Monday, December 28, 2009

Our hardworking crew

And here is a picture of us at the end of our November Strategic Planning meeting...having made a huge big step towards the future of Creative Healing Connections!
Back row...Peggy Lynn, Rose Ann Hickey, Wanda Burch, Randy Lewis
Front row...Karen Glass, Gail Sheffield, Fran Yardley, Leslie Neustadt

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Looking to the future!

On November 14th, we held our annual CHC Board retreat. It was a day filled with introspection, connection and many creative ideas flying under the capable direction of Gail Sheffield. The outcome was the first stage of the creation of our Strategic Five Year Plan. We took a good look at who we are and what we are about. We came away with a renewed commitment to our mission of providing creative experiences to promote healing and growth and we began making a detailed map for our future. We plan to have a follow up meeting in February to delineate and finalize our goals. Working with this board of exceptional people who are committed to CHC is a joy.
May you all find peace and joy in this holiday season!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

News of our fall Arts & Healing Retreats…

Our 11th Annual Arts & Healing Retreat from September 18-20 at Great Camp Sagamore was a huge success! We told stories, sang songs, played with dreams, journaled, created fantastical art works and stretched in yoga. Many said it was the best retreat so far.
In October, we held a second retreat at the Irondequoit Inn on Piseco Lake. We had new staff members who were graduates of our Spring Training Retreat and they did an amazing job. The words of one of our participants say it best: “What a truly relaxing, healing retreat. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful, beautiful, strong, brave women. It's great to know that I’m not alone and that my thoughts and feelings are normal…the painting, making beads out of clay, playing out little skits and dressing up in funny clothing…the laughter alone was grand. Everyone comes with their own baggage and each one leaves stronger, happy, and I believe with a lighter shoulder and heart.”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Scholarships still available for both retreats!

We still have scholarships available for the October 23-25 retreat at the Irondequoit Inn on Piseco Lake as well as a couple for the September 18-20 retreat to be held at Great Camp Sagamore. This time away is a rare gift for yourself and it will cost you nothing. Go to the Retreats page for more details or contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.
We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Feedback about the 1st Annual Women Veterans’ Arts & Reintegration Retreat

Our first annual Women Veterans’ Arts & Reintegration Retreat was a remarkable journey for all who participated… We wanted to share with you some of the images and thoughts from this memorable retreat.

This program needs to be expanded so more women could benefit.
This has been more than any retreat…that I have been to before.
Very positive
It was great. Now I can say I have a network.
There were no judgments. It was great.
Surprisingly very safe.
Did not feel I had to control emotions.
Encouraged, in fact.
I am not alone. There were others.

It really helps female veterans unwind and speak up.
I think it is a fantastic way to elicit emotional expression and reintegration.
This way I can understand myself a little better.
Creativity is SO important for healing!!
Listened to our stories without judgment.
Everything was perfect for me.

I don’t know if the belly dancing was officially a workshop but I plan to start dancing and using my body to express and heal myself.
Never tried yoga or Reiki before so it was a great chance to do so.
I know I need to incorporate all of these more.
Yoga was a little much for me.
This is the best that has happened to me.

What was your favorite thing about your experience at this retreat?

The laughter.
The physical space.
Chance to meet other people and bond.
A safe place to let myself go...
learn from the beauty and freedom of the other women.
Women fellowship.
Freedom of expression in a non-judgmental space.
The way the women bonded with each other.
All; can not pick out just one. Thanks.
The location with the history of offering a beautiful respite for immigrant women.
Connecting with other women veterans.
Everything … was awesome.
Thank you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Women Veterans' Retreat a huge success!

In August, we had our first annual Women Veterans’ Arts & Reintegration Retreat at Wiawaka Holiday House on the shores of Lake George. It was fantastic! We are very excited by the feedback from our participants. Check back to the blog throughout this month to see their pictures and read their thoughts.

In the meantime, try if you can to conjure up in your mind a group of women who have been through life altering events in the military. They are brought together for the express purpose of finding a community and sharing their stories through various art forms. To read more details about the event click here.

Also, Pat Bradley of WAMC Radio came on the last day and interviewed several of our participants.
Click here to listen to the WAMC report.

We are already looking forward to next August and our 2nd Annual Women Veterans’ Retreat! If you were a part of our first retreat, please share your stories with our readers by clicking on the comment link below!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New PR about our upcoming Veterans' Retreat!

