March 2013 Essential Wellness

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march 2013 • resources for inner peace, health and healing


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inside march 2013

essential wellness digital magazine Twin Cities Wellness aka Essential Wellness 4270 Honey Tree Pass Danbury, WI 54830 Publishers Dee & Lynn LaFroth ADVERTISING Dee LaFroth 715.259.3047 EDITOR Lynn LaFroth ART DIRECTOR Sunshine Sevigny WRITING SUBMISSIONS Click here for 2013 Writers Guidelines RECEIVE ESSENTIAL WELLNESS BY EMAIL Send us your email to receive twice-monthly Celebrate Wellness e-news and Monthly digital Essential Wellness 4

8–15 Travel to a place that stirs your soul BY PHIL COUSINEA

22–27 Give your essent the gift of retrea BY LAURIE FENN


tial self at NER

30–37 Taking time for Self is to find the meaning of your life BY AMY WILINSKI

40–43 The wise retreat to embrace the wisdom of retreat BY MICHELLE BURNS

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Travel to a place that stirs your soul


CCORDING TO the dictionary, the word pilgrimage derives from the Latin peligrinus, meaning foreigner or wayfarer. It refers to the journey of a person who travels to a shrine or holy place. Another older derivation, more poetic, reveals that pilgrim has its roots in the Latin per agrum: Through the field. This ancient image suggests a curious soul who walks beyond known boundaries, crosses fields, touches the earth with a destination in mind and a purpose in heart. The pilgrim is a wayfarer who longs to endure a difficult journey to reach the sacred center of his or her world, a place made holy by a saint,

hero, or god. Once there, the desire is to touch a relic, have a vision, hear an oracle, and to experience what psychologist Stephen Larsen calls the “irruption of the divine in a three-dimensional place.” In Richard R. Niebuhr’s elegant description, Pilgrims are persons in motion—passing through territories not their own seeking completion or clarity; a goal to which only the spirit’s compass points the way… Traditional pilgrims such as Abraham, Basho, Saint Jerome, Saint Egeria, Chaucer, and Dante—and their modern counterparts William Least Heat Moon, Freya Stark, Isabelle Eberhardt, Sir Richard Burton, Thomas Merton, Paulo Coelho’s young pilgrim on the Old Path to Santiago de Compostela, Ray

Kinsella in the baseball movie “Field of Dreams,” or Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa—all have left chronicles of their journeys. From them we can discern a few telltale patterns. The pilgrim’s motives have always been manifold: to pay homage, to fulfill a vow or obligation, to do penance, to be rejuvenated spiritually, or feel the release of catharsis. The journeys all begin in a nervous state, in deep disturbance. Something vital was missing in life: Vitality itself may be lurking on the road or at the heart of a distant sanctuary.

PILGRIMAGE FILLS EMPTINESS The ritual act of pilgrimage attempts to fill that emptiness. It can happen halfway around the Continued Page 10...


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world, as it did with a very kind priest I know—Father Theodore Walters of Toledo, Ohio, who began leading groups to the Marian Shrine at Medjugorjje, Yugoslavia, because he believed that modern people desperately needed “a healing vision from the Mother of God.” He also confessed that he believed a war-battered country might need the kindness people on pilgrimage convey from the


sheer gratitude brimming in their hearts. Participation can be communal, as was China Galland’s march with a million other pilgrims to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Jasna Gora Monastery, Poland. Or it may be solitary, as with the World War II pilot I met in Tokyo in the mid-1980s, who had just returned from a sorrowful visit to ground zero in Hiroshima.


What unites the different forms of pilgrimage is intensity of intention, the soul’s desire to respond to return to the center, whether it portends ecstasy or agony. What makes a pilgrimage sacred is the longing behind the journey, reminiscent of the famous sixteenth-century woodcut of the Pilgrim Astronomer, who pokes his head through a

slit in the dome of the sky so he might gaze at the machinery behind the sun, stars, and moon. But what do we do if we feel a need for something more out of our journeys than the perennial challenges and pleasure of travel? What happens if the search for the new is no longer enough? What if our heart aches for a journey that defies explanation?

