Our Workshops & Trainings

Seasonal Daylong

Wild Nature Vigils 

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Waitati Ecotherapy Centre, Waitati, Otago

Soulfully Summer – Saturday, 23nd December

       

        

Connect with the inspirational power of nature to allow your inner wisdom to rise up from deep within your own song.

“What you seek is seeking you” Rumi

THESE DAY LONG EVENTS ARE  FOR YOU IF:

  • You are wanting more direction in your life.
  • You are in a transitional phase of life and are seeking guidance.
  • You are ready to shed that which is no longer serving you.
  • You want to step courageously into your wild power.
  • You are wanting to embed in the life and beauty of the natural world and give space for inspiration.

These daylong vigils mimics the longer version of the traditional Rite of Passage ceremony as we journey together into Nature and the transition from season to season. A place where you may feel Soul calling you into something more, to mark a point of transition in your life or to seek insight and support to specific questions or challenges.

As we celebrate the seasons, what wisdom is lying and waiting for us in the shedding of Autumn, the stillness of winter, the new growth and blossoms of spring, the kiss of the summer sun and breeze? Maybe you are curious about what new life is ready to emerge in you, what wants to be birthed into the world at this time. What may illuminate deep within as you stand in the heart of earths seasonal songs?

As part of these one-day soulful event, we will follow the 3 phases of a traditional Rite of Passage; Separation, Threshold and Incorporation. We will start the day with coming together in circle to explore each other’s intention, in the spirit of open-hearted listening. Stepping out of circle, you will then move into your own individual experience (Separation).  Crossing a Threshold, we honour the transition into sacred liminal space where you will enter into reflection, contemplation and conversation with the land.  Returning back through the threshold, you are welcomed back into circle to express silently through art (color, poetry, clay, song) then share (if you choose) the wisdom you received out there in the mystery of the Natural world in this particular time of earths cycle (Incorporation).

“He who despairs of spring with downcast eye steps on it, unknowing. He who searches for spring with knees in the mud finds it, in abundance” Aldo Leopold.

Fasting: As a way to support, surrender, intention, and clarity, participants are invited to fast from dawn to their return from the vigil. 6am to 2pm. It is recommended that anyone who suffers from blood sugar issues or any other medical condition that makes fasting risky seek advice from their doctor before fasting.

 

Investment: $80.00 per  event if registered and paid 1 month prior to a seasonal event. Or $90.00 if less then 1 month. If paying for all 4 seasonal events at one time, recieve a $50.00 discount and pay $270.00. Students 15% Discount

Also Included: Miso Vegetable Soup and Gluten Free Bread upon return from the vigil for in person participants

Cancellation Policy: If registrations is withdrawn less then 1 month before the event start date, there will be no refund. Prior to 1 month and if the event organisor cancells the event a full refund will be provided.’

Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Rites of Passage Facilitator, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number: Reference:  [your name]
Code:  Daylong

REGISTER HERE →

This One Wild & Precious Life

An Exploration Into
Hidden Landscapes
of Body and Mind

An Ecotherapy Retreat for People in Helping Proffesions

Waitati Ecotherapy Centre
Otago, New Zealand

16th to 20th Feb 2024

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ”     ~ Mary Oliver

 

Imagine having five wild and precious days to connect, unwind relax, remember your whole self, reinvite self-care, self-awareness, kindness, healing and self-compassion to all aspects of your life.

In this unique and nourishing retreat, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Spend quiet time in nature with guidance to reconnect with your authentic self.
  • Deepen through mystery…. your connection to yourself, others, and the natural world.
  • Be supported in ceremony and sacred relationship to the cardinal directions to remember and welcome and heal those forgotten or fractured parts that have been forgotten or left behind in the fast pace of modern society.
  • Connect and support your body through gentle yoga practices to match the rhythms of the natural world.
  • Develop or continue your own daily mindfulness practice
  • Create nourishing connections in a supported community
  • Replenish your body with wholesome plant-based cuisine

As we gather in the old ways for 5 days at the beautiful Waitati Ecotherapy Centre in coastal Otago, we will explore soul-centric practices embodying both developmentally and spiritually the four directions of North, West, South and East. Throughout this journey we weave together Mindful body-centred Nature connection, Meditation, Yoga, Storytelling, Creative writing and Community Connection, to inspire, relax and unwind in a spacious and nurturing nature setting.