During this past week, we had interviews on both WAMC Radio in Albany and NCPR (North Country Public Radio) in Canton about our upcoming women veterans' retreat as well as our two retreats for women with cancer and chronic illness. Also an article in the Albany Times Union and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. I encourage you to check these out. It was so great to talk to all these folks and get the word out. We want more women registering for all our retreats! Any ideas for how we can spread the word are very welcome. We also encourage feedback from you about all our projects. We like to hear from you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thank you Garry Trudeau!

This past week we had the honor of receiving permission from Garry Trudeau to post one of his extraordinary DOONESBURY cartoons on our web site. This particular cartoon speaks to the life changing issues with which women veterans have to contend. You can check it out on our website:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thank you Susan G. Komen for the Cure!

Creative Healing Connections, Inc. is proud to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation! In addition to funding scientific research, Susan G. Komen for the Cure understands the importance of healing body, mind and spirit. The grant will be used to give women with breast cancer scholarships so that they attend one of our healing retreats.

Leslie Neustadt attended the Susan G. Komen for the Cure award ceremony on April 9, 2009 and expressed great appreciation for the generosity of the grant during these hard economic times. She shared the magic that is created during the healing retreats. The women who lead the retreat use story telling, singing and song writing, communal art making and yoga to build a supportive community in which women can come to terms with their illness. Leslie told the story of a woman who learned to forgive her body for betraying her.

This year's awards demonstrate Susan G. Komen for the Cure's commitment to local organizations and institutions that meet the needs of women who are struggling with breast cancer. The awards reflect Komen's determination to reach under served women without health insurance and women who have difficulty accessing medical care and complementary services. Creative Healing Connections intends to partner with these organizations to offer its healing retreats to women in need.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Web Page Launches today!

This just in... Creative Healing Connections, Inc. has updated its look on the web... the new web site features information about all of our retreats, news and information about CHC, and provides opportunities for you to get involved with our community... check it out at let us know what you think!

Community Sculpture

One of the things I love that happens at our retreats is the creation of a community sculpture. Over the years, this has taken a wide variety of shapes, from cedar twigs to hand painted silk scarves. We start with nothing but the raw materials and over the course of 48 hours, we build a whole piece which holds the creativity of every woman who attends. On Sunday morning, much like a Buddhist mandala, the sculpture is dismantled. Each woman takes home a piece, imbued with the energy and strength of the experience of the past two days and the blessing of the community to sustain her in the days going forward.


Share your thoughts and memories about CHC retreats by clicking on the comments link below.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Celebrating ten years!

Over the past ten years Adirondack citizens have joined together to offer an annual Arts and Healing Retreat for women with cancer and chronic illness . This retreat provides a unique opportunity for women who are struggling with life changing diseases to tell their stories in a variety of contexts and thus to develop a sense of connection, meaning and empowerment. During the retreat, they are immersed in the healing environment of the Adirondacks and, through workshops offered by Adirondack artists, they are surrounded by the opportunity to use words, music, movement and laughter to create bonds and realize that they are not alone.

What started as an annual retreat continues to grow as we reach out to new groups and old friends. In our tenth year we held two retreats, one in July and one in September of 2008. The coming year marks the beginning of our branching out to new audiences. This blog is offered as a way to keep our community connected. Here is a sample of the images and words of those who have benefited from this experience:

“My attitude has really shifted since that weekend…it was a remarkable experience”

“[This retreat has been] the most wonderful and lovely thing anyone has ever done for me.”

“The gifts that each of these women brought to the weekend were magical.”
“I used to think the staff performed this magic each year. Now I see it clearly. They provide the canvas. We paint it. I can't wait to see what we create this year.”
“I take the image of the bridge lit up at night. As I cross it, my shoulders go down, the radio goes off, I am here. I forgive my body for betraying me. I take strength from all of you.”
“I feel the strength of the women who came before me - and I count on the strength of those who will come after me.”
“This time affords me an opportunity to look inside my self, to remove, so to speak, "the skin of the onion", to face challenges with a greater strength and move forward!”
“I learned that life isn't over until it's over and that the illness isn't robbing me of that, my attitude is.”
“I learned that I do still have power over myself and my life.”
“I am not alone in my battle with cancer.”