Pilgrims are poets who create By taking journeys. Richard R. Niebuhr

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Centuries of travel lore suggest that when we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has begun. At that crossroads, a voice calls to our pilgrim soul. The time has come to set out for the sacred ground—the mountain, the temple, the ancestral home—that will stir our heart and restore our sense of wonder. It is down the path to the deeply real where time stops and we are seized by mysteries. This is the journey we cannot not take. So imagine your first memorable journey. What images rise up in your soul? They may be of a childhood visit to the family gravesite, the lecture your uncle gave at a famous battlefield or the hand-in-hand trip with your mother to a religious site. What feelings are evoked by your enshrined travel memories? Do they have any connection with your life today? Have you ever made a vow to go someplace that is sacred to you, your family, or your group? Have you ever


imagined yourself in a place that stirred your soul like the song of doves at dawn? If not you, then who? If not now, when? If not here, where? Bali? Benares? Cusco? Connemara? Dublin? Delhi? Uncover what you long for and you will discover who you are. An excerpt by Phil Cousineau, from The Art of Pilgrimage, Conari Press, copyright 1998 Phil Cousineau is leading a journey to Ireland that you don’t want to miss! The Mythic Heart of Ireland: A Pilgrimage into the Heart of Sacred Ireland, begins Sept. 21 through Oct. 2, 2013. For details, please see www. Sacred Earth Journeys is now in its 10th year of offering fabulous Sacred Journeys and Retreats to connect with the spiritual energies and ancient traditions that exist at some of the most important Sacred Sites around the world.

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Meta Institute

Assisting people in recognizing their resources in order to maximize opportunities for growth and success in any area of their life. We offer an array of services and training activities, from one-day workshops to 15-month intensive certification courses

Therapeutic Coaching速 Class Applications being accepted for April 2013 Early payment discounts & payment plans available!

Free Information Session, Thurs., March 21 (6:30-8:30)

Reiki I March 16 (Sat., 10-6 pm) $75

please call to register

Reiki II March 17 (Sun., 10-6pm) $150

Reiki III Aug. 3 (Sat. 10-6pm) $300 Reiki Master Teacher March 13 & 14 (Wed. & Thurs., 6:30pm-10pm) $300 Demystifying The Tarot

3 day class, March 23 & 24 (Sat.-Sun., 10am-6pm) $295 (3rd day to be scheduled with class)

Intuitive Readings by Mary Beth Tracy 30, 45, 60 minute readings available by appointment only

Individual, Couples, & Family Coaching Available Office and Classroom Space Available 5121 Winnetka Ave. Suite 200, New Hope, MN 55428

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Essential Wellness features a number of categorical directories throughout the year for the Upper Midwest. This month features retreats and travel. To be included in future editions: Dee: 715.259.3047 or Visit our online directory



Non-profit environmental learning and conference and retreat center on Grindstone Lake near Sandstone, MN. Diverse 535-acre lakeside sanctuary with seven miles of trails and meeting spaces, lodging, meals, as well as team-building, challenge or naturalist programs for any size group. Offering a variety of nature-connected all-inclusive adult, family, and youth ‘getaways’ such as our Women’s Wellness and Adventure Weekends, Birding Bonanza, Woods, Water and Wisdom family camp, and Winter Family Escape.

CLARE’S WELL 320.274.3512 Annandale, MN

Clare’s Well in Annandale, MN offers space for reflection and rest in hermitages in the country. We offer hospitality for private retreats. Therapeutic massage, Trager, and Integrative Energy Therapy are available. See and click on guest accommodations. Reservations by phone call only: 320-274-3512.




715-448-2424 Maiden Rock, WI (one hour from St Paul)

Lisa Schlingerman


Rent the River House on the National Scenic St. Croix River. The River House is one hour northeast of the Twin Cities and five minutes from William O’Brian State Park and the historic towns of Marine on St Croix and Scandia. The River House is available June through September. Reiki, tai chi, qigong and art making available on request.

Imagine nurturing yourself with other amazing women in the Mexican Yucatan for one full week! Traveling Goddesses offers women of all ages a unique travel experience that creates space to embrace their power while celebrating freedom, possibilities, and transformation. Trips providing opportunities for rest and healing, discovery and play are offered twice a year. NOW Booking 2013 trips: Apr. 6-13 and Oct. 26-Nov.4. Visit us and register at: www.

Journey Inn is a green B & B that provides guests with a soulpleasing, eco-friendly environment in a natural setting. Available for relaxing overnight and weekend stays and small group retreats. Workshops schedule throughout the year. Organic breakfast, meditative labyrinth and hiking trails on 66 acres of land. Private and quiet. Massage and energy therapy, life coaching and japanese soaking tub available.

