When I envisioned the Body Wise Retreat, I intended to create a grounded and safe space where people could feel like themselves and experience deep healing, connection, nourishment, wholeness, and pleasure.
The theme, Body Wise, encompassed the idea that our bodies are completely wise and intelligent, and that if we bring our awareness and understanding to collaborate with the body, we are incredibly powerful. My intention of having a six-day immersion was to offer the continuity where we could build upon each day and go deeper. Each day was focused on one layer of the human physiology from the outermost to the innermost layers: physical, energetic, mental/emotional, spiritual, and pure consciousness. But, I wanted people to experience something even more important: that the more powerful healing is at the spiritual and consciousness levels, yet that the outer levels of the body, energy, and emotions, must be integrated and ready to work with what's deeper.
I chose a place that sparked a majestic feeling in me: Emerald Lake, in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. This place gave me the feeling that I am a small part of a greater whole.
But, I can't continue to tell you about my vision without telling you about the voices and hearts that filled the retreat with richness, meaning, and life.
What Gave the Retreat its True Beauty
The members of the retreat desired something important for themselves, which was exactly what I intended the space to support and hold. Each of their different intentions made the learning and healing an important reality. Some of their intentions included:
Just to be me, at peace, and fall in love with myself
Let old emotions go and heal the past
Find my path and next steps
Learn to be truly present
Be in touch with my spirituality
Move through fears and control of others' perceptions
These intentions were naturally woven in and out of each day's healing work and learning explorations. Meditation, yoga, journaling, and discussion brought them forward into their intentions. However, the more integrated healing work of Family Constellations, Voice Dialogue, Somatic, and Spiritual therapies gave way to healing at the root of their current intentions: the beliefs, experiences, and movements and emotions of the body that wanted completion or truth.
Here are some of the moments captured within the evolving experience and some words by those who experienced them.
Everything was so healing and transformative. I feel my sadness and anxiety has lifted quite a bit. I felt loved and supported and listened to here. I am more aware of self-care and loving myself. ~ Mary
The exercises were challenging at times but they were emotionally revealing, educational and remarkable. I was not sure I was going to be able to do and feel everything. I feel honed in and focused now. I am also ok that I still need work and to practice my practice. Candice is kind and wise and excels at what she does. ~ Lindsay
I am so grateful for the lovely environment of support, fun, and vulnerability that allowed for so much inner transformation as well as external validation and connection! I wouldn't change a thing. All the exercises we did were poignant and pivotal. I have a resonance I can tap into whenever I need additional strength and I now know that I can channel a resource to help in in the energy and paradigm shift I need. ~Carly
This retreat exceeded any and all expectations I had coming into it. I learned to heal parts of myself that I have left unattended within me for a long time and to love myself at a deeper level. Words cannot express the amount of love and support I felt the entire trip- from everyone – which helped me feel open and vulnerable. Candice's calm presence and genuineness filled me, called to me, and made me feel 100% comfortable and at ease.
The healing was real and important, but we also got goofy and played. We sang and danced spontaneously. We hiked in the woods and gave thanks to nature. We ate amazingly nourishing food that was locally grown and selected. There was plenty of time each day to breathe in the beautiful Rocky Mountain Ranges and soak in the pure Emerald Lake. Some made time to take the canoe out, go for a long walk or hike, or travel to nearby areas including Lake Louise, Banff, and the waterfalls. We were nourished by the beauty and magnificence.
The retreat was open to all genders, but it ended up being all who identified as women. There was a deep “sisterhood” that many of them described that was part of the magic. I trusted that this was part of what each of them needed for their growth. I was floored by the amount of vulnerability, lightness, depth, presence, respect, and healing that took place, and I have been excited as I hear over time how their lives have evolved.
While the wisdom of the body is what I hoped to share, it was the experience through the hearts, bodies, and souls of the lovely women that came that brought true magnificence. I feel complete and I look forward to what will take shape in the next retreat.
I did not expect to meet such an amazing group of powerful and supportive women. It has been comforting to me to know my fears and emotions are shared by others. Since I have not done anything like this before, I was surprised at how powerfully and sometimes clearly I could sense the energies of others as well as portray my own energy. I think I have learned to more deeply experience, identify and feel my emotions.