Habits are just intentions until we put them into action.


That’s what I learned this past weekend when I spent 24 hours falling in love with my habits with The Habit at Cardinal Creek Retreat.

As soon as Carly shared with the tribe that she was interested in a retreat, I waved my hand and told her I was in. 100% committed! I had always wanted to do something like a retreat but never thought I would be able to afford something like that. But Carly just wants to love on her community; The Habit retreat was offered at cost for her tribe members.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to get away and connect with some other women. But, mostly I just wanted to get away from my real life for a day.

Little did I know, this 24 hours would be a big step in my self-care habits.

I’m currently in week 6 of The Habit’s “The Habits of the Real You” program. That means I have 6 very small, yet very important habits that I am actively working to make my default. Some days I knock it out of the park and all 6 habits are done. Other days I fall back on old comforts and barely scrape by. It’s far too obvious to me now what I’m doing to make things better v.s worse in my life, but old habits die hard.

So, I felt like I needed a small reset. A place where I could focus on the habits and show myself how easy they are to do. I needed this place to remind me that I am simply making these habits hard by not doing them. Carly’s 24hr self-care retreat was exactly that. Living the habits, away from all the other ‘stuff’ that life brings. It might sound like work, but as I’m learning them, I’m understanding that the habits aren’t “more effort”. They’re actually “less effort”. They make things easier, not harder. They’re Relief.

So, there I found myself, at noon on a Saturday, walking in the front door of the stunning Cardinal Creek Retreat Centre with my heart and soul wide open. Ready to relax, and receive.

Saturday afternoon was incredibly touching. We sat outside while the sun showed herself and heated up the table. It felt so nice having the sun’s heat on my skin. It brought me in touch with myself, ready for the deep work to come.

As we enjoyed a delicious and hearty lunch we were introduced to one another, and given an opportunity to reflect on what it’s time to let go of. Old thought patterns. Outdated beliefs. Things that I thought kept me safe and comforted, but actually just keep me stuck. This is the work we do in the tribe and it’s so freeing. Afterward we gathered for a walk in the woods. One of my favorite things to do when I need to find myself.

I’ve always been an outdoor human. I grew up camping and running too fast over the rocks in my bare feet. I grew up flipping rocks with my big brother looking for pet salamanders. I’ve always escaped to the forest when I needed to hear myself think.

As the owner of the retreat center guided us through the forest on the property, Carly had us take off our shoes and walk barefoot. The grounding experience was so fulfilling! Having your toes touch the earth and feel the condensation is something you can’t even fully explain in words. You can feel the earth’s vibrations run through you and stay in you. The earth was filling me up.

When we came back, we created art. We took sticks we found on the forest floor and we created art to hang in our homes, as a reminder of why we’re creating habits to support the change we want to make in this life. Crafting with intention allowed me to create something that will forever serve as a reminder, unlike the inspirational posts you see while scrolling on Instagram, which disappear from memory minutes later.

The evening was full of inspirational, grounding and fun activities including an after supper dance party, creating custom essential oil blends and massaging ourselves, sipping delicious Ayurvedic tea blends, some easy and relaxing moon salutations, receiving a professional massage (included in our stay!), and conscious journaling and gratitude practices. There were so many moments where I was shown how very easy it can be to implement healthy habits.

But, my biggest lesson of the weekend came near the end of the night.

To give a little context, I’ve always been a quiet person. I’ve been called shy and an introvert all my life. And while shyness is indeed part of me, I also just like to listen. I notice how some people just seem to be waiting for their turn to talk, rather than being able to deeply listen. If I have that quality, which I believe I do, I want to cherish it forever.

As uncomfortable or draining as groups have made me feel, I’ve always pushed myself to interact. But here, in the evening, as many were sipping tea and chatting post yoga, I heard my body’s request that I just needed to step away. I took my journal and I went and sat on the couch. I wrote on my piece of paper how I crave stillness and silence. How often times everything gets simply too loud for my mind to handle it. My body asked for silence and I honored it.

At that moment, another tribe member came and sat down with me. We sat in silence for a few moments both just writing. Like we both just knew what was needed. She doesn’t know it yet, but I was mostly looking forward to this weekend because I was so excited to meet her in person. I love hearing her stories on our Habit calls and I knew she would have so many stories, and teachings to share.

I leaned in to those teachings, and coming back home I look up to Jody in a way I couldn’t before I met her in person. The kind, sweet, gentle life that soars out of herself is something I truly admire. She is working diligently and putting in an effort to find out who she is and working on bettering herself for her. Wow. I am honored to share space with the women in this tribe, who continue to inspire me with their own self-care journeys. And I am honored to say that I am listening to my body, and focused on my self-care too.

I think we all need to get away sometimes. To feel the sun on our faces, to feel mother earth vibrating through us, to sit in silence with ourselves, and to connect to other women who are on the same journey of radical self-care. Not only did this retreat give me these gifts, it also showed me when I consciously practice implementing the habits Carly has taught us, it’s not only possible, it’s simple. All I’m left wondering is when the next one will be!


Self LoveCarly BanksComment