Retreat Grieving: Shadows & Sunlight hosted by Georgia A. Greeley, Visual Artist and Author | Lisa M. Bolt Simons, Author | Joleen Emery, Artist and Yoga Instructor October 7-10, 2021

Imagine a Weekend Away in a Serene Setting...

“Well, everyone can master a grief but he that has it,” wrote Shakespeare. As those we love succumb to illness or accident, we lose part of ourselves. It’s not about mastering grief, then, as much as it is about taking the steps into exploring its complexity, finding connections with others who have loved and lost, and speaking about the pain. By making a blank grief journal to write not only about others who are grieving, but mostly about our own grief journeys, we will create a safe space to mourn but also celebrate loved ones.

All are Welcome…

Anyone who has suffered loss and wants to write (and draw) about it, who wants to read and hear about grief, and who wants to find connections with others who are grieving are welcome to participate in this retreat. With two instructors as guides, you will be given time to work in groups and in solitude. You will bring a handmade journal home from the weekend, a symbolic work that you can continue using in your days of shadow and sunlight.

 

Lisa and Georgia are writers, artists, and human beings who have experienced loss. They are not counselors, therapists, or experts in the field of grief or counseling. They have used creative writing and visual art to figure out their lives and want to share their process with others. Joleen Emery, owner of Big Raven Farm, will be available throughout the retreat and will be leading all optional yoga sessions. Joleen has her MS in Counseling and is an experienced yoga teacher (E-RYT 500) with extensive study in Healing with Trauma Informed Yoga.

What’s Included

  • Supplies to create your Grief Journal
  • All Meals, Afternoon Snacks & Beverages
  • All instruction and programming
  • All optional yoga classes

 

Supplies We Share

  • Adhesives
  • Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Collage papers
  • Stamps & Stamp making materials
  • Rulers
  • Self-healing mats
  • Craft Knives
  • Pencils, Pens, Markers
  • Baby wipes, paper towels, general use cleaning supplies
Joleen EmeryJoleen Emery

What You Need to Bring

  • No art/journaling/writing supplies are necessary
  • or
  • Your favorite artsy tools — pens, paints, papers, etc.
  • (You don’t have to bring anything but you sure can!)
  • plus
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Farm shoes
  • Nature trail shoes
  • Personal items
  • Sweatshirt for cool farm evenings…
  • A photo of the loved one(s) you're grieving (You'll also be able to share digitally with Lisa closer to the retreat)
  • A laptop, if that's how you prefer to compose
Georgia A. Greeley
Lisa M. Bolt Simons

Tentative Schedule

Thursday : October 7

Arrival & Evening Programming

Pizza farm! Big Raven Farm will provide a welcoming farm-to-table buffet starting at 7:00 PM. Afterwards, we’ll gather in the studio and introduce ourselves. We’ll share why we’re grieving/the person or people we’re grieving. You’ll meet Georgia and Lisa and the Big Raven Farm owners, Joleen and Darin.

Friday : October 8

Morning

After breakfast, we’ll start the day by making a blank grief journal.

Afternoon

After lunch, we’ll gather to read and write responses to readings and podcasts about loss and grief, focusing on both the readings/podcasts and our own experiences. Then join Joleen for a yoga class or Lisa and Georgia for a 2.2-mile hike around Big Raven Farm.

Evening

We’ll give a short presentation on the concept of a calendar of days. The rest of the time will be open studio and/or writing time.

Saturday : October 9

Morning

After breakfast, we’ll gather to read and write responses to the readings about loss and grief, focusing on both the readings and our own experiences. Then join Joleen for a yoga class or Lisa and Georgia for a 2.2-mile hike around Big Raven Farm.

Afternoon

After lunch, we’ll gather to read and write responses to the readings about loss and grief, focusing on both the readings and our own experiences.

Evening

Open studio and/or writing time. Georgia and Lisa will be available for questions or for guidance.

Optional candlelight yoga before bed.

Sunday : October 10

Morning

Journal work time, mock up of calendars of days and goodbye.

Accommodations

This event will take place at beautiful Big Raven Farm a 10-acre retreat center in the heart of the Driftless region, where Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa meet.

Featuring 6 guest rooms that sleep 14+, a 1200 square foot event center and studio, an 800 square foot dining hall that seats 60, a commercial kitchen, and a 2-mile walking trail, Big Raven Farm is conveniently located only 2-1/2 hours from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Madison, and Dubuque.

Room selection is on a first-come, first-served basis. Rooms are double occupany, with the exception of one quad.

  • Premiere Suite with Private Bath (Black) 10/7
    Premiere Suite with Private Bath (Black) 10/7

    Our premiere guest suite, this double-occupancy room on the second floor features two twin XL (extra-long) beds (optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed), leather sofa, and private marble bath with tub and shower. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $572
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Shared Suite with Private Bath (Pink) 10/7
    Shared Suite with Private Bath (Pink) 10/7

    This double-occupancy room on the second floor is part of a 2-room suite that features a private bath with a shower. This room is attached to the bath; the second room will have access to this bath through this room. Both rooms feature two twin XL (extra-long) beds in each room, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots), and will be expected to share the bath with guests in the adjoining room; if you and a friend intend to share this room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $552
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Shared Suite with Shared Bath (Gray)10/7
    Shared Suite with Shared Bath (Gray)10/7

