Experience Sedona

Experience Sedona

Have you experienced Sedona? For me, it’s like Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the happiest place, but not because of the rides. It’s the energy you get after being on a ride and the magic around you. In Sedona, they call it the vortexes – an amped up energy you get and feeling of being more alive. My first experience from Sedona, Arizona was about 28 years ago with my oldest friend and her family. It was a treat to get immersed in a beautiful place I had never experienced and what is now considered the most beautiful place on earth. We stayed in Flagstaff, AZ and started at the Grand Canyon, but ended in Sedona for most of our day trips. The beauty and energy of the red rock is indescribable – you really need to see it and feel it to believe it.

Red rock country is where everyone seems to go for play and pause or adventure and reflection. It’s a pretty small area about 20 miles with an elevation of 4,500 feet. The red rock formations, Oak Creek and all the positive energy surrounding you take your breath away. In early September, I went back on vacation with my husband for a week and couldn’t get enough. Almost 10 years ago, I was there with some of my closest girlfriends for a week exploring and also had a nice short trip two years ago. All in all, I have visit Sedona over half a dozen times in my life and plan to keep visiting and live my dream to move there one day.

Here are some reasons I need my Sedona fix:

The Vortexes, what’s the vortex about?

It’s been said, that a vortex is a place where the Earth is at its healthiest and most alive. The natural beauty of the Sedona area is a physical indicator, but more importantly, the aliveness shows up in the increased energy. The energy acts as an amplifier, magnifying what we bring to it – in our heart, mind, body, and spirit – a wholistic approach. The level of intention and awareness you bring matters in your experience.

Feeling good, what’s the feel-good, wellness about?

Sedona has been regarded as a place of healing and spiritual renewal.  There are a number of favored spots in Sedona to connect with the energy.  The four major hot spots are Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Airport Mesa. I love all four of these spots. Every single trip, I visit the airport mesa for the sunset and take in all the shades of red and orange and blue sky background as the sun goes down. There are art galleries everywhere to get inspired, over 100 hiking trails to explore and even more healthy culinary spots to feed the soul!

Positive energy, how to pause and play?

The whole Sedona area, they call a vortex, is a place to hit the pause button and be adventurous. We enjoy the Cathedral Rock for hiking, swimming and relaxing.  Meditating there soothes your soul and it’s the most photographed spot in Sedona. The Pink Jeep Tour is fun for the adventure to ride to some of the highest red rock points for the panoramic views. You really can’t beat the views all over Sedona. Whether it’s observing and quiet time or playtime, there is positive balanced energy awaiting.

Wholistic Woman Retreats has envisioned a destination retreat in Sedona, AZ since our formation. Just like the heart stone on a stack of Sedona rocks (known as the symbol of protection) found on this last trip, we are meant to be heart-centered in Sedona in 2020! It’s like the pioneering families settling in Sedona more than 10,000 years ago, we are coming together 10 years later to make our own history. We hope you can join us in Sedona, but if you can’t we are bringing Sedona to you in our last Be You, Be in Sedona session on October 30th. Come feel the energy and good vibrations we bring individually and together to get amped up! We hope to see you! Our website is www.wholisticwomanretreats.com to learn more about our monthly retreats and new destination retreat in Sedona in 2020!

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach, and training professional. Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate help her clients develop, spark action, and grow a successful career/business and life from the core. Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website: krbtrainingsolutions.com

Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Do you ever wake up and plan to accomplish a lot, only to find yourself completely exhausted midway through the day?  Some days feel like we are in the midst of a whirlwind and I am sure I am not the only one that feels that I could dial up the healthy choices when those days occur.  For me, that usually means that I need to get on a track that feels more balanced and calmer.  At those times, we often think about improving our nutrition or carving out more time for an exercise routine, which are great ideas and bring a long term payoff.

