mini-retreat, part deux


Last June, Sarah and I travelled off to the mountains for a glorious (and hard-working!) mini-retreat weekend away. We knew that we wanted to do it again, so by last fall, we had a date nailed down and started inviting creative business friends to join us. Nicola and Billi were in right away! And off we were, planning our retreat.

Or not really.

I booked our accommodations a few months out, and we basically started planning our workshops the week before. Also in the week before: Billi, who is expecting baby #2 very soon, wisely decided to stay home, instead of driving seven hours to be with us. We missed her, but we are adaptable! Onward we went.

So, Nicola, Sarah and I got in the car. Headed for Jasper, with flipchart paper and laptops and books and worksheets and crafting supplies and three distinct yet common goals: to spend some time thinking about our businesses while learning everything we could from each other.

And then we saw the signs for a zipline.

Seriously. None of us had gone on a zipline ever before. Something, though, in groupthink, turned it into a good idea.  We got suited up. We learned how to slow down, how to turn, how to streamline. We received life coaching from the operator, about really feeling into our bodies. It’s not natural to jump off of a building roof! It’s okay that our bodies are saying no! It’s okay to be feeling something in our gut, in our heart, in our legs. We could just feel it all, move our ego aside, and go for it! All the while, knowing that everything is going to be just fine.

After watching the operator do every safety check once, and then do it all over again, we each, in turn, ran to the edge of the roof and trusted that we would be held. And we were.

NIcola, Lori, and Sarah, superheroes
NIcola, Lori, and Sarah, superheroes

Do I need to point out that that’s just a little bit of a metaphor for life?

We don’t know what’s coming our way, ever. And sometimes, when we see a sign in the road inviting us to do something wacky, potentially thrilling, and possibly out-of-character, we could maybe just try it. And it might be really very good.

The rest of the weekend involved some flip-chart-to-calendar planning, a rundown on best blogging habits, and some artistic-crafty time. Sarah brought watercolours, and we played. We went to the Bear’s Paw Bakery for raspberry-white chocolate scones and hot chai. We ate good food and dreamed at lakes.

Lac Beauvert from the Jasper Park Lodge
Lac Beauvert from the Jasper Park Lodge

We each came back energized for our projects. We renewed friendship and got to know each other better. We talked about where our skills can meet to create joint projects. And we reminded ourselves:

Once we take a bit of training and do the safety checks, we can go on and run to the edge and trust that we will be held.

For more information on how to set up a mini-retreat for yourself, check out last year’s post called Lori + Sarah’s Awesome Mini-Retreat Planner.

Have you ever planned a retreat for yourself or with friends? What lessons did you learn? Share them with us in the comments!


  1. colleen attara says:

    Lori-Ann…this sounds amazing. I went zip lining in Mexico (where Predator was filmed in Puerto Vallarta) and I only wish my guides had all that wisdom. Not so many safety checks and I was as terrified after zip #16 as I was on the first one. But I did it. And it is still one of the very bravest things I did. It was so against my nature. I think doing things like are so good for our soul..and our business. Sometimes you just have to do what scares you.

    • Lori-Ann says:

      Yay, Colleen! So true: “Sometimes you just have to do what scares you.” In business, in life: it’s all okay, if we acknowledge the fear and know that we’re safe.
      (SIXTEEN TIMES!!! wowzers!)

  2. pippa @storyofmum says:

    Love this Lori-Ann, it sounds amazing! I so loved that first retreat post too, it inspired me to start creating mini mamas retreats! Thank you xx

  3. Nicola Doherty says:

    You are such a beautiful writer Lori! It was a fantastic weekend and thanks so much to you and Sarah for letting me come and play in the mountains with you! And ziplining! Dude you’re a pro now!

    • Lori-Ann says:

      Hey, thanks, Nicola! You added so much know-how and energy to the group. And hmm. . . I see a ziplining-only “retreat” in our future. . . .

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