The Cozy Winter Self-Care Retreat You've Been Craving - You're Invited!

 Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Join me for a Cozy Winter Self-Care Retreat in Beautiful West Virginia

February 8 - 10, 2019

Claymont Seminars, The Great Barn

Is winter already wearing you down? Are you craving time for relaxation, contemplation and a deeper practice of self-care this season?

Join me at the beautiful Claymont Seminars for a cozy weekend of delicious food, gentle yoga and life-changing self-care workshops. Learn the essential self-care practices that help you live a beautiful life, every single day. Be in community with people who appreciate meaningful conversation as much as you.

Over the course of this weekend, you’ll gain a much deeper understanding of who you are and what you need to care for yourself within the busyness of modern life.

You’ll also leave our weekend together knowing how to:

  • Craft and practice a dynamic morning routine

  • Set boundaries around your time and energy

  • Share your self-care with your loved ones

  • Transition gracefully from winter into spring

Learn more in the FAQ below and email me at gracy@selfcarewithgracy.com with any questions.

Sign up before January 15th to take advantage of early bird rate!

Can’t wait to retreat with you!

XO,
Gracy

***

Retreat FAQ’s

When is the retreat?

February 8-10, 2019.  Check-in starts on Friday from 4pm and we end after lunch on Sunday, around 1:30pm.

Where is the retreat?

A very sweet retreat center called Claymont Seminars near Charles Town, WV.  Depending on traffic, it takes about an hour to get there from downtown DC.   This is the 19th retreat I’ve led at Claymont and they are always wonderful experiences!

Who can attend?

All people who want to learn, practice and share self-care!  You can take as much personal time as you need - there are lots of wonderful walking trails, cozy meditation places and nearby Harper’s Ferry to visit.  There will also be a wonderful community of supportive folks with whom you can eat delicious food, engage in meaningful conversation and giggle with by the fire.

What if I am traveling from out of town?  

If you book your travel to arrive in DC by 2pm (or Dulles by 4pm) on Friday, we can most likely find you a ride to the retreat center.  Please book your return travel for after 4:30pm on Sunday.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

The accommodations are single/shared rooms (single rooms are first come first serve unless you have a medical need to have a single room) with shared bathrooms.

What is the food like?

I’m so glad you asked - it’s delicious!  Our baseline menu is a colorful, yummy vegan and gluten-free menu with the option of dairy + bread to add in.

Will there be yoga?

Yes, there will be gentle, all-levels yoga taught by Gracy.  You can participate or sleep in! :)

What is the cost of the retreat?

For those who sign up before January 15th, the price is $325.  For those who sign up after, the price is $350. Prices include all food, accomodations and supplies (though you might want to bring a little extra money to buy Claymont’s honey - so good!)

Self-Care for When You Think You've F*cked It All Up (The First Essay in my New Book Selfcarefully!)

fuckin it all up.jpg

Hello Dear!

In celebration of my new book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections. I hope this opening essay in the book helps you to see you are not alone in feeling like you’ve fucked up your self-care, again, and that these moments of messy confusion are the most generative of spaces to get to know yourself.

If this message of self-care rather than self-improvement resonates with you, please preorder your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.

Thanks for reading and I’ll look forward to sharing the next section soon!

With care,
Gracy

***

Self-Care and Fucking it All Up

There comes a moment in every self-care journey when it's easy to feel like you’ve fucked it all up. How do I know this? Well, I’ve watched a lot of women—including myself—go through these moments. 

The pattern goes like this: I work hard and gain some positive momentum.  I feel pretty great, and my mind is full of possibility. Then, I have a bad day. The negative voice in my head starts in on me, and nothing I do is good enough.  When I get home, I’m crabby with my partner and I just want to numb out in front of the TV. The next morning, I hit "snooze" again and again.  Groggy and emotionally hung-over, I tell myself I've messed it all up. Perhaps I’m just not capable of change.

I want you to know that it’s normal to have these digressive moments. We all have them and we will all continue to have them.  However, these moments are not a sign that we can’t grow. Rather, they show that we are growing. Our over-stimulated nervous systems get freaked out by change and decide to slam on the brakes by telling us—over and over—to hit “snooze” or watch another episode or do whatever makes you feel like you’ve fucked it all up. 