However, have you ever considered a resilience makeover?  What do I mean by that?  When I think of the word resilience, I think about the ability to bounce back from all that life throws at us.  What’s a makeover?  Well, have you ever had a makeover of a room in your home?  It might involve hanging a beautiful new picture, or just simply rearranging your furniture.  The purpose of any kind of makeover is to refresh and bring you a new sense of joy… A resilience makeover is similar to a makeover in one of the rooms of your home.  The room is probably fairly functional as it is, but it could use some new life breathed into it!   Typically a makeover doesn’t have to take much time or money but quickly changes the way you feel about that room.

The same could be true with a resilience makeover.  We can redesign our lives the same way we redesign our homes.  And, resilience is what I like to refer to as a life accessory.  Just like great artwork or fun throw pillows are accessories in a room of your home, resilience is an accessory that makes life easier, more fulfilling, and joyful.  And, I think we are all always on the search for anything that brings those things our way!

You may already feel that you are a pretty resilient person. Perhaps you have been through a tough health scare, the death of a loved one, issues surrounding your children, marriage, or job that have caused you to be tested and stretched.  And, perhaps you have come through those very difficult situations, rising about the challenges to return back to normal again.  That is the traditional definition of resilience.  Webster defines resilience as the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.  Think of someone you know who is really resilient, and my guess is that you will think of someone who has gracefully come through an experience that has been fairly life-changing.

I’ve always considered myself to be a resilient person.  My friend Patrice once told me that she admires that I don’t get stuck in the muck.  That was her way of saying that she feels that I don’t tend to allow life’s challenges to make me feel stuck for too long.  However, after reading Bonnie St. James’ and Allen P. Haines’ book, Micro-Resilience, I came to realize that resilience is a muscle we can build every moment of every day, not just in times of life’s greatest challenges.  In fact, the word “micro” refers to small changes, small shifts in our behavior.   And, the book proposes that even very small changes can make a huge difference in one’s focus and energy throughout each day.

If you are like me, there are days that I just don’t feel that I am effectively focusing on the things I want to get done, or lack the energy to do all the things on that to do list.  In fact, some days, I start out feeling motivated and then something happens that takes the wind out of my sails, and it’s challenging to get that ball rolling again.  Sound familiar at all?  The concept of micro-resilience addresses this exact issue.

Micro-resilience strategies are easy techniques that can assist you in recovering more quickly from the seemingly small challenges that inevitably come our way throughout each day.  Daily small challenges may seem insignificant individually, like a dishwasher that breaks unexpectedly, or the frustration of sitting in traffic as you barely make your appointment on time. However these small things can add up over the day causing us to feel completely exhausted, asking ourselves, why am I so tired right now? It’s just a  “normal” day today.

If this sounds familiar, you may find yourself ready to tackle a resilience makeover!  On Wednesday, May 29th, I’ll be facilitating our Be Resilient event.  I’ll be sharing several quick, practical science-based strategies which, when used, can immediately combat the daily energy drains that zap your energy and leave you feeling exhausted.   We’ll discuss strategies to avoid mental exhaustion, and increase your brain’s effectiveness, including the use of laser focus rather than multitasking.  We’ll talk about tips to combat worry and anxiety, and techniques for embracing more positivity.  We’ll talk about ways to refuel and refresh your body for peak performance, and we’ll touch on renewing your spirit by tapping into your purpose and a state of “flow”, a concept made popular by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book entitled, Flow.

I have been trying out many of the 21 different strategies outlined in the book Micro-Resilience over this past year and can tell you confidently, that they are improving my ability to tap into a high level of energy and focus each day.  Each day gives me new opportunities to fine tune my new approaches, and I have been enjoying the journey. I look forward to sharing more about these powerful strategies with you on Wednesday, May 29 so you might begin a resilience makeover of your own!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

5 Reasons Why Team Retreats are Good for Your Business

5 Reasons Why Team Retreats are Good for Your Business

Have you ever wondered if team building events are worth the investment? How would developing your people impact the overall success of your organization?

