synergy / JOSHUA TREE

"Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts."

-Ray French, Charlotte Rayner, Gary Rees, Sally Rumbles, et al. Organizational Behaviour (2008)

THIS FOUR-DAY RETREAT SENDS YOU ON AN EXPLORATION OF THE DRAMATIC WIDE-OPEN SPACES OF JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK WHERE WE WILL CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER, ENGAGE OUR SENSES AND FOCUS ON SELF-REFLECTION. YOU'LL LEAVE REFRESHED AND REVITALIZED FOR YOUR RETURN HOME, PREPARED TO CONQUER A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE AND CONTINUE THE JOURNEY TOWARDS BEING YOUR MOST AUTHENTIC SELF.

This Halloween, rather than put on a costume, shed layers in the desert! Join Elena of Stand Tall Art and Lindsey of Origins of Food  for this femme-centered weekend disconnecting from the minutiae of the everyday. We'll focus on deep introspection, reflection and a reconnection to nature as well as each other. We will introduce you to breathing techniques, various methods of meditation, gentle yoga flow that can be done at home, art medicine and sound bathing. Nature walks, star gazing, locally sourced plant-based meals and fire pits will reconnect us to nature's alchemist magic. 

 

No previous experience in meditation or yoga necessary; open to anyone who identifies with the feminine energy.

Joshua Tree National Park is an exceptional area of surreal natural beauty surrounded by an eccentric collection of alternative communities, off-grid living, sustainable businesses and wild history.  It is the spiritual and ancestral home to the Serrano, Cahuilla, and Chemehuevi peoples.
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Registration is now open and will close September 23, 2019. A deposit of $500 will secure your spot. All applications and deposits need to be received by September 23, 2019 and final payment needs to be received by October 1, 2019. Please register through the "Book Your Tour" link found at the top of the page.
A minimum of six people is needed for this retreat to run, and a maximum of twelve people will be accepted. Any deposits made will be fully refundable if the minimum is not met.
Accommodation will be at the Happy Dome Resort

Dates

October 31 - November 3, 2019

Activities

Nature Walk, Sound Healing, Yoga, Art Medicine, Star Gazing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Women's Circle, Slow Food Cooking

Price

$1,195 USD

Price includes 3 nights’ accommodation (shared occupancy in a geodesic dome or 3 air conditioned trailers styled by local muralists), all meals beginning with dinner Thursday night through breakfast Sunday (except Saturday night's dinner out), all activities listed & transportation to/from L.A. or San Diego and around Joshua Tree. Meals will be plant-based, using ingredients sourced as locally as possible. Vegan meals upon request. Saturday evening's dinner will have meat & plant-based options.

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synergy / Joshua Tree Itinerary

Connect and Engage

Day 1: Thursday, October 31

We begin our journey in Los Angeles at 12pm PST. We’ll pick you up at LAX airport, or another central location in Los Angeles or San Diego at 1pm PST, and drive the 3 hours to our private bohemian getaway, The Happy Dome, in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Our first night will be chilled out, focused on breaking the ice and settling into our new surroundings. After a home-cooked dinner and an introduction to meditation and breathing techniques, we'll gather around the fire and hold space for a woman's circle, an intimate gathering where we come together and use our voices to be heard and be seen while forming deeper connections with each other. Afterwards, we can stargaze deep into the Milky Way while decompressing in the hot tub or lounging in the pool and hammocks.

Photo Credit: Integraton TM

Expanding Perspectives

Day 2: Friday, November 1

We’ll start the day with a gentle yoga session to stretch out the travel stiffness, followed by a nourishing breakfast and freshly-made juices. We'll then head to the world-renowned Integratron for an unforgettable sound experience for deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and introspection. After the sound bath, we’ll drive back to the Happy Dome for a grounding farm to table meal. We’ll spend our afternoon full of self-expression, shedding our inhibitions and getting in touch with the creative forces within during a private art medicine class. In this workshop we will release our feelings onto the canvas in a primal, abstract-expressionistic fashion, focusing on letting go of something that is no longer serving us and turning it into something we wish to manifest into our lives. Dinner will be home-cooked and celebrated around the fire-pit and under the bright desert night stars.

