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  • Writer's picturecarolinemarshcoach

Chrysalis Retreats Newsletter October 2023

Hello from Caroline and Rachel at Chrysalis Retreats!

Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter. In this we bring you our personal perspectives and ponder on what autumn is presenting for us. We have a theme of rest as a key element of wellbeing with some questions to get you thinking about what autumn means for you, and how you can shift your mindset to appreciate all this glorious season has to offer.

Hope you enjoy the read!


Let’s think about what the season brings and the possibilities for taking our personal retreat during this gorgeous time of year.

As we began this newsletter, we were just past the autumn equinox, when nights become longer than days. We welcome the shift that we see and feel that this change in nature brings. There is still warmth and energy during the day, with vibrant colours emerging, yet it is becoming cooler as the evening starts earlier, drawing us back inside into cosy twilight.

At this time of year, plants draw in vital life-force to their roots to protect them from winter harshness. As the nights get longer and darker, we too retreat into ourselves and our homes to rest, reflect and strengthen our spirits.

Autumn is a time to let go of the froth and freedom of summer, and welcome the deeper, calmer energy through this period of seasonal transition. It is an opportunity to pay attention to the ways we find rest and our own retreat - perhaps an earlier night to bed as our body’s circadian rhythms change, taking a walk in the woods where the leaves are already rustling as they start to fall, adjusting our routine to give ourselves regular breaks, start a new book that takes us away from our everyday life, or taking time to think and reflect on what is fruitful in our lives, and what we can let go of.


Our own perspectives

Reflections from Caroline

I do find that autumn brings an energy shift and it is a great time to focus and rebalance. For me, autumn recalls that back to school feeling - in a good way! I start to seek new learning and have greater resolve to see things through after a relaxed and easy going summer. I like the return to routine, or the start of a new one. My challenge is to channel my enthusiasm without getting frantic, remembering to find ease and pace myself, and take enough rest. Usually I am able to help myself by remembering to do things one at a time - so one book at a time, one sewing project at a time or putting time boundaries around activities, so 30 minutes french practice every other day is good. My coaching practice is part time, so I like to be clear about my working time and reset this now to reflect my priorities for the next few months. It is also good for me not to over plan, and allow time to nurture my own wellbeing, to just be, rather than do. Rachel has more to say on that below. For me, I find that reaffirming my commitment to meditation and yoga has been important to reinforce this. Continuing to delight in nature and observe the changes is so very calming. Here is a picture from one of my favourite places, looking up to Middleham in the Yorkshire Dales from a riverside walk last weekend. It’s early autumn so still lots of green, but the afternoon light is drawing in and there is a whiff of woodsmoke that tells me the season is changing.

I also went to a fabulous local Apple Day in a local village - apples are a true celebration of the harvest of autumn - there is a heritage orchard where I picked some interesting and unusual apples, and lots of apple related food to sample with a recipe book for further inspiration. Entertainment was by our local Morris Dancers and I was even persuaded to join in and shake a rattle for the last dance! No pictures of that, but here are some apples from the day - aren’t they beautiful?

Reflections from Rachel

As autumn began hinting at its arrival and the 'back to school' buzz of a busy season grew near, I felt that creating more space for Rest was essential to my wellbeing and creativity. I've been reading Do Pause: You are Not a To Do List by Robert Poynton and it really got me thinking about how I spent my rest time and how frequently I paused my thinking and doing to create space and true rest. I decided to rename September "Restember" and set myself some simple intentions with the aim of creating more opportunities to pause and rest my mind and body. Here are a few of them;

1. To schedule rest breaks during my day, vary how I spend them and limit multi tasking; eg sit outside, read or do some Japanese on Duolingo, cook/eat, take a walk, stretch, meditate etc. planning my daily rest activities prevented me from getting distracted or doing things that appeared in front of me.

2. Go for a walk each day without my phone. Ideas flow when I walk and I often feel the need to capture these ideas and thoughts on my phone however this can interrupt my flow and distract my thinking. This has been really interesting and refreshing and I now spend a few minutes reflecting on my walk and jotting down the key things that come home with me. I was afraid of missing something but the real gems stay with me and blossom.

3. Television amnesty. I enjoy TV and film but it had become too present in my evenings when I had little energy left. Without TV I spent more time reading and taking evening walks. I spoke on the phone with friends, experimented with cooking, and spent more quality time with my partner. Early in to RESTember we had dates confirmed of our move up to the North East. Keeping things intentionally slow and free created space for planning and thinking at a steady pace.