Workshops and seminars are great short-term solutions to teach new skills and strategies. A corporate retreat, however, offers greater opportunities to simultaneously reward and improve your employees. Going off-site, whether for a partial day or multiple days, has many benefits for your employees and the overall organization.

Team Building

During a typical work day, your staff may interact with a limited number of co-workers. Team retreats broaden connections between diverse employees allowing them to engage with co-workers from other departments or shifts. New bonds are formed as they converse in a different setting. When they return to the workplace, connections made during the retreat will strengthen the overall cohesiveness and effectiveness of your workforce.

Stress Relief

Retreats come in all shapes and sizes. Choose one that will most benefit your team to provide a break from their daily grind. In these increasingly busy times, workers can release tension through a variety of enriching activities such as escape rooms, scavenger hunts, creative art activities, obstacle courses, personal development, and more. Corporate retreats are especially appreciated as a reward after the busy season. Send a message that you appreciate your team, recognize their contributions and want them to unwind and relax.


Retreat experiences offer fresh perspectives as staff members get away from their day-to-day operations. A customized program can take a high-level view to explore company values, mission, and purpose. Then take a deeper dive into the details to discover what is going well and what could be better from their vantage point. Identify gaps and areas for improvement while celebrating successes. Participants gain new appreciation and knowledge as they listen and learn from each other, as well as from the program facilitators. Retreats offer time to step back and evaluate both individually and collectively.

Improve Engagement

Disengagement remains one of the biggest hurdles in the current workforce with only 33% of US employees engaged in their work. Gallup believes that unengaged employees cost companies between $480-$600 billion a year in lost productivity. What’s worse is that unengaged employees can be toxic because they have the ability to turn customers away, too.’

How do we improve the engagement of our teams? Buy-in (aka engagement) develops when team members can contribute their input and feel heard, acknowledged and validated. They feel part of the team when they know that their opinions matter. Feeling heard and respected goes a long way towards team engagement, even if their suggestions are not acted upon. Team retreats provide a safe space for employees to brainstorm and give constructive feedback. Such experiences contribute to a positive work culture with a more engaged staff long after the retreat is over.

Invest in your people

Building on ‘buy-in’, a team retreat lets your staff know that you value them. Give them the gift of going to a special location or doing a fun activity together. Ask them what they would enjoy most and then make a custom experience happen for them. A special program such as Strengths Based Leadership will not only develop them as individuals but will also enhance their effectiveness at work. A health and wellness coach can help their physical well-being which translates to a healthier (and happier) workforce.

Follow up the retreat experience by offering staff several one-on-one executive coaching or personal coaching sessions to let them know how invested you are in their development.

In summary, team retreats are a wise and worthy investment in the success of your business, non-profit, or community organization. How will you develop your team today?

Today’s author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is a strengths-based executive leadership coach who guides individuals and businesses to be their best. For more information about her coaching services, and her book Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith, visit www.caroldelaski.com or email her at carol@caroldelaski.com

Be Balanced – A Wholistic Approach

What does it feel like when your life is in balance?

Does it energize you, leave you feeling relaxed, or is there some other quality that best describes it for you?

More importantly, how do you know when you’ve achieved that elusive equilibrium that we refer to as balance?

I’ve noticed that balance often looks, and feels, different for each of us. What’s great for me may be overwhelming for another. What’s optimal for you may be boring to someone else. What makes us feel balanced is unique to each of us. Only you know what components are necessary for your well-being.

Some of the needed ingredients could be time outdoors, quality time with loved ones, solitude, or time for spiritual renewal. Others may need time with a support group, exercise, good nutrition, music, creative expression…this list could go on and on. Knowing what makes up your personal access code for balance will enable you to achieve it more often.

Our bodies can provide abundant information about how we’re doing by sending us warning signals when we’re out of balance, as well as calming reassurance when we are in a healthy zone.