In some of the oldest stories it is said that when you were born your soul’s song was caught and with sacred reverence, placed in the forest waiting for the time when you were ready to seek and hear it This retreat will offer the space for you to listen deeply in nature to remember, ache, hear, reimagine and receive the precious and unique song of your soul.

Your guides for the 5 precious days will be Bren and Toni, two experienced and passionate Ecotherapists, and rites of passage facilitators who will guide you over 5 days and nights in the old ways to hear the chthonic rhythms of the earth so you may discover a more soul-centred connection with yourself and the natural world. There will also be 2-3 assisting facilitators for additional support and care and yoga facilitation.

Also included in this retreat:

  • 4 nights camping accommodations at the Waitati Ecotherapy Centre
  • Deeply nourishing catered meals for the entire retreat
  • Access to walking paths in stunning transitional NZ native riparian forest
  • Also, on offer at an additional discounted rate for retreat participants are:
  • Ecotherapy 1 to 1 sessions with Bren or Toni
  • Biodynamic craniosacral therapy with Bren

What Previous Participants said:

Connection to nature was supported by safe manageable facilitated opportunities/ invitations to explore nature as a mirror to my “Self”

Connection to “Self” was supported by recieving kindness, and having space for my “self ” to be seen

I experienced the facilitators as respectful, kind, knowledgeable and wise.

So grateful to be reminded of the mystery magic and support that quiet contemplation in nature provides. Just Wow!

Facilitators had beautiful demonstrations of loving presence with a light touch but a clear sense that you being well held. I relaxed into this quickly. This has been extrordinary!

 Excellent beyond expectation. The food was amazing!

Investment:

$1250 (incl GST) if paid by 31st Dec, 2023 ($1,500 afterward)

Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number: Reference:  [your name]
Code:  Retreat

Cancellations: No refund later than 14 days prior to start date

unless cancelled by organisers.

 

REGISTER HERE→

Soul-Centric Families

A Wild Family camp

Gunns Bush Camp 36 Gunns Bush Road, Hunter, Waimate District

Late January (specific dates coming soon)

Enjoy a relaxing and nature-soaked bath with your most precious inner tribe. Set in the relaxing and tranquil Hunter Hills in Waimate.

 Learn and sharpen your family dialogue while dipping in and out of the mystery and wonder of the natural world. Facilitated by skilled Nonviolent Communication (NVC) facilitators and Ecotherapists.

 Play with and enjoy witnessing the play of your children as they are guided and encouraged to wild their souls a little in both unstructured and structured nature based play.

 Enjoy eating in community wholesome gluten free plant based meals and retire each night after a story around the fire (or community led entertainment) and wake each day into your tents with natures melodic chorus.

 This weekend begins on a Friday night and ends on Sunday afternoon. It offers parents an opportunity to unwind, sharpen their soul centric parenting communication, enjoy games and fun in the wild with their children while also taking space for contemplative self-reflection in nature.

The facilitators are skilled in Nonviolent communication (NVC), Ecotherapy and supporting children to play naturally in the wild.

 What we provide: Ingredients for Breakfast Lunch and dinner (gluten free plant based), teas and coffee, plant-based milks. Preparing and cooking of meals will be a camp collaboration.

Communication facilitation for parents, guidance and care for children at times when parents are in program, hot showers and composting toilets.

 What participants provide: Snacks, bedding, tents, mattresses.

(Tents for hire of $50 for the weekend per tent or bring own tent)

 Financial Contribution:

Early Bird Register by Nov 31st 

One parent and one child: $500.00

Extra child $150

Extra Adult:$350.00

After November 31st

$600 One parent and one child

$200  extra child

$400 extra adult

 One Parent and one child $398.00 (Extra child $100) After that $450 per Parent and $115 per extra child

Cancellations: There will be no refunds for cancellations less than 1 month prior to the course start date unless the event is cancelled by event organisers.

 Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Aunt

Jorinde Robbbers – Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Home Schooling Parent.

Sally Prebble –  Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Home Schooling Parent.

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number:  01-0322-0212196-01
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  Family Camp

REGISTER HERE

Whale Song

8 Day Soul Quest

Waitati Ecotherapy Centre, Waitati, Dunedin

19-27 March, 2024

  • Do you feel stuck without direction or purpose?
  • Has the fullness of life evaporated your creative soul?
  • Are you longing for solitude and reflection to listen deeply?
  • Or are you wanting to just pause and allow your authentic creative self to show you a more soul driven path?

If you feel ready to plunge into the depths of your own mythic adventure into the wilderness, to step into the humble passage of seeking vision, then we invite you to this ancient ceremony. A ceremony that is beyond any human teaching and until recently has been hiding in the dark rich soil of the forest unseen. This ceremony, sometimes referred to as a Vision Quest, has been carried out pan-culturally as a Rite of Passage for thousands of years and it is now time to re-awaken the ceremony in the modern day so that together we may flourish as individuals and communities with the Earth.

Throughout this ceremony you will be supported by experienced guides and therapists who have all undertaken their own Whale of a dive into the wilderness passage. They encourage you to step into the unknown and give up a little bit of comfort, in return you may just find what you have been seeking.

 

Structure of the Program

The is an eight day program that includes pre and post individual sessions to support participants to gain the most of their quest experience.

The first two days on the land will be in group where you will be supported by your guides to gain clarity on your intention and to prepare. The solo time is four nights after which your are welcomed back with ceremony by your guides and supported to integrate and weave your experience on the land into your daily life.

Follow up support after you go home in also included.

 

Why Whale Song?

In Myths, Folklore and Tribal Cultures the world over, Whales are considered the wisdom keepers of our great Mother Earth, where the sacred knowledge and guidance for our personal change and spiritual growth resides. Symbolically, Whale also reminds us to re-connect with our Great Mother, to remember our deeper connection to the ecology of life. The archaic echo sound of the Whale reminds us to slow down and connect to our own rhythmical nature, to feel into our hearts with Earth and remember the heartbeat we all shared when we were in our own Mother’s womb.

For more information about this process please contact us to set up a time to answer any questions.

Meet Your Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Outdoor Adventurer

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

 

Quest Investment:

$1,350 (includes meals and camping accommodation)

Cancellations: We will not provide any refunds if particpation is cancelled less than 2 months prior to the event start date unless the event is cancelled by the organisers.

Submit Payment to:
Account name:  Restorative Relationships
Account Number:  01-0322-0212196-01
Reference:  [your name]
Code:  SoulQuest

 

Wild at Heart

Somatic Ecotherapy Immersion

10 Day Professional Training in Somatic Ecotherapy

 

Kauaeranga Outdoor Education Centre, Thames, NZ
6th March to 16th March 2024

What is Ecotherapy?

We notice it ourselves. We notice it in others. The experience of groundedness, unity, wholeness, connectedness, peace… when we spend time in the natural world. Ecotherapy is not a new concept. It has been an inherent aspect of our existence on Earth for as long as we have been here.

It’s only a recent development in human evolution where being in nature is something that we go and “do.” Prior to this, our interdependence with nature was an obvious necessity. Consequently, as research is showing, the absence or forgetting of this necessity is resulting in many harmful and discouraging effects, both personally and collectively.

Ecotherapy, then, involves the intentional re-connection with the natural world as a profound gateway to our own healing and renewal.

About this training

This training draws from the work of many before us – those who have received ways of honoring, connecting to, and relating to the natural world from a long line of wisdom keepers.

Alongside this ancient wisdom, we bring the recent knowledge and expertise of the teachers who have dedicated much of their personal and professional lives to broadening the access to, and supporting the embodiment of, these teachings.