"Ease creates, urgency destroys" Nancy Kline. This quote is never far from my mind. We have since moved house and decided to go without a TV and design our space with creativity and rest in mind. The move. At the time of writing we've been in our new place for 5 days and we're in love with the house, the countryside and our neighbours! Relocating to Newcastle from Manchester with a 1 year old was a challenge but waking up here each morning is beautiful. The book Do Pause, You are not a to do list, has been very helpful to have in mind, even just the title as I could easily get carried away in a list of to do's right now! We've moved from the city centre to a rural village and the sights and sounds are inspiring and peaceful. Autumn colours and a chilly wind letting us know the season is officially here. Here are some pictures from our new home :-)


A Good Read (is good for the soul)

We often suggest some reading for inspiration and this quote sums up our thinking on this.

"Books hold most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had. And when you are reading a book, you and the author are alone together—just the two of you. A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book."

Author EB White on the power of books: Source: Letters to the Children of Troy

Caroline suggests

I have been reading How to listen by Oscar Trimboli. Amazon describes this as “The definitive book on how to actually improve your listening, How to Listen is a fantastic resource to become a more effective leader. Trimboli breaks down what it takes to listen well, learn well, understand better, and empathise more. All critical skills at work and home." Having read it and discussed it with other colleagues, I agree it has some great practical ideas to apply to improve our listening skills, and appreciate the impact this can have both at work and in personal relationships. It is definitely aligned with our spacious approach to allow ourselves time to think and be fully present with whoever we are with.

Rachel's reads

As well the book that inspired my Restember, I have been enjoying Japanese fiction over the last few months. A few of my favourites so far are short books; Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Convenience Store Woman is a captivating story about an overlooked but incredibly important piece of the world. In an incredibly vivid narrative, this story weaves themes of consequences of non-conformity, societal acceptance and the search for the feeling of belonging and purpose If cats disappeared from the world. Genki Karamura. A heartwarming, funny and profound meditation on the meaning of life. Relationships, loss, grief and cats.


Questions to ponder for the autumn...

  • What do the shortening days and lengthening nights mean for you this year? What does the change of seasons mirror in your life?

  • What have you learned this year that will help you as we head into the final 3 months of the year?

  • What is it time to let go of? What might you need to prepare for?

  • What do you value? What are you looking forward to? What are you grateful for?

  • How will you build in rest to your routine to nourish yourself?


Rest resources:

We have pulled together a few resources to help you consider rest and how this fits in your life. We hope you find these a useful addition to your own wellbeing toolkit. Redefining Rest - Slow Down to Speed Up Tedx talk: Bec Heindrich (20 minutes)

Hurry Slowly podcast (1 hour)

7 Types of rest and how to achieve them Better Up blog (15 minutes read)


Bespoke Group Retreats

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, our last retreat was a catalyst for our thinking on future retreats. Our focus is now on creating bespoke retreat experiences to promote wellbeing from within for existing groups of women. We learned from our last retreat that participants wanted to share their retreat experience with their colleagues or groups in their network. They can see the benefits of developing team and group wellbeing through such a day together, and this has inspired our thinking. Using key ingredients from our retreat repertoire we can design a bespoke retreat experience to

  • Provide space and time to think

  • Explore the concept of rest / concepts/topics such as rest, energy, creativity

  • Enable group members to explore values and create deeper relationships

  • Help participants create realistic intentions to support ongoing wellbeing

The emphasis and content of each retreat will vary as we will work together to design a deep and meaningful experience to meet group needs.

If you are interested in finding out more or having a chat about what a retreat style day could look like for your team or group then get in touch or see our website for more details

If you are not already subscribed to our newsletter do sign up to keep up to date with developments.


We hope you have enjoyed this latest newsletter from Chrysalis Retreats. Feel free to respond to us and to share with others.

If you are interested in finding out more or having a chat about what a retreat style day could look like for your team or group then get in touch or see our website for more details

If you are not already subscribed to our newsletter do sign up to keep up to date with developments, and of course we aim to offer inspiration for all women to take time to pause and rest to refresh.

Love Caroline and Rachel x


Here at Chrysalis Retreats our vision is to support women to take a pause and reflect at key moments in our lives and clarify what’s important as we move forward. We recognize that women face specific challenges in life and in work that show up in times of transition or uncertainty, and we are here to guide and support women on their personal journey. Our retreats are designed to allow spacious time for reflection, to learn from each other and experience the joy of being in nature.

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