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ACCESS CREATIVITY IN YOUR EVERYDAY EVEN WHEN EVERYTHING FEELS OVERWHELMING.

Your life is a mirror. Everything reflects everything.

It reflects where you shine, but also highlights your insecurities and shadow spots around issues of worth, integrity, communication, and self care.

You find yourself at the bottom of your own priority list: exhausted; out of touch with your own creativity; unable to remember the sound of your own soul, and tired of being on this journey alone.

We’ve got the antidote for that.

TELL ME IF THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR…

  • Do you feel guilty about putting yourself first once in a blue moon – ahead of your work, your partner, your friends, or your children?
  • Do you miss your creative self? Do you feel restricted, burnt out, resentful or simply numb?
  • Do you feel anxious defining what success looks like for you compared to how it’s ‘supposed to’ look, and does it come at the expense of your own creative intuition?
  • Do you battle feelings of heaviness, overwhelm, isolation and self-doubt or condemnation in your journey of personal growth and discovery? Are you tired of those feelings being the first responses to the inevitable struggles in your life? Do you crave a more tender way?
  • Do you wonder how to balance daily functioning and being responsible for those in your care (at work or at home) with a feeling of having creative agency in your own life?
  • Do you struggle to meet your own needs because you’re focused on accomplishing goals, helping others and doing important work in the world? Do you sometimes forget that you are allowed to have needs, to meet those needs, to realize that those needs are okay, that all of yourself is okay?

I  DID TOO (and sometimes still do).

Hello, dear friend. I’m Sonja.

I started Nurture out of a need in myself to work alchemically with my darker, needier, or unmet parts that all seemed to grow stronger once I happened upon some potent clues as to what I’m meant to do in this world: feed and connect people. Not unlike many other entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to, Nurture was built on the fertile ground of a bonafide ‘Long Dark Night of the Soul’. I was stuck, sad, and full of patterns of self condemnation that left me with a powerful choice: Ye Familiar Road to Victimhood or, perhaps the scarier option: learn to love myself.

I only knew how to do the things I thought I was ‘supposed’ to do: journal; meditate; pursue all manner of personal and spiritual development. I felt anxious because I thought I needed to be, well, PERFECT at it, which, on my better days, even I could recognize was impossible. Confused and tender, I asked out loud to my living room: what does that actually LOOK like?!

A still, small voice inside me whispered: Sonja, do the things you love to do.

Was it really that simple? Yes and no. I started following the inner tugs of my heart, which lead me to activities that lit me up for their own sake. My creativity started pouring out of me. Not only was I experiencing connection and joy, the most powerful byproduct was I suddenly had a foundation of self esteem I’d never had before. This foundation not only provided me with a compass to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of starting a business, it also provided a personalized map to inner clarity and integrity about what it actually was I was supposed to do (and not do). I don’t use the word ‘miracles’ lightly, but they started to occur daily in the form of synchronicities; offers of assistance; generosity of strangers; a community of kindred spirits, and – most importantly – a feeling of inner peace and faithful direction that continues to feed me today.

I can think of no honour greater than creating spaces that feed you in your own personal journey in this way. To gather inspiring women* to share their wisdom because they, too, have found both answers and solace in their own creative practices. This retreat is one of those spaces and I’ve put my whole heart and soul into every detail for you.

*All who identify as women are welcome.

WHAT IS NURTURE?

A weekend retreat to nourish the parts (of yourself & what you are bringing to the world) that need tending. A haven for artists, leaders, entrepreneurs & professionals desiring to connect with their creative hearts and with one another. A sanctuary of personal, creative restoration and inspiration where you feast on good food, made with love, and are reminded of the sound of your own soul.

WHAT IF YOU FELT YOUR CREATIVE SELF STIRRING AGAIN?

What if you found a space where you can really hear yourself and get some answers, or, more importantly, ask the right questions?

Imagine…You’ve signed up for Nurture, and you’re packing your bag and your heart for:

  • A cozy, restorative weekend getaway to connect with kindred spirits in sisterhood, solidarity and self care.
  • Creative, compassion-filled antidotes to the feelings of heaviness, overwhelm, isolation and self-doubt or condemnation that often accompanies being a leader or entrepreneur.
  • Open, safe & nourishing space to look at things that are asking for the light to be brought to them.
  • Creative workshops that put you in touch with the deep, pleasant sense of your own company with beautiful, tangible handmade take-home items infused with your spirit from each workshop.
  • Connections that offer community, support and perspective, not to mention belly laughs and real witnessing.
  • Memories of shared candlelit meals, fresh air and new friendships that continue to nourish your life (and, by association, your professional and creative endeavours) beyond the retreat.