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Heal mind, body, spirit. Holistic Health Studies Program • Earn a Master of Arts degree or one-year Graduate Certificate • Explore discoveries about health, healing and wholeness • In-depth study of complementary and integrative therapies • Enriching experiences for professional and personal development • Supportive and diverse learning community • Convenient evening classes open to women and men To learn more, call 651-690-6933 or visit

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march 2013




Give your essential self the gift of retreat


OST OF us know the feeling; our lives get hectic, jam-packed with responsibilities, our minds start suffering from chronic overload and it seems like we are perpetually “on.” We start to feel fatigued, overwhelmed, uninspired, stressed, or depressed. We start to run on ‘auto-pilot’ and lose the ability to connect to our deepest selves—who we really are, our aspirations, dreams, goals, talents, even personalities—our true natures. If we give ourselves the gift of a retreat from the everyday hustle of our lives, we have a chance to recharge and return

to our essence. By allowing ourselves some ‘me’ time, our mind has a chance to quiet and we can be truly present with ourselves. A periodic retreat from our constant stresses and responsibilities gives us time to check in with ourselves and refocus our intentions and priorities. And by incorporating some time out in nature during these down times, we return to our daily lives with an even greater sense of aliveness, well-being, energy and clarity. GET RECONNECTED TO YOUR TRUE SELF

This disconnect with our true nature is probably more prevalent in an urban environment, where most if not all

of our daily lives are spent in ‘built’ environments—our cars, workplaces and homes. Urbanization and this technology age we live in have changed people’s relationship with nature. By being immersed in today’s ‘turned on’ society, it is easy to lose sight of the connection we have with nature and how restorative that connection can be. We must remember that we are, after all, animals and part of the natural world. And just as wild animals taken out of their natural habitats can start to degrade mentally and physically, i.e., parenting skills decline, aggression increases, playful activity stops, etc., the same symptoms manifest themselves in stressed humans. Continued Page 26...


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By making a conscious effort to ‘nurture your nature’— periodically retreating from the constant drain on your mental resources, letting your mind be still, immersing yourself in nature, and giving yourself time and intention—you will feel renewed and can get back into a stream of creativity and inspiration. Getting away from the daily grind and getting outside can help recharge your batteries, give you a fresh perspective, and reconnect to your true self. Nature writer and wilderness preservationist John Muir wrote about the restorative power of nature in his 1901 book, Our National Parks: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, nature’s peace will flow into you as the sunshine into the trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”


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I am fortunate to work at the Audubon Center of the North Woods, an environmental learning facility and ‘green’ conference and retreat center near Sandstone, MN. A large part of the Center’s activities is its K-12 field trip program. Schools throughout Minnesota visit for an environmental and outdoor education experience. Our staff uses the outdoors as the primary classroom. A lot of our visiting schools are inner city and for many kids it is their first or only experience with nature. It always amazes me to observe the transformation, especially with three-day visits, within those students as a result of their experiences here; the increased self-confidence and change in attitude towards each other are almost tangible and a powerful testament to the positive relationship between being in nature and human wellbeing.

In addition to K-12 programs, the Center recognizes the need for people of all ages to affiliate with nature and offers a number of nature-connected, all- Winter Family Escape: inclusive adult, family and youth Wonder, adventure and disgetaways, including: covery. Celebrate the year end Women’s Wellness and with family in the northwoods and Adventure Weekends: make memories that last a lifetime! Renew, relax and rediscover. Enjoy a variety of classes and Laurie Fenner is Marketing Coworkshops in Challenge, Well- ordinator at the Audubon Center ness and Nature, and Creative of the North Woods, a private, non-profit environmental learnExpressions. ing and conference and retreat Birding Bonanza Weekend: Birding at it best with field center on Grindstone Lake near trips led by seasoned guides, en- Sandstone, MN, 90 miles north gaging on-site workshops, bird of the Twin Cities. The year-round banding sessions, live raptor lakeside facility, on a diverse 535presentation, renowned keynote acre sanctuary with seven miles of trails, can provide programming, speakers. meals, meeting space, and lodgScenic Minnesota Motorcycling Tour: ing for 162+ people and is avail 4-night, 5-day naturalist-led able to host your retreat or event. motorcycle tour of Minnesota’s Learn more most beautiful highways, byways or call 888-404-7743. There is no better place to nurture your nature! and natural areas

Woods, Water and Wisdom:

Nature Adventure at the Lake family camp—the forests, fields, ponds and lakes of Minnesota’s northwoods hold exciting lessons for your family.