Many of us experience negative physical symptoms when we are on overload: backaches, headaches, digestive troubles, and sleeplessness are examples of red flags that warn us when we are not taking good care of ourselves. These indicators of stress are signals to slow down, rest, practice self-care, and restore well-being to our lives.

Our bodies also send signals when we are in a positive state of balance. When I’m experiencing a high sense of well-being I notice that I often smile to myself as I go about my daily activities. I appreciate my surroundings and the people I encounter more. I release the striving that often appears when I’m out of balance and gratefully receive what each day brings.

When we begin to pay more attention to our well-being we notice what it feels like to be in, or out, of balance. We learn our own personal warning signals that can indicate when we are getting off track. This is helpful on a daily and weekly basis, but also on a larger scale as well.

As I look back on the past year, I can see that I have had a series of activities that have thrown my balance off kilter. The love of my life moved in with me one year ago and we became engaged on Christmas Eve. That would have been a big adjustment in and of itself, but layered on top of that were a number of family support roles that I chose to take on.

I overextended myself and my physical, emotional, and mental health was impacted by doing too much. An upswing in my business coincided with these changes and even though almost everything was good, I still found myself stressed to do it all…and be it all. Eventually, something had to give, and my warning signals of exhaustion, sickness, irritability, and depression got my attention.

I started pulling back, taking much needed downtime, and making conscious choices that would refill my own tank. I leaned on the tools and strategies that we practice in the Wholistic Woman Community. I sought to understand how my strengths had drifted to the dark side and weren’t bringing the results I wanted. I looked at my energy levels and saw that I had dropped into a lot of caregiver (level 4) energy and started working my way back to level 5, win-win energy. I used my One Word for this year, Joy, as a lens to examine how some activities brought me deep happiness and others did not. Regularly applying all of these strategies helped to get me back on track and restored my optimal balance.

I believe that life is a learning process and that I know how to better recognize my overdoing it…simply because I have over-done it…yet again! With practice, I remember how to find my way back when I get off track, using the tools that have proven helpful over and over again. As I wrote about in my book, Lost and Found…life can be a series of experiences where I lose my way…and find my way again. I’m encouraged to see that I continue to discover, learn, and evolve through the experiences of each year.

The key to finding my way is asking what I need more of, and what I need less of, in order to achieve the balance that is right for me. I ask myself what I need on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis to make healthy choices. It’s not a perfect system. Some days I can’t get what I need, but with self-awareness I can make sure that I get it in the next day or two in order to maintain a weekly, monthly, and yearly sense of balance.

In the Wholistic Woman community we focus on developing our body, heart, mind, and spirit in the life-long process of integrating all parts to become whole. At the May Evening Retreat, Be Balanced, I will lead women through a short self-assessment to identify how satisfied they are with their well-being in these four areas of heart, mind, body, spirit.

We will discuss strategies and tools to improve our satisfaction in each area. Women will leave with actionable steps to lead a more balanced life. I invite you to join us for this interactive and lively discussion to find your optimal balance. Click here to learn more and register for the Be Balanced Evening Retreat.


Today’s Author: Carol deLaski, PCC, is an executive coach, founder of Wholistic Woman Retreats, and author of Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. Learn more about her coaching and training services at www.caroldelaski.com or email her at: carol@caroldelaski.com.

Quality Friends

Quality Friends

It’s Saturday morning. I am the only one awake in my house and I’m so grateful to have this quiet time to sit down and get the thoughts swirling around in my head down on paper.

I am a big believer in journaling.  I started this practice about eight years ago when I was experiencing some anxiety issues.  Even though I’m a reluctant writer, I found it extremely liberating to take the time to get the inner rumblings of my mind and soul out where I could look at them with self-compassion and a level of objectivity.  It saved me and if you haven’t tried journaling, I highly recommend it, especially during times when life feels overwhelming.