NURTURE IS FOR YOU IF …

  • You run a business and/or are a leader in your field or community. You are a working professional in an industry where you are looking after others (hello moms!) but want to focus on looking after you.
  • You are feeling creatively stagnant in your work and wish to nurture the seed of a creative idea or project that is brewing within you.
  • You long to hear your own voice again, and be introduced to creative ways to re-calibrate your life so that you are at the top of your own priority list. You want to know what that looks like for YOU.
  • You value aesthetics and the power of beauty, intentionality and creativity.
  • You love good food and eating and enjoying meals with others. You’re excited to experience sumptuous meals that tell a story, make you feel nourished and alive and bring your sensual self to the surface via a harmonious approach to colour, texture, flavour and seasonality.
  • You crave a supportive, purpose-driven community of kindred spirits whose values include: integrity, creativity, honesty, service, warmth, wholeheartedness, imagination, boundaries, respect, and inclusion.
  • You thrive in this community because you actively pursue personal and professional growth and are intentionally showing up in your own journey to embrace the full spectrum of emotion and human experience from a place of love and compassion, just as you desire to provide that space for others.
  • You yearn for some time to contemplate, unwind, connect and restore in a natural setting. You’re into forests, flowers, lakes and fresh air to restore you, invigorate you, and inspire you.

NURTURE IS NOT FOR YOU IF…

  • You are looking for a business retreat. While many of us attending and facilitating Nurture own our own businesses, and our businesses benefit organically from attending, we do not cover business topics and our workshops are not business-centred.
  • You are looking for a crafting or maker retreat. While elements of each workshop centre on learning tangible skills to create and make, the lessons of each workshop are about the inherent metaphors each area of creativity has to offer, and how these metaphors can influence and inspire our lives.
  • You are expecting deluxe accommodations. The bedrooms at our location are beautifully simple and comfortably rustic. The vibe is less ‘luxury getaway spa’ and more ‘cozy cottage’. Slava, the retreat centre’s beautiful housekeeper, makes her own cleaning liquid with cedar boughs from the property, boiled down. The bed linens are washed in this and hung on the line to dry in the fresh air.
  • You are in the middle of a personal or existential crisis where more support is needed. While this Retreat and its activities are therapeutic in nature and a safe space is intentionally created, it is not therapy, nor are any of the facilitators registered or licensed therapists or counsellors. Should any personal issues or associated emotions arise that are beyond the scope of our ability to hold the space for, we are more than happy to direct you to safe, effective and accessible resources.
  • You are not that into food or sharing meals. Mealtimes at Nurture are both magical and metaphorical, and the heartbeat of the retreat

THE VENUE

Set in a rambling, 1930s farmhouse on a cliffside overlooking Lake Simcoe. Accommodations are simple and cozy, with vintage quilts adorning the beds, and clawfoot baths to soak in (there is also access to a shower, if you prefer). A bright, open sunroom space features a long harvest table where we’ll gather for workshops and sumptuous meals, with windows that look out onto the gorgeous lake view from 3 sides. The property features stunning flower and rock gardens, with walking paths and sweet nooks, swings and benches to retreat to. Stairs lead down to the lake, with dock seating, while a forest path leads to a full-size labyrinth nestled amongst the pines.

THE FOOD

At Nurture, the food is a notable highlight – it’s what we are known for. From the ingredients to the styling and presentation, everything is custom-designed to best support and nourish you, the story of our retreat, and the work we are doing together. Nurture menus are vegetarian – inspired by a whole foods, seasonal approach featuring local, organic produce. Intentionality and organic sensuality shine through in all of the dishes. Everyone feels welcome and included, as allergies and food sensitivities are fully accommodated.

Breakfasts and Lunch are build-your-own from a smorgasbord of delightful, nourishing offerings that you can enjoy anywhere you like – the table; a hammock; your room; picnic-style on the lawn. Dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday are sumptuous, candlelit communal meals, at the gorgeously-styled harvest table featuring a family-style feast of platters heaped with sensual, seasonal bounty.

 

THE TEAM

FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – SONJA SEILER

Sonja (@nurtureretreats) is very fond of spaces that celebrate community, connection, and butter. Through Nurture, she tells stories and creates community through thoughtful, nourishing food experiences and retreats. Words and music are Sonja’s second love – she sings professionally on the side, and, when writing in any genre, unapologetically pretends she is Jo March in her garret. It is her belief that the spaces we create in and the creations we make there can equally feed our souls, nurture our ideas and nourish our relationships.