When we fuck up, we don’t have to give up. To restart our self-care, we only need to recognize what’s happening. As we do, we can speak gently to ourselves. We can ask for support from our loved ones. We can pivot back to ourselves and realize that we are allowed to mess up, because we have the tools to care for ourselves, even on our worst days (when we probably need the most care).  Practicing resilience during these times of supposed defeat is rarely glamorous.  However, learning to care for yourself, no matter how broken you may feel, is essential for navigating the rocky moment of growth, many of which are still ahead. 

***

Want to read more? Preorder your own copy of Selfcarefully here.

Read a Section of My New Book (and learn what to do when you f*ck it all up in your self-care)

fuckin it all up.jpg

Hello darlings!

I’m so excited to announce a project that has been cooking for quite a while. It started pretty soon after I had Jonah, when my friend Erin approached me about writing a book. Erin, along with her friend Julie, had just started an independent press to create self-care resources for caregivers. She asked if I could write a book about self-care for Thick Press.

Of course, my first instinct was to say “no”. No, I had way too much going on in my world. No, I had nothing else to give to others. How was I supposed to write a book teaching people to take care of themselves while I was just staying afloat as a new mother?

(Especially because I still had no idea what to do with my first book. Which I still don’t, but now I feel pretty confident that its publication will work itself out in time.)

Then I remembered the power of making tiny moves in the direction of something I care about, also called kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy. Erin, who is also a believer in the the tiny, productive steps mentality, encouraged me to think about how to make writing a book feel easier.

So I said “yes”. If I could break it into small parts, I could do this. Erin and I made a big list of essay topics that related to self-care: Self-care and oil, Self-care and feminism, Self-care and the sunrise, Self-care and kaizen, Self-care and racism…. (We ended up adding more along the way and now we have 30 Self-care and… titles)

I wrote almost all of these little essays on my iPhone while riding the red line from Brookland to downtown. This ride takes about 20 minutes and provided just enough time to get some messy thoughts down in an email to Erin. When I arrived at my stop, I’d hit “send” and forget about what I just typed out. This process took about six months. Slowly, without a lot of pressure, the self-care essays piled up.

After that came a lot of editing help from a few kind readers and some beautiful design and illustration from another dear friend, Maria Habib. Within this cleaning-up stage, these short essays took form as a truly collaborative project. We decided to call the book Selfcarefully and label it under the “selfhelpish” section of reading.

Today, I’m extremely excited to share the very first essay in Selfcarefully! It’s called Self-Care and Fucking it All Up. In it, I share how to use self-care in those moments when you feel like you’ve fucked up your self-care, again.

Read Self-Care and Fucking it All Up here

I hope this opening essay distinguishes our book as one that promises to never try to fix you (ugh, self-improvement), but rather one that will teach you to compassionately care for yourself through the inevitable ups and downs of authentic self-discovery.

If these self-loving, activated messages resonate with you, please consider contributing to our crowdfunding by preordering a book or just making a $5 donation because you believe in our message.

Preorder your copy of Selfcarefully here

Over the next month, I’m going to share four more of our illustrated essays from Selfcarefully. Speaking for all of us on the project, we hope these essays inspire more softness in the way you treat yourself. We hope they motivate you to show up more fully to serve others in our world. Mostly, we hope they help you continue to navigate the long journey home to yourself.

With care,
Gracy

My Latest Definition of Self-Care

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello lovelies! Exciting book news coming next week. In the meantime - in my ever-present search to define self-care - I wanted to share my latest definition. Today, self-care is a shift…

...from feeling like you’ll never get everything done to realizing you’re allowed to do just one thing at a time (and take breaks in the process).

...from the desire to go on restrictive diets (or other ways of clamping down on your compulsions) to the desire to eat in a normal, sane way while exploring the roots of your compulsions with tenderness and support.

...from feeling like practicing your self-care routines will make you a boring person to understanding that your routines are a gift you give to yourself.

