We’re in the business of helping people – people like you. We provide the space, time and a few novel tools to help you dig in, do the work and let your inner gritty goddess shine through (sounds cliche, but it’s what we do).
We wanted to introduce you to a few very special women, our Grace & Grit Ambassadors, who have attended a Rejuvenation Retreat and have graciously agreed to share their story with the hope of helping you discover yours.
You may need more than a testimonial to know if the Rejuvenation Retreat is right for you. We hope their powerful stories get you fired up and ready to take the plunge and join our growing community.
Our Grace & Grit Ambassadors
Jess Ireland, London, ON
I was coming off of a challenging summer season, where I needed to demonstrate a lot of personal grit – and work on giving myself a lot of grace. When a friend sent me Live It Active’s Rejuvenation Retreat in Guelph, ON, it felt a bit like fate. I looked forward to a day where I could take in others’ stories, have fun and reflect. I was surprised by the level of consideration, compassion and encouragement I received throughout the day – it gave me more peace of mind than anticipated. I chose to be a Grace & Grit Ambassador because, to me, the role means supporting opportunities for people to invest in themselves and their goals, and to understand their inherent worthiness in a world where it’s easy to forget it. For me, that’s not just a priority for myself – it’s something I hope to help others see in themselves and celebrate.
Image features Jess at the Rejuvenation Retreat, ON, 2018. Photo taken by Jenny Thompson.
Yolaunda Courtney, Calgary, AB
I was scrolling social media at a time in my life when I felt disconnected – from work, my family and myself. It was like I was just going through the motions – each day the same. A never ending cycle of early mornings, eating my lunch at my desk and rushing to pick up my kid at the last minute before making dinner.
When I saw the retreat, two words stood out: grit and grace; traits I strove to conjure in everything I did but felt I was sadly lacking. At that moment in life, I was shifting to a new role and the thought of continuing the cycle of running through life but not experiencing it called for fostering more of this illusive grit and grace.
I asked two friends to join me and quickly registered. One said yes, but when the day came she wasn’t able to go. However, I was on a mission. A mission to find the grace I was missing from life.
The quiet space and the first snow of the season helped set the stage for a intentional session led by Morgan at The Heart of Bragg Creek. Everything felt right – the group of women coming together to harness our internal grace seemed fitting as we started the day on our mats in a circle. The workbook asked questions that needed to be asked and allowed us the time and space to consider them. I walked away feeling something that I hadn’t felt in years – self love for reconnecting through yoga, meditation and this beautiful world next to the ethereal Treaty 7 land.
After the session, I came back and chose to do things different – I chose to be more active in my life with my family (yoga mornings with a 3 year old anyone?!!). I chose to find my path to my passion in my career and while I left the retreat without a personal manifesto, I spent the next month thinking, revisiting the workbook and finally, cultivated one that fit.
Originally I felt pulled in all directions: a mom, a wife, an employee, and my own self. Through this session, it felt good to remember that everything starts with finding space for the grace for myself.
“Be the person your younger self needed: be calm and be brave, be lively and open to exploring, be quiet but find time to be loud. Be everything you want to be. Authentic.”
In talking with Morgan and considering my journey, I said yes to becoming an ambassador because we all need a space to find ourselves. This retreat provided the balance to move, both physically and mentally with other strong women. Sharing stories and experience (Buti yoga!!!!). You don’t need to be a certain person, size, fitness level to attend these sessions. You just have to have an open mind and heart.
Chrissy Stewart-McKeen, Guelph, ON
My journey of self-discovery started the day I lost my baby girl. I was 10.5 weeks pregnant and deep in my heart I knew she was a girl. In response to my loss, I threw myself into work, the holidays – just about anything to avoid the pain.
It all came crashing down on what would have been my due date. One bad day turned into two, and quickly every day became a struggle.
One session with an amazing therapist revealed I was suffering from postpartum depression, unresolved grief and an identity crisis. I spent the next few months peeling back the layers until I found myself – my true self. This process was extremely painful. Every layer unearthed memories I had attempted to exile.
I experienced the Rejuvenation Retreat: Cultivating Grace & Grit a ways into my journey. What it gave me was the opportunity and permission to record and reflect on my deepest thoughts and put them into perspective. My personal manifesto is something I live by and hold myself accountable to every day. I can look back and view this period of my life as a time of immense personal growth. I’m not sure where my journey will take me but I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty. What I will be able to do is carry some grace and grit along with me for the ride.
Danielle Wright, Calgary, AB
For as long as I remember I have always been busy – working multiple jobs, taking multiple courses, juggling multiple goals and priorities. I was always chasing a better version of myself, setting high expectations, demanding more. I crushed my first half-marathon and barely finished my post-race breakfast before setting a faster goal for the next one. I hardly sat still long enough to write my goals down.
Last summer the buzz of this busy bee came to a screeching halt (literally) when my vehicle collided with a truck driver who ran a stop sign. The impact of the high speed crash left me unable to bend over to tie my own shoes, or walk further than a few meters at a time. While I’m lucky to have hobbled away from the scene, my heart broke when I returned home from the hospital to find my brand new running shoes waiting in the mail, knowing my next race wouldn’t beat my last, but that it likely was my last. I went from working really, really hard, to needing to rest really, really well. It was hard. It is hard. And the stress from the trauma, the change in my routine, and fighting my internal dialogue of expecting more of myself weighed heavily, and started to hinder my ability to heal. I wasn’t able to let go of pain, stiffness, or resentment. I felt little sense of purpose or accomplishment, or even pride for how far I’d come post incident.
I had a lot of grit, but to fully recover I needed a bit more grace.
Some months later, I was ready to work toward something again, so when I saw that Live it Active’s retreat was focused on finding a Personal Manifesto, and cultivating grit and grace, I knew I had everything to gain from the experience.
For a long while I was so focused on what I couldn’t do anymore, that I forgot what I could do, or what I wanted to do with my life. The retreat provided me a safe space to begin my reflection process, to begin to heal. I laughed, and I listened. I moved, and I rested. I reflected on my past experiences, but mostly I envisioned how bright my future could be. I even started building my Personal Manifesto, and it excites me to know that it has very little to do with working harder and keeping busy, and more to do with being my authentic, creative, and giving self.
As an Ambassador, I want to show others that there is more to life than being busy, performing well, and producing more. We can work hard, but we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves.