Nurture.

creative sanctuary & self care for entrepreneurs via retreats & curated experiences

For all the girls who got picked last in gym class

"How was it?" he asked.

"Incredible!" I said, panting; flushed. I couldn't wipe the goofy grin off my face and I wanted to dance around with joy, but the cushioned floor would have had me on my butt in an instant if I'd tried.

I had just successfully climbed to the top of an indoor rock climbing wall, on my own steam, with my own body. I trusted myself enough to listen and be present and my hands and toes naturally found the crevices and strategically reached for footholds. Time slowed down and I understood intimately why climbing (or any sport, or life challenge, really) is a head game.

I was so excited to try it and to challenge myself that my excitement erased all fear and the positive mindset allowed for my successful scaling of things it might otherwise have deemed impossible.

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The magic that happens when you trust.

I have started this blog post many times over the last few weeks and there is a virtual waste paper basket full of crumpled drafts with ample spillage out on to the floor. This is a somewhat romantic image for me, who imagines myself the female version of Ewan McGregor's character in Moulin Rouge in a garret somewhere trying to elicit the essence of Beauty, Truth and Love on an old typewriter that has a sticky 'e'. 

My struggle is I don't know how to put into words exactly the magic that occurred as a result of how everything unfolded with the retreat a few weeks ago. Remember when not a soul signed up and it was a week before and I had no idea what the heck to do?

But then I got quiet and the quiet told me: there is still a way. There is ALWAYS a way. Trust.

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A peek at the Nurture Spring Menu

One thing you might not know about Nurture is the fact that allergies and food sensitivities are accommodated with the opposite approach those of you who need to eat this way might be used to. Cardboard baked goods, fruit plates and soy substitutes will never grace your plate at Nurture. Instead, I get really passionate about working with restrictions in such a way that an attendee with limited food options feels NO limits at the table. 

The Nurture approach is, in a nutshell, to face the challenges life inevitably brings us in our personal lives and businesses and apply creativity liberally to inspire a solution.  This approach not only solves the 'problem', but embraces beauty (even in the breakdown), attention to detail and being present to the process itself as an act of deepest love. 

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When No One Signs Up for Your Retreat, or, On 'Failing' with Dignity

This blog is no stranger to me sharing the ups and downs of this Nurture adventure and how it has affected me personally. Admittedly, despite the fact that I have committed to making (really delicious, organic) lemonade out of some metaphorical lemons, I am still struggling with how best to share with you what is going on now. 

The truth? Not a single person signed up for the spring retreat, which is set to happen next week. 

Insert: all the normal human reactions to this type of situation. Anxiety. Fear. A feeling of failure. Self Pity. Yep, the ugly kind. The mindless inhalation of way more than the 'recommended serving' of crispy, salty food. 

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A Day in the Life at Nurture: A Retreat

7:28am

You wake up from one of THOSE sleeps. The delicious kind where your body rests fully and your dreams are sweet. Maybe it's the quiet (aside from a lake loon or two). Maybe it's knowing you have the full three days to unwind. Maybe it's the local wine, the hearty dinner, or the heartier laughs from the night before.

Your feet swing over the side of the bed onto the handmade rug below. Your roommate is still snoring slightly, and you giggle a little as you slip past her, across the old hardwood floor to the bathroom to draw yourself a bath in the clawfoot tub. 

Sprinkling in some of the herbal-infused bath salts from Sunfire Herbals that were in the 'Self Care Starter Kit' you got when you arrived, you sink into the warm water and breathe in the lavender, your hands absentmindedly swirling the flower petals as they float past. You linger. You breathe deep. The lavender mixes with a slight hint of freshly roasted coffee wafting up from the kitchen below, where a murmur of lighthearted voices indicates that breakfast preparations are underway...

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What is Nurture: A Retreat?

While like-minded explorers have a rich and fertile playground to discover what Nurture is all about on this website (it's built to encourage meandering and digging and I'd like to think that a reader who gives herself the time to move from page to page may even find a secret garden or two that speaks to her soul), it was recently pointed out to me that some readers want "just the facts, ma'am."

So, here they are. I'm (of course, naturally, hilariously) dying to elaborate, but look to the tabs at your left, or click the menu button above if you're on mobile and there's all manner of details for those of you who enjoy a good meander.

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What I wrote that changed everything. It even birthed this retreat.

I've got a juicy little tidbit for you this week (well, little is relative - it's a good long share). As I was doing some behind-the-scenes preparation for the upcoming retreat, I needed to comb through some old Nurture Google docs. It took me waaayyy back to when Nurture first started and was still operating under my personal email address. While in the archives, I stumbled across an 'archeological specimen' I think you might enjoy. It is a journal entry I wrote to myself from a place of personal darkness and creative stagnancy, PRE-NURTURE.

Little did back-then me know that a mere 6 days later (!!!), I would fatefully meet a stranger - the woman whose off-handed comment unknowingly changed my life.

She gifted me with these magical words: "Well, Sonja, I don't have a magic wand to give you a farmhouse, but I DO have an idea. You should take your love of food, creativity and self care and combine them into a weekend retreat and rent a farmhouse for a few days!" This website is a good indicator of what happened from there, which is nothing short of magic (oh, and also a lot of hard work. That too.)

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How Science helped me unstick issues that were glued for years

I remember being obsessed with both dinosaurs (Stegosaurus all the way, folks) and outer space (I may have begged to be Roberta Bondar for Halloween) as a youngster and then was told science and math were needed to truly explore those passions. I moved on to theatre and music at the lightning speed of me-when-there-is-a-croissant-in-the-room (so, so fast). I stopped taking science after my mandatory grade 10 science class and played first clarinet in band class instead.

I'm that girl. 

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The Slow Drizzle - lessons from honey

Never one to pass up a movie meant for kids that includes sly adult references, I quite enjoyed sitting down to Zootopia with a bowl of popcorn (lots of butter & a sprinkle of alder smoked salt - yum) recently. There is a memorable scene with sloths as DMV workers who take approximately 8563 minutes between actions. It's hilarious. They're sloths. It's also excruciating.

Surprised by my physical reaction to this scene (I squirmed; I flinched; I wanted to throw pillows), I took some time to consider why.  And then it struck me - my own life lately has felt like someone hired those very sloths to work in the Department of Answers to Questions my Soul has been Asking Lately (DAQMSHBAL), while simultaneously bringing up a feeling of urgency in the lessons that have been coming up in quick succession. These lessons have been around letting go of things I thought I wanted and clearing of the old - patterns, properties, people, pilled sweaters. It's left a lot of empty space and the first instinct is to fill it. But if not with the old, the comfortable, the habitual go-tos, then what?!

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©2016 Sonja Seiler. All Rights Reserved. Photos by Alyssa Wodabek Photography & Liat Aharoni Photography.