...from saying that you’ll take care of yourself once your to-do list is done to caring for yourself whenever you feel sad, tired, lonely, or otherwise depleted.

...from living from a place of obligation (all those “shoulds” and “have tos”) to living from a place of opportunity (the “get tos” and “want tos”).

...from feeling overextended because you’re afraid of disappointing others to consistently saying the word “no” with love, and seeing how it brings relief to yourself and others.

...from frantically rushing around, wolfing down meals without tasting them and leaving the house like a tornado to mindfully moving through your life, savoring your food and getting calmly into your car each morning.

...from mercilessly beating yourself up over simple mistakes to giving yourself grace for being a human being who is doing the best she can.

...from seeing vulnerability as weakness to understanding real strength happens in the moments you can fall apart and allow yourself to be supported in the breakdown (or breakthrough!).

...from thinking you have to do everything yourself, beloved martyr you, to realizing that you can ask for help, collaborate and enjoy the process.

...from shutting down your creative desires as being unrealistic to exploring them slowly, steadily and with childish glee.

...from meeting your reflection in the mirror with judgment (“The pounds, wrinkles and problem features!”) to saying a real “thank you” to your body for steadfastly carrying you through this lifetime.

...from spending most of your energy trying to keep up an image of having it “together” to spending most of your energy caring for yourself and your loved ones, during your moments of togetherness and your moments of falling apart.

...from believing that voice that keeps whispering “you’re alone in this world” to seeing the myriad ways you get to connect to the people you’re with every day.

...from feeling lost in your own suffering to realizing you can be of service to others who are also suffering ( this service is what truly sets you free).

Wednesday Missive: My Latest Definition of Self-Care

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello Beautiful People,

I hope you had week full of care!  I spent my holiday weekend driving to and from Pittsburgh (Micah drove while I tried to entertain a toddler in the backseat), visiting family there (so lovely) and all three of us getting sick in the process (which was trying, to say the least).  I’m so grateful to have my self-care practices to help us all come back to health and regain our balance this week.

A few things today:

Sign up for the Women of Color Self-Care Roundtable this Saturday or forward it to your women of color friends in support of their self-care!

You’re going to love my newest podcast with revolutionary herbalist April Rameé! We talk about connecting with plants and how to be more authentically yourself while in community with others.

Starting next week, as a way to sustain ourselves through the “holidaze,” I’m sharing five free selections (with beautiful art by Maria Habib) from my upcoming book “Selfcarefully”!  We’re hoping you’ll get inspired to buy an early copy of the book as a gift that keeps giving.

And now today’s missive….

As I often find, the more I think about self-care the more confusing it can seem.  It’s like saying a familiar word over and over again until the syllables feel foreign in your mouth. And yet sometimes, taking some distance can be the best way to rebuild a lost intimacy or discover something new about an old, faithful lover.

Over the years, I’ve learned specific healing practices, studied overarching wellness frameworks and been melted by the most intimate of self-care testimonials.  Each of these has transformed my definition of self-care. And yet, they are incomplete when it comes to answering the ever-present question: “What is self-care?”  

Day by day, my definition of self-care changes and expands.  Sharing pieces with those who are interested feels like following the breadcrumbs as we move toward the larger truth of it all.

So, today’s piece: While walking Jonah to daycare, it occured to me that more than anything, self-care feels like a shift.  This was because that morning I had deeply felt the shift of self-care. I had woken up frantic that I wouldn’t get everything done today.  After a few deep breaths, I realized that I was allowed to dictate my own pace and that none of my productivity could prove or disprove my worth as a person.  

Ahh, such relief in that pivot!  With that, I wanted to share a few other examples of how to use self-care to create a shift in your own mentality and how this shift can bring connection and comfort to your sweet self.

Self-Care is a Shift

Self-care is a shift…

...from feeling like you’ll never get everything done to realizing you’re allowed to do just one thing at a time (and take breaks in the process).

...from the desire to go on restrictive diets (or other ways of clamping down on your compulsions) to the desire to eat in a normal, sane way while exploring the roots of your compulsions with tenderness and support.

...from feeling like practicing your self-care routines will make you a boring person to understanding that your routines are a gift you give to yourself.  

