The Hero's Journey: A Retreat with Sarah Seidelmann and the Beasties
At the Audubon Center of the North Woods, the Crosby Lodge is our home for the weekend. When entering the Crosby Lodge, you step into a long hallway covered in an all encompassing mural of the north woods that stretches from floor to ceiling, a ceiling maybe 14 ft high, or more. The colors of the mural give the hallway a dark, yet warm and inviting, impression. At the end of the long hallway, sunshine pours into a large room with windows on three sides. Above the windows hang five mosaics, each several feet high, of a deer, fish, owl, turtle, and an otter. Out the windows the snow is deep, surrounded by trees on all sides and a frozen lake visible through the trees.
Last year we kept saying, “next time we need to bring Sarah Seidelmann.” The building is so full of images of animals, we just couldn’t help but think this would be something of a natural habitat for Sarah. Sarah has been a mentor and source of inspiration for us over the past few years. She has written several books, including Swimming with Elephants, a book about her journey from physician to shaman. As well as, The Book of Beasties, a book full of animal wisdom and wonder.
We were thrilled when Sarah agreed to join us.
The first day of the Audubon retreat in 2018 was also my last day at my previous place of employment. After refusing the call for a year, with some encouragement from friends and my spouse, I decided to accept a job as an economist for the state of Minnesota- a dream job for me but also a job that was something of a logistical nightmare and required me to get way, way out of my comfort zone.
The Audubon retreat also marked the very beginning of Bryana’s hero’s journey. At that time, the call was just a whisper beginning to grow louder, a tug she could no longer ignore. Over the past year, Bryana also made a career transition from a school social worker to pursue private counseling and expand her knowledge of, and ability to share, yoga.
This year, when we arrived at Audubon, Bryana gave me a gift celebrating our change-a-versary. We couldn’t have gotten through the past year without the support of one another. We also looked to Sarah for inspiration at every turn. Sarah is one of my favorite people to follow on social media. Sarah’s posts exude positivity, hope, joy, passion, humor, and often gave me a much-needed boost, like a virtual high-five of sorts.
So, it was only fitting (synchronicities and all that) that Sarah wanted to do a workshop on the Hero’s Journey at Audubon.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Hero’s Journey, this is a concept developed by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell outlines a theory that all stories throughout time follow the same pattern. The hero hears a call (a letter to Hogwarts, Frodo’s call to adventure by Gandalf). Often, the hero refuses the call and requires a push or a supernatural aid to make the leap into the unknown. The hero crosses the threshold from the ordinary world into the world of adventure (leaving the muggle world, leaving the Shire, leaving Tatooine, etc...) Here, the hero encounters challenges and temptations. She finds helpers to aid her on her journey. She is transformed and finally returns to the ordinary world bearing the gifts of transformation. HUGE OVERSIMPLIFICATION, but that’s the general elevator version.
We arrived and settled in on Friday night with yin and sound bowls, full of anticipation for the weekend and a bit of curiosity about exactly how many inches of snow would fall on Saturday (the forecast said 8-12”).
Saturday morning, Bryana surprised Sarah in her yoga session with a class themed on bear. After all, bears, like us, are preparing to emerge from the long winter.
After class, we loaded up with gear from the equipment shed for our weekend adventures in the snow. One of my favorite things about the Crosby Lodge is looking down the hallway and seeing all the snowshoes and xc skis leaning near doorways.
Stacy taught a workshop on toxic-free spring cleaning, (blog on this topic coming out this month!) while Amanda taught a creative writing workshop.
Before lunch, Joella led us through an advanced vinyasa flow that was energizing and well… frankly, hard! But the best kind of hard, the hard that forces you to find your edge and do things you didn’t realize you were capable of doing. The kind of hard that helps you realize your own strength.
In the afternoon, Sarah led us through her hero’s journey workshop. We planted the seeds of our dreams and allowed ourselves to imagine pursuing those secret desires without fear of failure and rejection. We dared to ask ourselves, how good are we willing to let it get?
We closed the workshop with a Despacho ceremony. In Sarah’s words, we created a care package for the Universe full of our hopes and dreams and prayers.
Before dinner, I taught a class I created based on the Hero’s Journey. Within the Hero’s Journey, there are journeys within the journey. It is a spinning circle that continues on and on. For many of us, simply attending a yoga retreat is answering a call to adventure- one that requires getting out of the comfort zone and overcoming obstacles to find transformation.