We utilize practices that support us in reconnecting to our inherent knowing, discovering our unique place in the natural world, and claiming the healing, growth and transformation this makes possible.

The primary professional modalities that inform this training are: Somatic Ecotherapy, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Creative Arts Therapy, and Mindfulness.

The specific lineage-holders of knowledge that this training takes particular inspiration from are: Dave Talamo with Wilderness Reflections; Steve Foster and Meredith Little with The School of Lost Borders; Joanna Macy with The Work that Reconnects; Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication, Jon Young with the Wilderness Awareness School; Bill Plotkin and the Animus Valley Institute; Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and S.N Goenka with the Vipassana Meditation Centre.

The Structure of this Training

This is a four-module 10 day residential training and includes an overnight wilderness vigil.

The purpose of the training is to support participants in (a) developing their own intimate relationship with nature, (b) developing a solid structure for facilitating an Ecotherapy session, (c) incorporating a number of different therapeutic modalities well suited for this work (see above), and (d) determining where their own particular level of comfort is in this way of working.

Each of the four modules will revolve around the theme of one of the four cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) and their associated stages of human development and transformation (drawn particularly from the work of Meredith Little and Steve Foster and the School of Lost Borders, and from the work of David Talamo and Wilderness Reflections). As part of each module, participants will explore each of these developmental stages in relation to their own personal life journeys, in relation to the various cycles found in nature, and with regard to facilitating the healing and transformation of their clients.

Course Framework: 4 Modules 

Module 1: “Establishing Basecamp” – Resourcing
Theme:  Gathering resources and establishing alliance, with nature, our clients, and our essential self

Module 2:  “The Foothills” – Accessing Theme:  Identifying the therapeutic threshold and venturing forth.

Module 3:  “Climbing the Mountain” – Processing
Theme:  Navigating the territory of unhealed wounds and unresolved trauma.

Module 4:  “Back to Basecamp” –  Integration
Theme:  Weaving the rewards of this transformative journey into ordinary consciousness and our everyday life.

    ——————————-

(Note: There is an invitation on the final evening of module 4, to participate in an overnight wilderness vigil. More information can be provided upon request)

Meet the Teachers:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Rites of Passage Facilitator

Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator

 

Testimonials From previous Ecotherapy Immersion Participants

“My ecotherapy experience was one of spirit-firing sacred mystery, reverent communion with beings both human and non-human, and profound visions, insights and personal transformation.

A place where song emerges from deep below, where communion with nature took me to a place of deep soul discovery, release and knowing, and where I felt so loved, nourished, honoured and at peace, at home.

 I stretched and danced beyond the edges of what I thought possible in terms of my connection with self, others and the natural world. I laughed, cried, slept soundly, dreamed intensely, experienced spiritual world visions and feelings, sung around the fire and formed connections that run deep.

 An experience like no other I’ve ever felt, my hosts gently weaved their energy into resonance with mine and others, holding a sacred and potent ceremonial , creating a rhythmic flow and providing wise and gentle guidance.”

I can highly recommend the Ecotherapy training with Toni, Bren and Paris.  Their deep relationship with the natural world is obvious from the land they have established themselves on, the environmentally friendly calibre of the facilities, and the running of all sessions (except if it’s raining too hard) outdoors around the firepit, beside the prayerstick.   They have between them a great depth of therapeutic training and experience and they have fully committed to sharing this to the highest level of excellence, while each also bringing their personal style and flair.  The traianing manual is clear and succinct and the training programme carefully structured. Each step/task builds steadily upon the previous ones, with enough time for questions/clarification and integration.  I have learnings and insights from this course that will stay with me for the rest of my life”

A Wild Nature Crucible for Women

A invitation to journey and connect

 

Craigeburn Ranges (Enviromental Education Centre)
1st Feb to 7th Feb 2024

There are ancient myths told that when we were born, there were two of us, one tamed and one wild and that one or parts of those twins were exiled. How many of us feel that to be true? To have a sense of an ancient growl or howl or an faint sweet song somewhere in our souls knowing? How many of us have an ache for a uncomprehensible raw wholeness? And what does the quest back to find our lost twin,in the service of health and wholeness, look like?