I’ve had an overwhelming week!  At home, we are about two weeks away from putting our house on the market and the to-do list feels endless.  At work (if you didn’t already know this about me, about a year ago I began working at my husband’s office as his dental assistant), our office manager is out on a two-week vacation and juggling both her responsibilities as well as my own has left me feeling frazzled!  And the Wholistic Woman Retreats is busy creating the programming for our upcoming retreat and there is a lot to do when you put on an event like this.  The cumulative effect of everything that is going on in my life right now has left me feeling overwhelmed at times.

Yesterday, I had a planning meeting with the two other founding coaches of Wholistic Woman Retreats to work on our Wholehearted Living Retreat.  On the way to the meeting, my mind was telling me how unprepared I was for the meeting and how I wasn’t carrying my weight. But because I am a coach and I practice what I teach, I started questioning these thoughts and worked on practicing self-compassion and talking to myself like I would talk to my best friend instead.

As we gathered, we did a check in with one another based on the question, ‘Where are you right now in mind, body, and heart?’.   As I was checking in, the tears just started flowing.  The emotional stress of the last week came spilling out and I realized that the reason I was crying was because I felt safe and loved and comfortable enough to be completely vulnerable with my two friends.

If you know Kelye and Carol, then you can probably guess how they responded to my tears…they wrapped me in a group hug, told me I was enough, and offered me grace and love.  It was in that moment that I realized what quality friends they were.  There was no judgement, no “What were you thinking, listing your home so close to our retreat?” and no trying to fix it for me.  There was just compassion, warmth, and love.

Today I am counting my blessings!  I am surrounded by wonderful, supportive, nurturing friends who accept me where I am at any given moment.  I have quality friends!

Quality friends can sometimes feel hard to come by, but not here at Wholistic Woman Retreats.  We are growing a community of quality women through our monthly and special retreats.  If you could use some more quality friends in your life, then please join us at our February event, which we are calling “Be Connected”.  It is your opportunity to really get to know some quality women in a fun, creative kind of way.  We’ve designed it to be similar to a speed dating kind of event, so over the course of the evening you will get to meet and get to know better a variety of women.  One of them may just turn out to be one of your quality friends!

For more information on this event, click here.  Hope to see you there!


Today’s author: Laura Hall, CPC, CDWF: As a certified professional coach since 2009, Laura Hall, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator has been helping people just like you make changes in. As a mother of 2 girls, Laura has a special interest in coaching parents, so if you still have children living at home, ask Laura about her Wholehearted Parenting programs. Laura can be reached via email at laurahallcoach@me.com or feel free to visit her website: HallCoaching.com


Wholistic Woman Voices: A Signature Retreat Experience

Wholistic Woman Voices: A Signature Retreat Experience

In just a few short weeks, our signature overnight retreat will be here! This year the theme is Wholehearted Living, based on The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

We asked two Wholistic Woman members, Pat and Gloria, to tell us the impact last year’s retreat at Antrim 1844 had on their lives and well-being. Read on to find out what they have to say about our retreats…


What was your favorite part of the last retreat?

[PAT] I really ended up enjoying the location. I have attended most of the retreats over the years (I think I’ve only missed one of them) so I’ve gone to lots of different venues and formats. This retreat was more of a commitment financially, but I soaked up and enjoyed the space and the pampering. So that was the most surprising part. The content is always valuable for me, as well as the connection with other people.

[GLORIA] The retreat was the very first Wholistic Woman event that I had ever attended. I had very little information as to what Wholistic Woman was all about, so I had no preconceived notions of what to expect. As I arrived, I was pleased with the surroundings…I loved the mansion and the history. At the retreat itself I enjoyed the ability to talk to people about things other than work or relocating to this area. It was nice to see a different kind of conversation coming about and just the positivity! Nobody was critiquing, complaining, judging – there was none of that. I didn’t even sense it. Everybody genuinely had open minds, open hearts, and welcoming arms. They wanted to just make everybody’s day better and everybody’s idea of what tomorrow could be more positive. So it was enlightening in that way.