Within my class, we embarked on a mini-mini hero’s journey. We answered the call through surrender, we broke through the threshold by BREACHING like a whale. We fought off dragons and storm troopers as we moved through a warrior sequence. And lastly, we emerged the Goddesses with the Gifts, ready to share our gifts with the world. (-: (Um, my classes are a little weird…)
Saturday night we let the fire “eat” our despacho- another Sarah phrase. We shared funny stories and stood there, watching the fire. The snow fell thick, heavy, and wet, drenching us through our snow gear.
Sunday morning we awoke to six inches of fresh snow- a world transformed. Bryana spent 28 days at an Ashram in Texas surrounded by peacocks as she completed her 500 RYT. So it was no surprise that our class Sunday morning was themed around peacock.
“It’s time to step out with trust and innocence of a child who has nothing to fear. This is a time to be bold. You may wander, but you are never lost.” - Sarah Seidelmann, The Book of Beasties
Yogis, I hope that you planted a seed at our retreat. I hope you will answer the call. The world needs more HEROINES. The world needs CREATORS. The world needs people willing to fight for what they believe in- people willing to take big risks. The world needs you to do the things you were born to do. Answer the call when you are fortunate enough to hear it beckon.
Over the past year, the four of us have all embarked on a journey to stop running from, and to start running toward, the women we are becoming. We let our freak flags fly. We are working on becoming unapologetically ourselves, hurtling toward the person we were inevitably created to be.
We thank you for joining us. We hope you feel EMPOWERED to live a colorful life, open to the possibility of magic.
Learn more about 1:1 coaching, shamanic healing, retreats, workshops, online courses, and more at Sarah Seidelmann’s website, https://followyourfeelgood.com/.
You can also use this cool app she developed. Curious why certain wild Beasties are appearing in your path or in dreams? Get the What the Walrus Knows App for iPhone/iPad here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/what-walrus-knows-eccentrics/id551627659
Below is a TED Style talk Sarah gave recently about her own hero’s journey from physician to healer.
Marisa Cappezuto of Loon Lake Portaits
You captured our weekend together so beautifully.
Interested in attending a retreat in 2019? More info below:
Find Your Bliss: pranayama, meditation, movement - May 2-5, 2019
Walker, MN - Camp Bliss
Find your bliss as we dive deep into the principles and practices of pranayama, meditation, and movement. Tap into stillness amidst the chaos. Let go and experience multiple ways yoga can improve your daily life. Interested in meditation but not quite sure where to start? Have a practice, but looking to deepen it? Curious about breath, mudras, sound healing, and energy? Whether you are new to yoga, or an experienced practitioner, this retreat is right for you.
This retreat features: four days/three nights, a small, intimate group setting, private/semi-private rooms, in-depth practice and teaching on yoga principles, deliciously healthy organic food catered by The Green Scene of Walker, MN, a quiet and secluded setting in the woods, nestled between three serene lakes
Click here to see available rooms and more detailed information about this four day/three night retreat. Only eight spots remain!
Want to see even more fun announcements on what to expect? Check out our facebook event.
Wild Women Yoga Retreat - August 15-18, 2019
Finland, MN - Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
An adventurous retreat for women in the north woods! Embrace your wild side. Practice yoga, laugh, breathe, and connect with Mother Nature. Check out a 2018 recap of this fun and transformational retreat: Wild Women Yoga Retreat 2018 Recap.
Registration will be available MARCH 29th at NOON. Last year this retreat sold out in less than 24 hours. If you have your heart set on a north shore retreat, we recommend purchasing your ticket as close to noon on March 29th as possible.
Embrace Change yoga retreat - Oct 25-27, 2019
Hackensack, MN - Deep Portage Learning Center
Fall is the perfect time to embrace change. The trees remind us that this is a natural and necessary process.
Interested in joining us at Deep Portage Learning Center? Read more here.
Read more about our 2018 fall retreat: Women Empowering Women: A Surprising Addition to our Fall Into Joy Yoga Retreat
2019 tickets on sale May 31st at noon.
Lean Into Gratitude Yoga retreat - Nov 1-3, 2019
Lanesboro, MN - Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie
Interested in joining us in bluff country? More info here.
Check out our 2018 recap: Stress Relief at Eagle Bluff.
2019 tickets on sale May 31st at noon.