals featuring fresh, local foods, mindfully prepared by a dedicated staff
- Limited registration (15 women) to ensure every guest has the support and attention she requires
- Four days of retreat and rejuvenation in a community of mindful women
- Exclusive use of the Hope Springs property for our group
- Round the clock card-making space for those late-night inspirations
- Access to hundreds of magazines to inspire your card-making (and feed your inner image-hoarder!)
- Abundant unstructured time to walk the labyrinth, hike the trails, meditate in Spirit House, hang out in the hot tub, or relax in a hammock… whatever will soothe your spirit and fill your heart
- All supplies and materials
What does it cost?
Your cost is $725 for 4 days and 3 nights in a single room. This price includes all meals, tuition costs and all materials.
Three double rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Your investment is $585* per person for 4 days and 3 nights in a shared room, all meals, tuition costs and all materials included. Preference will given to women attending together – ideal for friends, sisters, partners and spouses.
Please note that no other discounts will be given when registering for a double room.
*If you are coming alone but interested in being assigned a double-room with another solo attendee if available, please mention that desire on your registration while registering for a SINGLE ROOM. If I can honor your request and place you with another attendee, I will refund the price difference. Please understand that with your registration you are committing to attending regardless of whether or not I can place you in a shared room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Women ranging from 20-somethings to retirees have attended, and all have gotten what they needed, and indeed often more than they expected. Additionally I’ve found that the mix of ages provides a beautiful backdrop from which to witness the common threads that unite all our stories, heartaches, hopes and dreams.
Absolutely yes! While some women have made this retreat an annual part of their own life process, others come in and out as needed. I take great care in creating connection and community, and women are always touched and amazed at the rapport that develops over the course of the weekend.
Please consider using PayPal Credit upon registration if you would like to be able to spread your payments out. This way you have 6 months with no interest to pay in full. If this is not an option for you for some reason please contact me directly to discuss payment options. I am happy to talk with you about your situation and do what I can to make this retreat accessible.
Please contact me if you have questions or concerns about payments. I want to make this doable for people, and am more than happy to make arrangements with you.
SoulCollage®, developed by therapist and author Seena Frost, offers a tool through which you can access your own intuitive wisdom and hear the voice of your soul. A simple and delightful creative process, SoulCollage® can give shape and form to the sacred time you create for yourself in your personal journey to wholeness. It is a unique and fun tool that can be used when you don’t know how or where to start the process of cultivating your spirit, and can provide form and structure for journaling, meditation or prayer practices, or even therapy.
SoulCollage® requires no artistic experience or talent. All that is necessary is a willingness to be open to the experience. Seemingly by magic, this simple process of cutting and pasting images opens a window into your very soul. By learning a few simple techniques for working with your SoulCollage® cards, you are able to access your own intuitive wisdom to gain insight into aspects of your life and your larger life in the world. This will allow you to return to your daily life with a fresh perspective and new internal resources.
SoulCollage® can form the basis of a personal practice that brings creativity, perspective, healing and transformation to our often hectic lives in a simple yet profound way. In healing yourself and embodying your true Essence – by bringing your own unique spark of the Divine into vibrant being – you contribute to the evolution of the human spirit and begin the heal the world!
The retreat surpassed all my wildest imaginings. Thanks so much for your willingness to show up fully for all of us at the retreat. It was so much fun for me, and was a very inspirational group.
I am hooked on SoulCollage®. The process of making and reading my cards is such a fun, intriguing, and informative way to dive deep within my unconscious self.
This was the first retreat at Hope Springs in which I did not spend much time hiking on the land. I was totally absorbed in the process and the participants. My heart is made happy to have been held in such sacred space doing deep work!!!
Before the retreat I was feeling the need to have a grounding practice in my life. I loved the evolution of the circle, how everyone came ready to do their work and be ‘seen’. It created a very cathartic opening on many different levels for me. I went from not knowing if this process really would work for me, to being blown away by the layers it was revealing. I feel blessed to have found SoulCollage at this point in my process.
All the parts of my weekend were my favorite, as they each built on each other resulting in those sweet ‘aha moments’ that I only get when on retreat.
It’s the best gift you can give yourself, that time to check-in, reevaluate, heal, grow and just be with yourself.
Amplifying the power of your intention
If you are breathing, you’ve already been doing some of the personal work necessary to dump the unconscious baggage that no longer serves you—knowingly or unknowingly progressing in your own personal evolution toward greater consciousness and wholeness.
But one of the best ways to create real and lasting change is to bring conscious intention, or mindfulness, to your process and to have that commitment witnessed by others. If you’ve ever had any kind of group experience you know the potential that exists to have that group dynamic magnify whatever happens.
This retreat is an opportunity to bring concentrated time and attention to your personal journey within the context of sacred space, gentle guidance and the power of compassionate community.
And honestly, at the 2017 retreat it became clear that the work we were doing was not just about our own personal lives. It was apparent to all of us that we were processing things with a far greater reach. It become clear we were working on behalf of the collective, and by collective I mean the planet.
That may sound a little “woo-woo” to you, but we are in fact all connected. So when one person “does their work”, it affects far more than just that person. And when that work is intentional and amplified by the potency of the group dynamic, the effects can be profound. I have come to truly believe that during these retreats we are transmuting these old, painful “shadow” energies on behalf of our evolving planet.
And that my friend is warrior’s work.
It is yet another way to be of service to our hurting world.
Below are words that came to me one day in the week following the 2017 retreat. They dropped fully formed into my head one day and insisted upon being written. They perfectly capture the experience of an Autumn’s Pause.
The invitation is yours
If this is what your heart’s been waiting for, I invite you—or if need be, I challenge you—to claim space for yourself and take a brief respite from the chaos of today’s world, where the only decision you will need to make is “what do I want to do in this moment?” or perhaps “what image wants to go on this card?”