Bear Wisdom

Bear Wisdom

Learning what bears can teach us about tracking our internal and external landscapes

A unique retreat with Meghan Walla-Murphy & Koelle Simpson

South Lake Tahoe, CA  I  May  24th – 28th, 2022

 

Bear Wisdom

When I was a young child, I suffered from hearing loss, which made it harder for me to connect through conversations with my peers and family. However, this disability gave me the gift of connecting at a different level of awareness with animals through nonverbal communication. This insatiable curiosity to seek the wisdom of nature and animals has continued my whole life. As an adult, I realize the power of connecting to our diverse animal kin helps us to understand how to live and lead more nourishing and meaningful lives. 

Several years ago, thanks to mutual friends in the field of animal tracking, I met Meghan Walla Murphy. Meghan has spent much of her life as a true explorer. With a background in biology, she discovered the art of tracking and made a point to travel the globe to soak up the wisdom from indigenous elders and animals alike. Synthesizing this rich tapestry of knowledge, Meghan has become an author and wildlife ecologist who strives to help people connect to their internal and external landscapes. 

When meeting Meghan, I felt an overwhelming sense of meeting a kindred spirit, especially when she shared that few animals offer the insights bears have to share with us. “They are true masters at embodying the vital importance of self care,” Meghan offered with a smile.

Despite our modern era of immense disconnection from the natural world, Mother Nature has a mysterious way of seeping into our dreams, our visions, and our hearts. She reminds us to slow down, become enchanted by the world around us, and truly listen. Over the years I’ve had many vivid dreams, potent spiritual messages, and even literal face to face visits with bears while hiking in the mountains. Connecting with Meghan reminded me and inspired me to take my time, lean in, and really listen to what the bears might have to say.

Anyone who chooses to submerge themselves into a bear’s rhythm will quickly discover the profound lessons we can glean as a humble student of bear. Here are just a few:

  • Learn to slow down, take your time, and truly replenish yourself with deep rest. 
  • Embracing the death cycle of winter is not laziness. It takes courage to trust in a greater intelligence and honor the natural rhythm of life’s seasonal cycles. 
  • Eat well! Bears are icons of foraging a diverse array of wild food and truly delight in quality self care. 
  • Play! Bears naturally follow what brings their bodies a genuine sense of joy: rolling around, scratching up against trees, and snuggling with their cubs.
  • Honor your needs and personal boundaries. Bears are amazing communicators and good at letting you know if you have crossed a boundary.
  • Be your whole self. While bears follow the innate guidance of their own bodies and soak in the joy of self care, they naturally give back by simply being themselves. Spawning huge environmental diversity, bears are a key family member to the thriving forest.

Learning to lean into self care is easier said than done. For most of us, living in our modern world is a dizzying environment that encourages immense multitasking which leads to ignoring the wisdom of our bodies. With a constant sense of pressure on our time, downing more coffee instead of a nap, many of us feel increasingly disconnected from ourselves and one another.

Given the intense rip current of our cultural environment, it can feel nearly impossible to cultivate a new practice of self care or trust that the wisdom of your body is actually leading you to a better life. That’s why Meghan and I have decided to team up to offer you a unique four night, five day retreat to step away from your usual daily stressors and to enter into the dream-like mystery of bear wisdom. 

At first glance you may wonder how five days days of wandering about in nature together while tracking bears can help transform highly ingrained stressful habits into a state of wellbeing. Yet, when we enter the magic of the bear’s way of life, they have an uncanny ability to help you viscerally experience the wisdom of truly nurturing one’s self. 

We will spend our mornings tracking the California black bears that call Lake Tahoe, CA home. After soaking in the adventures that Mother Nature has in store, we’ll take an afternoon break to honor our needs for rest and play. In the evenings we’ll circle together to help you implement a new way of being in your daily life while enjoying a nourishing meal, sharing stories, aha moments, and taking in a good dose of belly laughter.

I hope you will join me.

Bear Wisdom

Retreat Agenda

Bear Wisdom

Tues, May 24th, Day 1: Coming Together and Awakening the Senses

  • 1:00pmLunch on arrival at Heavenly Lodge private Gondola Vista house. This will serve as our central gathering space
  • 2:00pm | Retreat introductions and the sharing of personal intentions
  • 3:30pm | An introduction to tracking. We’ll hop into a shared van and take a short drive to the surrounding forest where you can ease into a new rhythm and awaken your senses to the tracks and signs for bears
  • 7:00pm | Dinner, laughter, and the sharing of stories
  • 8:30 pm | Winding down for a night of deep, restorative rest
Bear Wisdom