...from saying that you’ll take care of yourself once your to-do list is done to caring for yourself whenever you feel sad, tired, lonely, or otherwise depleted.

...from living from a place of obligation (all those “shoulds” and “have tos”) to living from a place of opportunity (the “get tos” and “want tos”).

...from feeling overextended because you’re afraid of disappointing others to consistently saying the word “no” with love, and seeing how it brings relief to yourself and others.

...from frantically rushing around, wolfing down meals without tasting them and leaving the house like a tornado to mindfully moving through your life, savoring your food and getting calmly into your car each morning.

...from mercilessly beating yourself up over simple mistakes to giving yourself grace for being a human being who is doing the best she can.

...from seeing vulnerability as weakness to understanding real strength happens in the moments you can fall apart and allow yourself to be supported in the breakdown (or breakthrough!).

...from thinking you have to do everything yourself, beloved martyr you, to realizing that you can ask for help, collaborate and enjoy the process.

...from shutting down your creative desires as being unrealistic to exploring them slowly, steadily and with childish glee.

...from meeting your reflection in the mirror with judgment (“The pounds, wrinkles and problem features!”) to saying a real “thank you” to your body for steadfastly carrying you through this lifetime.

...from spending most of your energy trying to keep up an image of having it “together” to spending most of your energy caring for yourself and your loved ones, during your moments of togetherness and your moments of falling apart.

...from believing that voice that keeps whispering “you’re alone in this world” to seeing the myriad ways you get to connect to the people you’re with every day.

...from feeling lost in your own suffering to realizing you can be of service to others who are also suffering ( this service is what truly sets you free).

***

Wishing you the miraculous energy that shifting to a place of self-care can bring!

With care,
Gracy

Learning to Be In Community with Revolutionary Herbalist April Rameé

During this self-care interview, revolutionary herbalist April Rameé shares why we feel so at home in nature and how to extend these same principles to being in community with people. We also discuss how to learn from and heal with plants, even when you are really busy and the world kinda feels like its falling apart. April's ideas are as revolutionarily uplifting as they are anciently wise. 

Leran more about April's work:

At her website 
On Facebook
On Instagram

A Few of My Favorite Self-Care Resources (including a great aluminum-free deodorant that works!)

 Woohoo!  The Beautiful Life Collective  just had our very first service day! We made over 100 sandwiches for  Martha’s Table , called over 60 donors for  Thrive DC , and had some great conversations in the process.

Woohoo! The Beautiful Life Collective just had our very first service day! We made over 100 sandwiches for Martha’s Table, called over 60 donors for Thrive DC, and had some great conversations in the process.

Hello Dears,

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I love this time of year. I love the food (so much pie!), spending time with loved ones and taking a conscious moment to be grateful for my life.

As always, I am SO grateful for you - yes, you! I couldn’t do this self-care work if people like you weren’t interested in the power of caring for themselves. Thank you for showing up and believing in a world where all people can take care of themselves.

In celebration of care, here are a few self-care resources that I’ve been loving lately (don’t you just love a recommendations list? They always makes me so happy!). As always, I don’t get any kind of kick-back for what I endorse. I just recommend what helps me!

  • I know we all have Thanksgiving cooking on the mind this week, but once you’re through the leftovers, try this recipe and this recipe (both easy and delicious) from 101 Cookbooks. Healthy, delicious food eaten on a scheduler is my favorite way derail total meltdown holiday eating.

What’s inspiring your self-care these days? I’d love to know!

One more thing! This Friday, I’ll be sharing a very important self-care resource being offered by two of my favorite people. Make sure to open my special edition newsletter to find out more!

With that, I wish you a holiday filled with joy and care…

XO,
Gracy

Problem-Solving, Self-Inquiry and Creative Living with Creative Expert Harper Marten

This episode features one of my oldest friends who also happens to be one of the most creative thinkers I know! Creativity expert Harper Marten has brought together her years of arts education with her path of spiritual self-inquiry to create a business of subscription creativity boxes that helps others connect and grow through fun, interactive art projects.  