CREATIVE PRODUCER – STEPHANIE PELLETT

Stephanie (@stephpellett) is a magical being, who will be assisting with all aspects of the retreat to make sure you are comfortable and happy. Aside from intentionally infusing all Nurture systems and retreat logistics with love, Stephanie is a sought-after business coach, consultant and operations expert who devotes her time, energy and skillset to lifting up the kinds of work she want to see more of in the world.

RETREAT PHOTOGRAPHER – AMBER ELLIS

Amber Ellis of Creating Light Studio (@creatinglight.studio) will be gorgeously capturing the beauty and the essence of our weekend with her camera and her truly aesthetic and poetic eye. Amber is a writer, and a feeler; someone who cries when she sees the trees; a craver of wind whispers on skin. She is equal parts homebody and world adventurer. An awkward dancer, on purpose. An independent spirit. A deeply spiritual soul. A creator of light.

THE WORKSHOPS

Nurture workshops explore creativity as alchemy. We dive into creation (and creative business) as a mirror to our own inner selves: our light and darkness, struggles and triumphs, how we can work with and through this reality.

Each facilitator chosen for Nurture actively navigates the relationship between self care and creativity through the specific lens of their own unique expression of creative talent and how that influences, inspires and informs their lives: as women, as business owners and in their own personal and professional development. I choose them specifically for their own personal brand of magic so they can liberally sprinkle it on those attending, like creative fairy godmothers. I can’t wait for you to meet them!

While each of the workshops will provide you with the basic skills needed for each offering and a tangible takeaway, you will be immersed in the spirit of the form of creation itself as a way IN to your own Self. Your workshop facilitators will guide you on this journey of working with a variety of materials that have spoken to them, so that you can be inspired, ignite any areas of stagnancy, and learn about your own creativity through the lens of a creative pursuit from a facilitator who lives and breathes it.

I think about the Nurture facilitators and their intrinsic magic like creative perfume. They share the essence of their beloved creative practices, informed by the core of who they are. In the sharing, this ‘perfume’ interacts with your own essence, and inspires new ways of thinking, seeing and interacting with the world around you.

 

WORKSHOP 1 – THE INTERIOR LANDSCAPE

Facilitated by: Nicole Kagan, visual artist & creative mindfulness facilitator (@nicolekagan_art)

Working with: Paint, ink, brush & paper

Nicole’s relationship to the natural world and how it informs her soul and her artwork is beautiful beyond measure, and deeply personal and grounding. Her magic is inviting curiosity for those who yearn for more space and time for inspiration and creative expression in their lives. She guides others to build a foundation of commitment to the liberation of creative flow through playfulness, whimsy and our own breath. She explores the value of intentionally savouring the ‘process phase’ of creation vs. the ‘final product’ or destination — a beautiful embodied experience and one that is increasingly rare in these times. She sources profound inspiration from the natural world as a reflection of the interior human landscape to create lush, evocative expressions of the soul in the form of meditative ink and watercolour works on paper. To know her is to see the world around you differently, forever.

WORKSHOP 2 – BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN

Facilitated by: Caitlin Jeffery of Gentle Decay @gentledecay

Working with: Pressed florals & foraged botanicals

Caitlin is unafraid of endings. She faces them with curiosity and reverence, seeking to find what is beautiful as change occurs organically. This is why I am deeply excited to learn from her! Through Gentle Decay, Caitlin uses dried flowers to created cherished mementos that help people remember a person or a point in time. Dried flowers as the medium teaches valuable lessons about letting go, the beauty of death (whether that be of a relationship, an identity or an individual) and the importance of slowing down and being gentle with oneself and the parts that are fragile, brittle, or tender. Her magic is her ferocious gentleness, animated compassion and life-infused zest for preserving memories and cherishing the lessons flowers teach from seed to blossom and back again. Knowing her is feeling deep permission to let all things be exactly as they are and to find what is beautiful about that.

WORKSHOP 3 – WHAT MOVES YOU

Facilitated by: Joy Asibey-Gabriel, embodied movement coach, jewellery designer and Femme! instructor @joyasibeygabriel

Working with: Intuitive movement, dance, rhythm

I love Joy because she asks the right kind of questions, listens to the answers from her body and then bravely and sometimes defiantly (in the face of resistance – society’s or her own) acts on them! She asks: how can we paint with the colours of emotion we hold in our bodies? What wisdom lies in the rhythm of how we listen and respond physically to our inner and outer worlds? How is this form of listening actually embodied? Joy is an expert at letting herself be moved by movement and responding in kind. She’ll show us how connecting to our physical self as a divining rod points the way to truth, real power and freedom of expression in all areas of our lives. Her magic maintains that we are our own barometers. Knowing her feels like being friends with a queen and her radiance is contagious – one cannot help but feel lit up being around her.

