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17th Wellness Retreat Recap!

Posted Monday October 17, 2016 by Debra Hughes

17th Wellness Retreat Recap!
Wellness Retreat number 17!!
I cannot believe that we just finished up our 17th Wellness Retreat!!  360 cancer patients and survivors to date have experienced our incredible weekends, all free of charge, thanks to our amazing volunteers and our fundraising efforts!  2017 Wellness Retreat dates coming out soon and look for something new that we will be rolling out….I will keep you in suspense, you will have to check our website and LIKE us on Facebook for what we have in store!:)

As always, we started the morning with our guests sharing a bit of their journey, my favorite part of the day by far.  It still amazes me how incredible the human spirit is when faced with adversity, to say our group was inspiring would be an understatement.  To hear what they have experienced shows us what true strength is all about.  

Once we finished up breakfast and our go around we went right into an incredible dance/movement/empowerment session with the AMAZING Penni Niles!  Wow, what an a great class!  What can beat exercising while affirming positive statements!  “I AM STRONGER THAN I SEEM!” “I AM BRAVER THAN I THINK!” I AM BLESSED IN ALL I NEED!”…these girls are all of that and more! 

Time to cool down a tad and sit to take in Dr. Siobhan Hanlon’s presentation.  Always a lot to learn when in her audience!  The focus was on how to help yourself heal while best handling our environmental toxins, food sources, and other stresses that plague us.  Dr. Siobhan ended her talk with stating the importance of visualization and guided imagery for optimal healing.  That last statement became the bridge to our next presenter, Pramilla Venkatesaran, who guided our guests on a remarkable journey of self discovery through a writing workshop.  Pricilla’s emphasis  was on how your mind, thoughts, and words (both written and spoken) shape your experiences in this lifetime.  As she pointed out, be careful of what you say, write, speak, or think,  it may very well come to life!  To quote Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right”, I think you know where to go with this one!  

Moving right along to yoga, taught by the awesome Gina Califano!  So nice to get out of the chairs and our minds to move our body while surrounded by the refreshing aroma of essential oils diffusing in the room….ahhhhhhhh, so very powerful and relaxing at the same time!  Now it is time for our FAMOUS REIKI  and SOUND HEALING CIRCLE!  Rosemary Maguinness somehow outdoes herself every single retreat, she ceases to amaze me, seriously, incredible…..  We are so grateful for all of the reiki practitioners who spent their Saturday afternoon volunteering at SFL’s Wellness Retreat and for Donna Nesteruk for bringing out all of her crystal bowls, gongs and sound healing tools.  So very powerful for all involved, first time  for some and a life changing moment for all.  The stories shared into the night about their experiences during the circle was inspiring to say the least.  Time for a little dinner and a presentation with Certified Feng Shui Consultant Laura Cerrano, owner of Feng Shui Manhattan, who educated us on the Ba-gua map, symbolism, and tradition.  We wrote on paper what we wanted to let go and then burned it in epsom salt to release the anger and negative energy and then did an exchange by writing down our positive intentions and holding a red envelope ceremony.  We all learned that placing 9 (an auspicious number) oranges in the kitchen or dining area is considered a sign of abundance and good health and that when you find feathers in your path it means spirit is saying “hello” (Jacqui, that one is for you!).  Always a wealth of information and so enjoyable to be with Laura!

Laura Cerrano performing the cleansing ceremony

Time to kick back, relax, and reflect on all that we experienced during the day.  Some stayed up a wee late to “play” with Angel Card’s and receive tuning fork vibrational sound healing by Lisa LoBosco.  What a treat to have her here sharing her wisdom and knowledge with us!  

Sunday allowed us to chat, share more, connect, and recap….another successful Retreat complete!  


Special thank you to all our volunteers who help make this day happen and to our amazing guests who allowed themselves to take the time from their busy lives to give themselves the self-love and care that they so deserve.  All of us at Strength for Life are blessed to have met you….thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey!  

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