march 2013



Shamanism Training Program

Healing the Wounded Spirit, Soul Retrieval, Recovery From Trauma, Space Clearing, Depossession

Avatar Personal Development Course March 9-17, 2013, Orlando, FL Call for a free introduction Advanced Animal Communication Class March 23-24, 9am-5pm, Isanti Contact Mary Stoffel 763-444-8146

march 2013



Taking time for Self is to find the meaning of y


C RO S S TIME man has searched for the meaning of his life’s purpose here on Earth. Oftentimes that search has led him or her to remote places, to stunning mountain tops, to the solitude of the desert, or on a journey through time and space. Jesus, Moses, Mikao Usui, St. Francis of Assisi, and many others have taken the time to sit and break-free from the demands of our consensual reality, from everyday life—to walk with spirit. They understood how important it was to take this time for themselves—how important it was to leave behind the noise and bustle of everyday life and to go to those remote regions

or high mountaintops to sit in contemplation of life, to connect with the forces of Nature, and to delve into their own shadow lands. LOOK WITHIN TO KNOW YOURSELF

Jesus told us, in the Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Our ego fears change, whether for the positive or otherwise. So we often resist looking into our shadows—so much so that we have allowed these parts of our self to become disassociated from our soul. Instead we end up projecting these unhealed states onto others.

When we embark on our spiritual journey, whether as a metaphor or in the physical sense, we step onto the ride of our life! No longer are we taking the well worn track of others, but instead we forge forward into places we have never dared to dream of. We find the inner gifts, we recognize the strengths and the challenges in our lives, and celebrate the opportunities that allow our souls the freedom to fly. When we look at the story of the Holy Grail, we can recognize it also as the spirit’s journey—the soul’s search for the sacred, for the deeper meaning of life. These Knights of the Round Table spent their lifetime searching for this sacred object. What if we were to find it within? Continued Page 32...



your life

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.”

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“It is onl that we c



While it is possible for us to do this in our own home, for many of us it is hard to turn off the outside distractions. We easily get pulled back into the day to day events, drama, and challenges. Or we may feel we are not worthy to take that time for our self or to spend our resources on a “vacation.” We may feel that it is “selfish” or that “there is not enough time or money.” In this day and age, taking a physical spiritual journey offers us the opportunity to reconnect—with our own soul, with the forces of nature, and with Spirit. It is a time for learning,

releasing, and self awareness. This time is so important for each of us to deepen our connection with the Divine. It offers us the opportunity to shed those untruths we tell about our self. To remember the magnificence of our Spirit and the gifts held within. Eight years ago I had the privilege of being invited to Peru as part of a research expedition to work with the high mountain shamans of the Andes Mountains. I had previously done a lot of self healing using many wonderful energy healing modalities. However, taking two weeks for myself—spending

uninterrupted time in contemplation and reflection allowed much more to come to the surface for healing. This experience knocked my socks off! It was an empowering experience and assisted me in finding the strength and gifts within. Over the past years I have had the privilege of leading groups on spiritual journeys to sacred places with our company, Golden Light Healing. As we sit together in healing ceremonies, meditations, and in communion with Nature I have witnessed again and again Continued Page 36...

ly when we silence the blaring sounds of our daily existence can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.” K.T. Jong

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612.824.4041 | 3033 Excelsior Blvd, Ste 585, Minneapolis, MN 55416

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this beautiful unfolding occur for those who have journeyed with us. “In the end you don’t so much find yourself as you find someone who knows who you are.” —Robert Brault

with renowned teachers in various realms of metaphysics and shamanism. She offers individual energy healing sessions and training in Reiki, Shamanism, mediumship and intuition development. Her company, Golden Light Amy Wilinski is an Energy Healing, is proud to sponsor Practitioner and teacher of spiritual journeys yearly to saenergy healing, intuition, and cred sites. Join us in 2013 for shamanism. Her love of nature and journey of personal healing has led her to train


The Mists of Ireland—Celtic Mysteries Tour in June or Peru—The Initiation Journey of the Andean Shaman in the fall. Please see our websites: or for more infor mation or call Amy at 920-609-8277.

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Join us in the Mexican Yucatan • Apr. 6-13 or Oct. 26 - Nov. 4 Booking tours for 2 0 1 3 visit:

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Transformational Healing Akashic Readings House Clearings Travel Tours Classes Wave Dance Bodywork Jaci Loos (651) 436-1418 www.wavedancebodywork.