During our time together, we spoke about why creativity is so dang important, why we need to practice it often (especially within the many problems in our world) and how the practice of self-inquiry fits into a creative lifestyle.  

As a special gift for Self Care with Gracy podcast listeners, Harper is offering a 25% discount on her creativity boxes through December 1st! Visit her website, click on "Shop" and to receive your discount, enter in coupon code: BeautifulLife

My Soul Searching

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Learn how I lost all my baby weight, met my soulmate and moved into the home of my dreams (and how you can too!).

Wait, a sec. Did that sentence just get your attention? If it were a link would you have clicked on it? I probably would have.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some challenging soul searching when it comes to the ways we market to each other, especially in the wellness/personal development industry. I feel like we are trying to sell each other a fantasy, one where we find the quick fix that solves all of our problems.

My critique of this kind of self-improvement thinking is being inspired by the very-important podcast called “The Dream.” “The Dream” exposes the corruption of multi-level marketing and the many people, usually financially struggling, this business structure exploits.

It’s made me think that we are all just trying to pass off a dream, the dream that we - as individuals and as a collective - are doing ok. It’s the dream that we could ever make the outside look perfect enough that we could end our inner loneliness.

(Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast I recorded with the incredible @richael_faithful_folk_healer where we break it down further - link in the comments).

Truly, the secret that has helped me feel like myself these days is compassionately dealing with my own trauma. As I face my own trauma, I have more capacity to look at how we are suffering as a world.

Particularly, I’ve begun to really understand my country’s practice white supremacy and systematic racism it brings. Learning the real history of whiteness and capitalism is disturbing to say the least. Examining the ways I participate in and benefit from these systems is even more disturbing.

Luckily, I have control over the latter and I’m dedicated to using my time, energy and resources to bring care to all. I can do this healing activism while taking excellent care of myself and helping everyone I meet to do the same. This is the dream I believe in most and want to keep spreading for the rest of my days.

What about you dear one? What far-off dreams of self-improvement are you ready to trade in for the workable self-care of today? How can this self-care not only help you heal as a individual, but show up for the larger healing that is happening in our society?

Because this big healing is happening! It’s painful, but it’s happening. Let’s be part of it. Let’s find a deeper care for all. We can do this.

Wednesday Missive: Learn how I lost all my baby weight, met my soulmate and moved into the home of my dreams (and how you can too!)

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello Friends,

Wait, a sec. Did my headline today get your attention? If it did, you’re not alone. I click on those links more often than I care to admit!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some challenging soul searching when it comes to the ways we market to each other, especially in the wellness/personal development industry. I feel like we are trying to sell each other a fantasy, one where we find the quick fix that solves all of our problems.

My critique of this kind of self-improvement thinking is being inspired by the very-important podcast called “The Dream.” “The Dream” exposes the corruption of multi-level marketing and the many people, usually financially struggling, this business structure exploits.

It’s made me think that we are all just trying to pass off a dream, the dream that we - as individuals and as a collective - are doing ok. It’s the dream that we could ever make the outside look perfect enough that we could end our inner loneliness.

(Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast I recorded with the incredible healing activist Richael Faithful where we break it down further).

Truly, the secret that has helped me feel like myself these days is compassionately dealing with my own trauma. This has been the self-care of letting go of numbing behavior and learning to feel my feelings. As I face my own trauma, I have more capacity to look at how we are suffering as a world.

Particularly, I’ve begun to really understand my country’s practice white supremacy and systematic racism it brings. Learning the real history of whiteness and capitalism is disturbing to say the least. Examining the ways I participate in and benefit from these systems is even more disturbing.

Luckily, I have control over the latter and I’m dedicated to using my time, energy and resources to bring care to all. I can do this healing activism while taking excellent care of myself and helping everyone I meet to do the same. This is the dream I believe in most and want to keep spreading for the rest of my days.

What about you dear one? What far-off dreams of self-improvement are you ready to trade in for the workable self-care of today? How can this self-care not only help you heal as a individual, but show up for the larger healing that is happening in our society?

Because this big healing is happening! It’s painful, but it’s happening. Let’s be part of it and healing in the process. Let’s find a deeper care for all. We can do this.

With care,
Gracy