On this Wild Nature Crucible Retreat, we will gather together in circle, around the fire, in the wild interior of our own stories and the wild exterior of the land, to explore the wise counsel of myth, to find our place within them, to come to see that which has been exiled, and begin to call her home. To dream and pay attention, be supported, guided to trust and listen, and to remember the knowing, the deep growl or song of wholeness.

Over this 6-day journey, the sacred practices of ritual, of circle and ceremony, and solo time in conversation with the untamed, sentient Earth, will provide the crucible: the deep container within which the melting down of the old, can give rise to the emergence of something new, something deeply precious, and perhaps mysteriously familiar.
If you sense a resonance with this notion of the lost aspects of your self – aspects denied, thrown out or defiled by the individual and collective narratives that underpin our lived experience – and if you remember, deep in your bones, the old wisdom of gathering as women to traverse these soulful paths together, then this journey is for you.

Logistics

We will begin at the Environmental Edcuation Centre at the Entrance to the Aurther Pass. We will spend two nights there creating connection with each other and the land before wandering to a nearby campsite (2kms hike on easy terrain) to set up camp. At the camp we will  court a myth to set the scene for an ecotherapuetic, creative art and mindful explorations into our depth of being. On the 6th day we will wander back to the lodge for another night spending this time to support integration and preparation for the return back into the everday world.

This journey will be supported and guided by skilled, professional Ecotherapists, Counsellors, Rites of Passage Guides & Arts Therapists.

The specific lineage-holders of knowledge that this training takes particular inspiration from are: Dave Talamo with Wilderness Reflections; Steve Foster and Meredith Little with The School of Lost Borders; Joanna Macy with The Work that Reconnects; Jon Young with the Wilderness Awareness School; Bill Plotkin and the Animus Valley Institute; Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication: Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and S.N Goenka with the Vipassana Meditation Centre.

You will need: A tent, a camp mattress, a sleeping bag and liteweight pillow, a camp plate, bowl, fork and spoon, layers of outdoor clothing, a liteweight 2 litre water bottle , a back pack to carry the above. More infor will be provide upon enquiry. Gear may be hired if needed.

Meals: Plant based meals will be provided, the preparation and cooking of meals will be done as a collective group.

Accomodation Included: Three nights at the lodge, and 3 nights at the campsite.

Program Investment: $1650.00 (Early bird if paid before Nov 31st 2013) After that date $1850.00

Register here: now with a $100 nonrefundable deposit to secure your place.

 

Meet the Facilitators and Guides:

Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Rites of Passage Facilitator

Jackie SheridanTranspersonal & Creative Arts Therapist, Ecotherapist 

Mel Auld Ecotherapist, Life Coach and Rites of Passage Guide

Assisting Guides:

Holly Bracknall Ecotherapist, Rites Of Passage Guide

Kate GloegglerEcotherapist, Outdoor Aventure Guide and Mentor

 

Testimonials From previous participants in our Ecotherapy based offerings

“My ecotherapy experience was one of spirit-firing sacred mystery, reverent communion with beings both human and non-human, and profound visions, insights and personal transformation.

A place where song emerges from deep below, where communion with nature took me to a place of deep soul discovery, release and knowing, and where I felt so loved, nourished, honoured and at peace, at home.

 I stretched and danced beyond the edges of what I thought possible in terms of my connection with self, others and the natural world. I laughed, cried, slept soundly, dreamed intensely, experienced spiritual world visions and feelings, sung around the fire and formed connections that run deep.

 An experience like no other I’ve ever felt, my hosts gently weaved their energy into resonance with mine and others, holding a sacred and potent ceremonial , creating a rhythmic flow and providing wise and gentle guidance.”

 

Our Services

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Our Philosophy

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About Us

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Our Fees

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