YOUR RETREAT DETAILS

DATE: TBD, once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted (Arrive: 5-6pm on Friday, Depart: 2pm on Sunday)

LOCATION: Loretto Maryholme Retreat Centre, 379A Bouchier St., Roches Point, ON, Canada

ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • Nuture Cozy: a simple private bedroom, shared bathroom
  • Nurture Lush: large private bedroom, own bathroom with clawfoot bath

Occupancy is first-come, first-served.

WORKSHOPS:

Three 2hr Hands-On Artisanal Workshops and all materials. Bonus ‘workshop’: creative prompts and intentionality infused into mealtimes. See above for full workshop descriptions.

FOOD:

All meals, snacks and drinks. Wine served with dinner. Everything is vegetarian & all allergies/sensitivities/strong dislikes are happily accommodated.

  • Cocktails and Grazing Dinner (Friday evening)
  • Buffet-Style Breakfast & Lunch, Harvest Table Family-Style Feast (Saturday)
  • Harvest Table Brunch (Sunday)
  • Coffee, tea, and snack stations set up for grazing when needed.

YOUR SURROUNDINGS:

  • Rest, relaxation and time for solitude and contemplation in a beautiful, natural setting
  • a full-sized labyrinth in a pine grove
  • gardens
  • lake access
  • walking paths

NURTURE SELF CARE STARTER KIT:

A collection of curated gifts to nourish your body and soul throughout the retreat and to remind you of the retreat when you return home. All items are sponsored by local women-run Canadian companies.

BELONGING:

Membership in a growing, collaborative community of like-minded creatives with opportunities to cross-pollinate in other creative ventures, projects and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships.

PERKS:

Nurture Alumni pricing on other Nurture events and offerings.

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED & CANCELLATION POLICY

TRANSPORTATION:

Transportation to and from the retreat is NOT included. When your application is accepted, you’ll be added to a private Nurture Facebook Group where you can connect with other attendees to arrange rides, etc.

CANCELLATION POLICY:

The Retreat Founder reserves the right to cancel the retreat at any time, for any reason. In the event of a cancellation, your ticket amount will be returned to you, minus a nominal administration fee, or you can choose to apply your ticket amount to a future scheduled retreat at no cost to you.

In the event that you are unable to attend the retreat, for whatever reason, as much advance notice as possible is appreciated. With more than 30 days notice, your ticket amount will be refunded to you in full, minus a nominal administration fee. With less than 30 days notice, there is no refund. Should there be someone from the waiting list available to take your place, your ticket amount will be refunded to you in full, minus a nominal administration fee.

DEAR FRIEND, I THINK YOU READ THIS FAR FOR A REASON …

If you’re ready to commit to yourself and your creativity

If you’re tired of feeling guilty for taking the time for yourself

If you need to disconnect, recharge, and reinvigorate yourself

If you need a creative community of support

THERE’S ROOM FOR YOU AT NURTURE.

Choose your accommodation preference below to check out and we’ll send you a sweet package to your inbox with all the details and next steps. We can’t wait to share this weekend with you!

NURTURE COZY

      • Simple private bedroom
      • Shared bathroom
      • All meals, snacks & drinks
      • Artisanal workshops
      • Connection & community

$1060

NURTURE LUSH

      • Private upgraded bedroom
      • Private bathroom with clawfoot tub
      • All meals, snacks & drinks
      • Artisanal workshops
      • Connection & community

$1280

At checkout, you will be charged 50% up front. The remaining 50% will be charged to your card six weeks later. Occupancy is first-come, first-served.

TESTIMONIALS

I have told everyone who will listen how much Nurture helped me. It was three days, but I came back feeling like I’d been gone a week. I learned so much about myself and what I need to do to keep myself sane. It really did so much for me. Also, I was able to connect with some really beautiful women, and there are a few I still chat with, which has been incredible. Nurture really is an investment in yourself. There’s no way around it. I drove into the driveway feeling heavy and overwhelmed and alone and left feeling light, in control and supported. I think most women I know would benefit from attending, and I have been quite vocal in telling them that.