Reduce anxiety, let go of emotional baggage, learn to love yourself, forgive, challenge limiting beliefs, weight loss, smoking cessation, confidence and more! Call for your free Consultation: 651-216-0085

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The wise retreat to emb the wisdom of retreat


TRESS IS suffocating the life out of you. You have a jam-packed schedule and run like a gerbil on a wheel going nowhere; you are mentally scattered and not present. You could be nicknamed “Crabosaurus” as your sense of joy and play are nearly extinct. Your shoulders seem to be attached to your earlobes. You hear yourself sigh or catch yourself holding your breath. You are never “off” regarding technology overload or addiction. You are overwhelmed and unproductive with a “not enough” syndrome—that sense of constriction pertaining to time or energy. Your reserves are so low that exhaustion and depletion run the show. How many of these signs do you recognize in yourself or someone close to you? These


are some indicators that a retreat BENEFITS OF A DEDICATED is in order. By retreat, I mean a RETREAT getaway, a change of scene from • Opportunity to unplug for a few hours your everyday routine. • Peace replaces busyness • Space/time created for deep lisRETREATS REBALANCE US tening and intuition to emerge Frequently as a retreat coach, I’ll hear objections like, “I’m too • Slower pace busy,” “I can’t take time off.” or • Time dedicated for reflection, rest, and renewal of spirit some variation therein. However, when one considers the benefits • Fun of gathering in community with other wise souls on a of retreat, the “yea buts” fade similar path away. What is the value of taking a retreat? Take a moment to jot • Opening to new vistas, locales, and perspectives down your own answers of how you may benefit, and then let’s • Reconnecting with the senses, wisdom of the body and heart see where our lists intersect. For starters, the act of retreating is • Giving the mind a breather helpful in restoring wholeness, an • Savoring solitude opportunity to flex your muscle • Restoring clarity and focus in the realm of balance and self • Allowing nurturing time in nature care. This is especially essential for heart-centered souls who are • Playing and reacquainting oneself with fun and aliveness. wired to give and serve. There must be a balance of receiving.

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And it gets even better. Did you know that the brain also benefits from retreat? Neuroscience of the brain is indicating that the mere act of reflection, often a practice during retreat, helps open up the brain to new pathways. Imagine a file cabinet that is jammed so full, you can barely open a drawer to fit in one more thing. Through the process of retreat, it actually allows the whole brain to open up, like having spacious access to each and every drawer in the cabinet. I invite you now to frame retreat in the context of play. According to author and play researcher, Dr. Stuart Brown, MD, “Play is nature’s greatest tool for creating new neural networks and for reconciling cognitive difficulties. When we play, dilemmas and challenges will naturally filter through the unconscious mind and work themselves out.” Retreat guests often arrive burdened and buried. Retreat, a form of play, al-

lows them to transform to a mood of easy lightness. As a result, new insights and solutions flow. Participants return with fresh ideas and they’re reenergized. This is precisely why there is wisdom in retreat. The ROI is positive. This investment in self care isn’t simply an indulgence, rather an essential tool for optimizing focus and wellness. A formerly reluctant participant became a convert. They shared this following their retreat: “A leader who does not ever retreat, feed their soul, refresh their spirit—simply keeps giving out of what they have. They will run out, they will run stale; they will not have as good a storehouse to give out of to those they lead as they would if they were taking time to retreat.” This participant is now intentional about including retreat as a regular practice. As numerous as the benefits, there are also many possibilities for taking a retreat. The timeframe may span from an hour mini-retreat, to a half day, full day or multi-day retreat. Op-

tions include a public retreat, a private retreat, self-guided retreat, or a virtual retreat. Venues include couples retreats, wellness retreats, spiritual retreats, nature retreats, adventure retreats, art retreats, leadership retreats, yoga retreats, etc. There is wisdom in retreat. We can look to nature and see this first-hand. Day is followed by night, a period of rest and renewal. Seasons for growth are followed by seasons of dormancy and replenishment. Like the cycle of seasons, consider retreat as a sustaining, returning practice for restoring wholeness and essential wellness. Michelle Burns, PCC is a Master Retreat Coach and member of the Retreat Coaches Network. She leads custom retreats for individuals and for groups. Michelle is the author of Thriving Naturally: 21 days of Renewal, a journal for personal reflection. Visit www.designyourdestiny. com/retreats/ for more information or contact her at 507.665.3358. march 2013


Live Well.


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