What did you gain from the experience?

[PAT] I really enjoy Brené Brown’s books and materials, so for me having an opportunity to process and work with it, both individually and in the group, is valuable. Having it presented to me in different ways by the coaches, I find that I get a lot more out of the material and I’m much more able to apply things.

[GLORIA] It was actually quite eye-opening. I think I went with a little bit of pessimism, like… ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be one of those little feel-good things and it’s just going to be all kumbaya.’ But then we started getting into the meat of the program, diving into the topic that we were discussing. It was actually Carol’s presentation towards the end of the retreat when we were talking about grieving. I have only been in this area for 4 years after my husband took a new job and we moved from California. When we sold my home and left the place I had known my entire life, it was within six-months after I had lost my father and we had moved my daughter across the country to college. I left family, friends, my career, and pulled my son out school to move across the country. So all of those things happened in such short order that I had just dealt with them. I explained to Carol what I just mentioned and asked is there a grieving process for those types of events. And she said, “Oh my heavens, yes!” And the waterworks just started. It was the first time since all of that began that I actually took the time to realize that I had lost so much of what my world was. The snow globe of my world didn’t just get shaken but it cracked and everything spewed out. It wasn’t my reality anymore and I didn’t know how to be happy. I was functioning because things had to get done but I wasn’t enjoying it. I was getting pretty darn miserable because I was starting to get resentful over everything I perceived I had given up. So it was tough. For me, it was incredible that I gained that much insight from the retreat and I was able to just breathe. I stayed an extra night and I just allowed myself to cry. But it was OK. It was a new beginning. I got more out of it than I would have ever imagined.


Would you go to this year’s retreat?

[PAT] Oh yeah, I’m already registered!

[GLORIA] I actually have already signed up for this retreat! I’m just going to sit back and observe this time.


What is your advice for anyone who may be on the fence about attending?

[PAT] Don’t think that you need to come with a buddy. Just come and be very open because the group is very open. I always meet new and different people in addition to re-connecting. Come with an open mind and intend to maximize the time for yourself. I’ll tell you my story…last year check-in was 2:00. Despite my desire to connect with the coaches and a number of people there, I showed up at 2:00 and checked in to my room and I immediately started drawing a hot bath. Now, I tend to be a person who likes to connect with other people, but I just wanted to soak in this beautiful space first. I completely indulged in the room and what was there because it was so delightful. And then, I went to tea at 4 o’clock, but by the time I showed up for tea, I’d already had a bath, I’d already settled into my room. There was none of this drop and run, because it wasn’t just like the Hilton or the Holiday Inn or whatever…it was really lovely. When I told people how I began the retreat they said, ‘oh, what a good idea!’ Because your time is very full and there is a lot going on. So give yourself permission to do what you need to do to enjoy that space and not worry about anybody else. It’s okay to receive and enjoy the whole experience.

[GLORIA] We all come from different places and, to me, it seems that if you’re already thinking about attending, there must be something calling you to try it. You’ll never really know until you do. You can ask 50 of us that went and everybody will give you a different answer. So I think if it’s already in your mind and you’re thinking: ‘Sounds like a good idea but I don’t know if I should.’ Just do it. You have nothing to lose. At worst, you’re going to meet new people, enjoy some exquisite cuisine, a beautiful mansion with an incredible history, and whatever the weather holds. You will hear a few conversations and maybe connect with somebody else who has a similar story that you could bounce ideas off of and in doing so make a new friend…there’s nothing wrong with making a new friend!

We hope to see all of you at the Wholehearted Living Retreat this year!

Click here for more information and registration.

Don’t delay…reserve your spot today. Bring a special friend or two, if you like, and make it a girl’s getaway weekend.


Today’s Author: Thank you to Kira Tregoning, WWR Social Media Coordinator, for interviewing WWR members, Pat Herber and Gloria Murray for today’s blog.