 

Nikki Carradine, Sydenham Ridge Estate Venue Coordinator

Nurture was a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere with creative time to re-set and nurture ourselves.

Lisa Sanguedolce, Le Dolci

A unique weekend at the most perfect location. An inspiring mix of top-notch activities and thought-provoking conversation. Incredible meals and comfortable accommodation. I would recommend this retreat to anyone looking to recharge their creative spirit.

Samantha Clark, Graphic Designer

I’ve described Nurture to several friends and each time the feeling of being taken care of, through the food, the other women, and the space comes through. I described it as a womb-like space. It is a container for you to be. To be held, contained, carried, loved. However you are in that moment, with whatever you need in that moment, you are welcome. From the moment you walk in, you feel embraced. The food is so special and nourishing and creative. The meals shared over the harvest table rather than hastily prepared and eaten while scrolling through your phone. The time and space to tune in to your needs, to wherever you are in that moment, and to meet those needs through reading, walking, napping, laughing, journaling.

It is for women who sometimes struggle to meet their needs because they’re focused on accomplishing goals, helping others, doing important work in the world. They sometimes forget that they are allowed to have needs, to meet their needs, to realize that their needs are okay, that all of themselves are okay. For women who have done some personal growth work and are on that inner journey, looking to more deeply connect with themselves and with others in deep and meaningful ways. It’s remarkable that this feeling of safety, of a net, a womb, is established so quickly, and I think that’s because of you and the depth of your inner work.

Nurture came at a perfect time. I’ve been going through a lot personally, and haven’t been making enough space to really process it all, trying to keep it all together so I can get through my weeks. This seeps into my professional life, where I’ve been feeling tapped out and uninspired. As soon as I arrived, I knew this was a space where I could unfold, unravel, and be with whatever came up because it would be contained, by the space, and by the women who were there. So, I let myself heave cry in the labyrinth and journaled a lot and took fresh air and walks and got deep hugs and knowing ears. And while it’s still too soon to say, I do feel like I moved through something that I needed to move through. Now, I’m riding high because my urban retreat is getting a good response, and while you know I am a skeptic, there may be something about my energy now, having made some space for myself, that is drawing people in, more than it otherwise would have when I was feeling emotionally blocked.

Or Har-Gil, Art Therapist

Sonja is a visionary. A nurturer. A beautiful, bountiful, blissful soul. I met her online {as we do these days} and followed her {soul’s} path on IG. I was pulled. Drawn to her. Instantly. Her words. Her purpose. I knew I had to attend the Nurture: A Retreat this past May. The weekend was MAGNIFICENT. Really, that word does not do it justice. The experience was unsayable. From the nourishing food Sonja lovingly prepared by hand. To the artistry and creative expression {and expansion} explored through the hand lettering and floral crown workshops {foraging our own flowers!}. The group of women – connected. Deeply. And in a matter of 48-hours became life-long friends. There is power in what Sonja is doing. There is power in bringing together sisters. There is power in creating a safe space for women to unfold, to undo, to let go. You find a new part of your soul on these retreats. So grateful to know Sonja and have had this experience. Forever engraved on my heart.

 

Mary Lynn Futers, Holistic Nutritionist

It was a soulful refreshing experience. My favourite part was connecting quietly with myself and remembering the creative things I love to do. That don’t feel like “work” , the just being of it. Enjoying the magic.

Connecting with other women was profound, I got a lot out of hearing their stories and connecting with them on a deep level in a fast amount of time. I felt immensely grateful for being there with everyone. The intention and space provided was the most powerful part. The food, my god it was good. I felt the love of the space and the group, it was a very supportive grounded space to recalibrate in.

After leaving my phone as untouched as possible for 2 days my mind felt more free and I did feel more relaxed coming home. Nurture retreat is a beautifully curated gathering of women to take the time and the space for yourself to breathe, connect, ground and simply be. The sessions that are guided by the facilitators are varied, thoughtful and enchanting to all the senses. It’s a rustic, peaceful and safe space to explore deeper aspects of yourself while nourishing your mind, body and spirit.

Brittney Mishio, Dombri Design

THERE’S ROOM FOR YOU AT NURTURE.

Choose your accommodation preference below to check out and we’ll send you a sweet package to your inbox with all the details and next steps. Can’t wait to share this weekend with you!

NURTURE COZY

NURTURE LUSH

Photos on this page by our incredible Nurture guest photographers:

Nautica Simone | Katie Benfey | Jodianne Beckford | Lauren Kolyn | Sara Monika | Liat Aharoni | Evonne Bellefleur | Alyssa Wodabek