Kiss the Ground

Day 3: Saturday, November 2

We will start the day before dawn to watch the sun rise over the area's immense landscape and unique desert vegetation. We'll wrap ourselves in warm blankets and set our intentions before feasting on breakfast with warming drinks. We’ll head to Joshua Tree National Park for a guided nature walk, exploring the flora, fauna and striking rock formations. We will picnic on the trail and connect fingers and feet to earth before enjoying a silent meditation in the vastness of the park, taking time to listen to our inner selves and disconnecting from external distractions. We will head home for some down time and showers before reveling in a classic BBQ dinner at the world-famous Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a local hotspot known for its organic meats and fish cooked to order on an outdoor grill with mesquite wood.

Exploring Rituals and Routines

Day 4: Sunday, November 3

Our final day begins holistically with a gentle yoga class and sound healing bath to align our minds and bodies, preparing us for our journeys home. After the morning session we'll have one last nutritious breakfast made with fresh, local ingredients and a final group reflection before we depart for our hometowns. We'll discuss how you can bring what you learned home with you and integrate some of these new rituals into your daily routine. If you'll be flying home, we ask that you do not book flights that depart before 4pm PST.

Your Guides for the Weekend

Friends since high school in South Florida, Lindsey and Elena grew apart after their college years but reconnected through personal connections with trauma in 2013, nearly a decade later. Since then, they have found themselves on a similar path of healing through nature and "alternative" lifestyles, enjoying the roller coaster thrill of living outside the box and finding balance in an often chaotic world using various mindfulness techniques and good old-fashioned hope and resilience.

Lindsey Berk

Lindsey is excited to collaborate with childhood friend Elena on their first women's-focused retreat in Joshua Tree. From spending seven years in fast-paced, New York City and Washington, D.C. corporate offices to her current slowed down lifestyle in small-town Vermont, she understands the need to reconnect with the natural cycles of life and tap into our often ignored intuition. Long gone are the days of living according to the rules society deems normal, but instead letting life unfold in an unhurried, winding, yet intentional path. 

 

Lindsey has learned balance through giving it all up and slowly building in only what gives joy and gives back, always with an eye towards ethics. She went backpacking for what was supposed to be five months in Argentina in January 2011 and after interning on a winery in Mendoza, project managing an NGO in Peru, WWOOfing in Australia and New Zealand, working for a coffee cooperative in Guatemala and leading volunteer backpacking trips for a Canadian NGO, she resisted returning to her city roots.

 

She brings seven years of international group facilitation experience and more than twice that in her personal yoga practice to the Synergy at Joshua Tree program. She is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher, local food advocate and believer in the healing energies of simply being present, preferably in nature.

After nearly eight years of international and domestic travel, Lindsey is stoked to be settled into her and her partner's new home in Vermont, where they've quickly adopted two cats and gotten back into snowboarding and hiking the Green Mountains.

Elena Sabo

Elena is a colorful artist, workshop facilitator and mental health advocate who is passionate about removing the stigma of mental health. Elena’s road to finding her truth and purpose has been a long, windy one which ultimately led her back to her true loves: art, nature and connecting with people on a deep level. Since a young age, Elena showed signs that she was experiencing depression and anxiety. Through her adolescence, Elena struggled to find support and had difficulty trying to find helpful treatment and meet life’s demands all on her own. The neglect of self-care and lack of support led her to a catastrophic car crash which landed her in the hospital for three months. During this time, she had 7 surgeries to re-attach her left foot through a experimental surgery in which she was told it MAY be a year before she could walk. The outpouring of support, love and belief in that she overcome the injuries sparked a strong desire for her to bounce back better than before. She wrote in her journal, “If I start walking again and become better than before – you MUST share your story.”


Since her accident, Elena has thrown herself into trying healing modalities and self-improvement
focused workshops. She started playing with paint as a stress-release to counter her office job in her free time. As she describes it, “I was throwing my feelings on the canvas.” Teaching herself how to create freely led way to a collection of Cactus paintings, and in just a little over 2.5 years, she has sold over 50 creations. Seeing the success in herself, she decided to share this technique with others, ultimately launching her workshop “Art Medicine.”

 

Elena received her certificate in Peer Support in 2018 in which she was trained on how to listen, encourage and empower those struggling with a mental condition. She’s an avid backpacker, hiker, yogi and cyclist and has done ALL of the above in Joshua Tree. She is so excited to share this special spot with you!

"I have learned more than I could ever learn in a lecture hall."

- Katie F., Oregon