Sometimes in life you just need a reset. Routine can take over and it may become more and more difficult to change the path you are on, a path that no longer feels like it has an end goal you are looking to reach. So how do you realign your goals and set out to be the best person you can be? Sometimes you may need a little bit of help. After all, change is not easy and support can go a long way.
I recently took a road trip from Vancouver to UBC’s Loon Lake Lodge which was the destination for Marpole Retreats, a wellness retreat company that chooses luxurious, remote settings in some of the most stunning landscapes in BC for their programming. The drive was only an hour from downtown Vancouver and the folks at Carter GMC were able to help me out by lending me their 2022 GMC Acadia, a beautiful, comfortable and fully equipped SUV that was perfect for the dirt roads and looked at home amongst the forest and lake of our destination.
Upon arriving at the destination, we met with Marpole Retreats founder Marie Fryman at one of the destination’s large wooden lodges. The 10+ room structure was rented by our group and had its own cafeteria with chef who prepared all the meals for us. The kitchen was accessible at all times providing coffee, teas, juices and water whenever you desired them. Our rooms were single occupancy but had as many as 3 beds in them. A cottage-like feel with views of the lake and surrounding forest were welcoming and comforting. After getting settled, we set up for dinner and to meet the rest of our group.
The 3-day retreat had several elements to it. The 2-part goal setting classes helped us discover our passions and goals while finding ways to achieve them. The nutrition course helped us better understand our food and how to improve our diets, the yoga classes helped us destress, get active and focus on both our body and mind and the art class was to help us discover our artistic side, and have a bit of fun!
The first night was very casual. We set up in our rooms, met for dinner and then had a campfire where we got to know the group a little better.
The site for this retreat was beautiful. If you ever have a chance to visit Loon Lake Lodge in Maple Ridge, it is a stunning location on a huge lake in the middle of a dense forest. The buildings are all wooden lodges with various amenities and sizes available. The prices are also very reasonable and one can choose price points both with or without meals included. There are canoes, kayaks, paddleboards available for rent, swimming docks to explore the lake from the water as well as a moving dock that you can pull across a section of the lake to access some of their trails that encircle it.
Our first morning at the retreat we started with breakfast, well I started with a jump in the lake to wakeup, but then we had breakfast. The meals were buffet style with lots of options. Fresh fruits and veggies as well as well balanced and healthy dishes. I mean, after all, we did have a nutritionist with us. After breakfast, we started our itinerary which included our goal setting, nutrition, yoga and art classes over the 2 remaining days.
Laura MacLeod is a mindset and alignment coach and a member of the Marpole Retreats team. She worked for years as an administrator at a fire department before a series of health scares pushed her to discover her purpose (something you may be born to do that uses ones unique gift). Laura felt that her unique gift was in life coaching, a role that would align her passions and hopefully provide her purpose.
Throughout the weekend’s coaching with Laura, we were asked to follow a similar work flow to help discover our passions and therefore our purpose, something we would need to define before setting goals to work towards. Once that current purpose was defined, it can change over time, we moved on to goal setting. Goal Setting required us to have a purpose and then make a commitment. The commitment lead us to the goal setting which started off with a series of smaller micro goals that slowly move you towards your larger goal. By breaking them down, we can make goals easier which moves the needle in the right direction while also providing a sense of completion and accomplishment.
Marpole Retreats doesn’t want you to continue the journey alone after the weekend is over. Through their Facebook Group and other means of following up with guests, the company follows your journey and provides assistance and encouragement along the way. Accountability can help in achieving your goals.
Ewa Ostapczuk is a Registered Dietician and another member of the Marpole Retreats team. Throughout the weekend, we had classes with her to learn all about food, how to identify a healthy diet, the reasons we should eat more healthily, and how we can do so. These lessons went over things like the science of foods, skin health, sustainability, different diets, such as vegetarian, and helped us identify nutrition missing in our own diets.
Once we learned about all the food groups, why we need them and how certain foods react in our body, it was time to move onto our own diets. We each made lists of what we ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and for snacks and then, either in a group or in a chat with Ewa, we worked on ways of improving our meals and overall diets.
There was no shaming or talk of “bad foods” here. The entire industry has apparently been moving away from the labelling of food as healthy, good or bad. With Ewa, food is just food and one can find ways of making improvements where it makes sense and isn’t a huge undertaking. No one wants to get rid of their favourite foods, maybe just adding different foods can be enough.
Caitlin Claire was our Yoga teacher over our weekend. The Yoga is taught by different people at Marpole Retreats depending on where the location of the retreat is. Caitlin is from the Shuswap Lake area so we were lucky to have her at ours since she had to make the trip down to Maple Ridge. The location for classes was outside of our lodge overlooking the lake and surrounding trees. We were provided with yoga mats and a handy carrying bag for them, but bring your own if you feel more comfortable with the one you have. The class was somewhat difficult but options are given for easier positions or moves for those not wanting to over exert themselves.
Our art class was taught by Jennilee of Kamloops Art Party and was a change from the goal setting and nutrition. We were all given a canvas and a small printout with an image on it. Our teacher walked us through mixing paints, using different brushes and utilizing various techniques to best match the printout we were given. Those who have been thinking about getting into painting for personal accomplishment or as a part of your passions will have a lot of fun with this one, and maybe some new life paths to explore.
After our last classes and our itinerary was complete, the group said its goodbyes and we all had to return to our lives. The new information we received over the weekend provided us with some new tools to enact changes in our lives. The strategies, the education, and the coaching gave us all a clearer path forward toward our goals. The weekend was both a push for change as well as a chance to relax. The structure was not too rigid or densely packed. We had the time to think about what we learned and to explore the beautiful surroundings we were staying in.
If you are looking for a friendly, well planned wellness retreat in BC, then Marpole Retreats is welcoming your stay. They already have several other retreats planned over the next several months so be sure to check out their website for more information.