    This double-occupancy room on the second floor is part of a 2-room suite featuring a private bath with shower shared by both rooms. Access to the bath is through the other room, but a second shared bath is accessible from the hallway. Both rooms feature two twin XL (extra-long) beds in each room, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $532
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Shared Room with Shared Bath (Blue) 10/7
    Shared Room with Shared Bath (Blue) 10/7

    This double-occupancy private room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features amazing lighting and incredible south-facing vistas of the surrounding countryside. This room features two twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $512
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Shared Room with Shared Bath (Cobalt) 10/7
    Shared Room with Shared Bath (Cobalt) 10/7

    This double-occupancy private room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features tree-top views of the surrounding woods and fields. This room features two twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to a single king-sized bed. Please note that you will be sharing this room with another retreat guest (unless you book both spots); if you and a friend intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $512
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:2
  • Top Floor Quad 10/7
    Top Floor Quad 10/7

    This quadruple-occupancy room on the top floor shares a bath with all top-floor rooms. It features tree-top views of the surrounding woods and fields. This room features four twin XL (extra-long) beds, optionally convertible to single king-sized beds. Please note that you will be sharing this room with 3 other retreat guests; if you and a friend (or friends) intend to share the room, please be sure to coordinate your purchases.

    $492
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:4
  • Everything But the Bed 10/7
    Everything But the Bed 10/7

    This 4-day pass entitles you to everything but overnight accommodations — supplies, classes, programming, yoga, and meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Great for those who live near Big Raven Farm or those who plan to find accommodations on their own!

    $367
    (Programming,
    room & board )
    Spots Remaining:5

FAQs

  • What if I'm not an actual writer or artist?
    This weekend retreat is for anyone who is working through grief and loss. There will be no technical requirements or activities—this is a journey of exploration and discovery. We promise—there are no judges of your work or process—this is all incredibly personal.
  • What kind of meals do you serve?
    All of the meals and snacks are made in our Commercial Kitchen at Big Raven Farm. Both Darin and Joleen hold culinary certifications: Darin has trained with Danielle Kattan in Asian Cuisine and Joleen has earned a Baking Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America—Hyde Park, New York. To give you more detail of what you can expect here is a recent menu from a weekend retreat: We don't serve soda but we do make sure that water, coffee, iced tea and Arnold Palmers are available all day long. (Breakfast) Baked French Toast with Strawberries, Blueberries & Oatmeal Crumble, Homemade Granola with Greek Yogurt, Assorted Fruit, and Orange Juice (Lunch) Tart Cherry Chili served with Mixed Green Salad, Cornbread Muffins, and Apple Slices (Dinner) Green Goddess Protein Bowls served with Rotisserie Chicken, Edamame, Rice, Spring Onions, and Crunchy Corn Strings (Snacks) Homemade Date Bars, Fresh Fruit, Assorted Nuts, & Arnold Palmers. You will have a happy belly—the food is nummy!
  • Can I use your kitchen to prepare my own meals?
    You can store items in our fridge but no, you cannot wield knives or fire up the stove. We have a guest pantry with microwave just off the kitchen that is stocked with snacks and a full cookie jar—please help yourself. Joleen's most requested and loved Gingersnaps are usually found lurking in there.
  • What if I need special meals?
    There will be a follow up email sent to you that contains driving directions and details about retreat logistics. If you need Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten Free options reply to that email and let us know. If you have menu requirements different from what is posted here—just talk to Joleen—she's nice and loves to help.
  • Can we talk about your coffee?
    This is a great question—in fact, a really important question—in our Commercial grade coffee maker we brew and serve locally sourced and roasted coffee, this tasty option IS included with your registration. We also serve espresso and lattes—these options are NOT included with your registration. Our fancy coffee bar beverages have an additional fee—but you can run a tab and we will settle up at the end of your weekend.
  • Can you tell me more about Big Raven Farm?
    Big Raven Farm is a functioning Bed & Breakfast with a Retreat Center, Yoga Studio, Print Shop, Gift Shop, Nature Trail, Summer House and outbuildings. It is owned and operated by Joleen Emery & Darin Warling, together with and 2 of their 4 kids (Georgie & Charlie) they live on the property and manage their businesses.
  • Does the Farm have common spaces—places to hang out besides guest bedrooms?
    Absolutely!! We have a beautiful Great Room with couches and chairs, a dining veranda with tables & chairs, patios off the front of the house, and a huge wrap around porch with incredible views connected to the yoga studio. There are lots and lots of places to settle in and enjoy the serenity of the farm.
  • Do you serve alcohol?
    Nope—we are a coffee, tea, lemonade, iced tea, Arnold Palmer kinda joint.
  • Can I bring my pet?
    Our home belongs to the pets we already have... chickens, cats, kittens, and our beloved family dog, Auggie.
  • Wait, is this your family home?
    Yes! We have our own personal bedrooms and living spaces, you can't shake us—we are ALWAYS here!.
  • Are there TVs in the rooms?
    No, but we have excellent wi-fi if you want to stream to your electronic devices.
  • What’s your refund policy?
    I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we cannot refund reservations. If you’ve reserved a spot, it has prevented someone else from registering. However, you are more than welcome to find someone else to take over your spot prior to the retreat!
  • What is your COVID-19 Policy & Protocol?
    Everyone who lives and works at Big Raven Farm is vaccinated. Given that retreats occur largely indoors, bedrooms are double occupancy, and that we enjoy family-style dining, we require our guests to be vaccinated for the safety of all participants and staff. To do our part we follow the Minnesota State COVID-19 cleanliness guidelines for Inns and Hotels.