Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

From Death Comes Birth – The Growth of a Retreat Dream

When my parents died a few years ago, it changed my life immensely. They had become such a significant part of my daily living in their old age. I was the primary support for my dad who was caring for my mom (she had dementia). He also had his own health issues. At the moment my dad died, not only did I lose him, I also became my mom’s caregiver and advocate. Thankfully, my mom was released from dementia hell when she died seventeen months later.

After several months of grieving and working through the sadness and pain, a door opened in my life that hadn’t been there before. As it is with death, there is also birth. In this case, it was the birth of an idea for my life coaching business.

For the past 30 years, I have been guiding small groups of girls and women on outdoor adventures. I got to see teenage girls, who were often doing things to escape from their pain like self-harm and drugs, experience the natural highs that come from being in nature.

I witnessed women taking off their masks of perfection, allowing themselves to risk making mistakes, and opening up to receiving support from their female peers. It’s so much easier to be authentic and free when in a natural environment, away from the typical routines and expectations of life.

Now back to the door that opened for me after my parents died. Through that door was the opportunity to create a permanent retreat centre where I could lead inventure (inner adventure) experiences in a nature setting. The idea of a retreat centre was the perfect mash-up of my past experiences and my life coaching business.

The dream started big with the idea of buying a property in Costa Rica and moving there permanently in a few years. Within days of arriving in Costa Rica on a “research trip”, it became clear it was not the place for me to fulfill the dream. More than any particular reason, my intuition was telling me it just wasn’t right.

For awhile after, it felt like the door had been closed and the dream was put on the shelf. But then I started to reflect on all the experiences and adventures I had created for women in the past. Most of them had happened in Manitoba. The Whiteshell Provincial Park. Spirit Sands. Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. Grand Beach. Patricia Beach. The Narcisse snake dens. Riding Mountain National Park. Pinawa.

Pinawa. Pinawa. Pinawa.

My heart landed there and the door flew open again! My intuition told me I was now heading down the right path to fulfill my dream. I loved the idea of being in a Manitoba location. It’s not necessary to travel to others parts of the world to have an amazing experience of connecting with nature. One doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars and hours of time to travel to another place when opportunities for personal and spiritual growth are in our own backyard.

We can stay close to journey far.

Everything started to feel right and pieces of the dream puzzle starting falling into place. My partner was 100% on board in looking for a property with the idea of using it as retreat centre in the short term and moving there permanently down the road.

We were drawn to Pinawa and looked at four houses in one day last spring. We found the perfect house in the perfect location on that one day of exploring. Within a week the deal to purchase was complete.

This was definitely an instance of following the heart.

It’s been nine months since we got possession. We’ve been renovating, painting, creating, planning and playing. We’ve experimented with facilitating retreats for my Soul Sisters Circle who were happy to be test subjects. Their reviews have indicated the dream is coming true.

It’s now time to announce to Winnipeg and the rest of Manitoba the birth of the Nurtured by Nature Retreat and Playhouse in Pinawa.

Over the next few months, I’ll be introducing various retreat options and teaming up with other local experts. I have dozens of ideas brewing which will roll out through the year(s) to come. Please feel free to explore your ideas with me.

I’m very pleased to present the very first Nurtured by Nature retreat which is a partnership with holistic nutritionist Jodi Lee.

Fill Your Plate: A Weekend Retreat to Nourish your Mind, Body and Soul. It will take place April 28-30.

Read all about it here. I hope you will consider joining us.


For any other questions or requests, contact me here.

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