Wed. May 25th, Day 2: Honoring the Death & Emergence Cycle

  • 6:45 am |Meet at the Gondola Vista house for a light breakfast
  • 7:30 am | Depart the house, taking a shared van to start our bear tracking adventure
  • 8:00 am – 2:00 pm | Following the tracks and signs of bears while being attentive to personal insights and lessons that arise. 
  • 12:00 pm | Packed lunch on the trail
  • 2:00 pm | Return to the Gondola Vista house
  • 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm | A break for rest, reflection, or play
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Circling up at the Gondola Vista house for group processing
  • 7:00pm – 8:00 pm | Dinner, storytelling, and connecting
  • 8:30 pm | Winding down for a night of deep, restorative rest
Bear Wisdom

Thurs. May 26th, Day 3: Developing Your Self Care Practices

  • 6:45 am |Meet at the Gondola Vista house for a light breakfast
  • 7:30 am | Depart the house, taking a shared van to start our bear tracking adventure
  • 8:00 am – 2:00 pm | Following the tracks and signs of bears while being attentive to personal insights and lessons that arise. 
  • 12:00 pm | Packed lunch on the trail
  • 2:00 pm | Return to the Gondola Vista house
  • 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm | A break for rest, reflection, or play
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Circling up at the Gondola Vista house for group processing
  • 7:00pm – 8:00 pm | Dinner, storytelling, and connecting
  • 8:30 pm | Winding down for a night of deep, restorative rest
Bear Wisdom

Fri. May 27th, Day 4: The Gift of Being Your Wholehearted Self

  • 6:45 am |Meet at the Gondola Vista house for a light breakfast
  • 7:30 am | Depart the house, taking a shared van to start our bear tracking adventure
  • 8:00 am – 2:00 pm | Following the tracks and signs of bears while being attentive to personal insights and lessons that arise. 
  • 12:00 pm | Packed lunch on the trail
  • 2:00 pm | Return to the Gondola Vista house
  • 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm | A break for rest, reflection, or play
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Circling up at the Gondola Vista house for group processing
  • 7:00pm – 8:00 pm | Dinner, storytelling, and connecting
  • 8:30 pm | Winding down for a night of deep, restorative rest
Bear Wisdom

Sat. May 28th, Day 5: Dreaming a New Way of Life into Being

  • 8:00 amMeet at the Gondola Vista house for a light breakfast
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm | Nature wander, meditation and integration 
  • 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm | Lunch at Gondola Vista house with final group wrap up and departure

Program Details & Registration

Retreat Dates: May 24th – 28th, 2022

Retreat pricing includes

  • 4 nights & 5 days of retreat facilitation.
  • Healthy nourishing meals throughout your retreat program.
  • Daily support and coaching facilitation from Koelle Simpson and Meghan Walla-Murphy.
  • Group transportation from the Gondola Vista house to our tracking location.

Pricing does not include:

  • Flights, transportation, or lodging accommodations at Heavenly Lodging and Ski resort.
^

Retreat Pricing

  • $4,600
^

Pay-in-full

  • One Payment of $4,600
^

Payment Plan

  • Two Payments of $2,300:
  • 1st Payment of $2,300 will be made when you sign up
  • 2nd Payment of $2,300 will be processed 1 month later

More retreats will be announced shortly

Please join our interest list to receive event updates

Concerned about Covid-19?

We understand. You’re safety is a high priority. Thus we are taking precautions in order to gather safely:

  • Our group size will not exceed more than 8 participants. 
  • All of our activities will be organized outside. 
  • You’re welcome to wear a mask if you prefer and we’ll be able to easily create distance as needed
  • If you face the unfortunate event of becoming sick with covid-19 leading up to this event, we will make every effort to apply your retreat fee to a future program or virtual coaching support by Koelle Simpson.

Cancellation Policy

Due to the costly, non-refundable nature of reserving venues for various events, and the limited spaces available in workshops and retreats, a cancellation made 60 days or less from the dates of an event is non-refundable. Fifty percent of the event fee will be refunded for a cancellation made between 90 to 61 days prior to a scheduled event. Any cancellation made 91 days prior to a scheduled event is fully refundable minus an administrative processing fee.

Please note that should an issue or challenge arise due to Covid-19 (either with travel restrictions or health matter) we will make every effort to apply your payment as a credit to a future retreat program.

What We Can Learn From Mother Nature

Listen to Podcast Interview between Koelle & Meghan 

In this interview with female tracker, writer and conservationist Meghan Walla Murphy, Koelle learns how Meghan’s longing to listen to Mother Nature gave way to a profound appreciation for the relational nature of our ecosystem. Koelle and Meghan discuss a powerful shift in perspective that can happen when we realize that life is not merely about the survival of the fittest but rather an intricate harmony of relationships with the natural world.

Have questions about the the upcoming Bear Wisdom Retreat? Email us at support@koellesimpson.com. We’d love to hear from you!

What Clients Say

“The Return to the Heart Retreat had a positive impact on me. It made my heart and smile expand. It made the lessons I have learned over my life move from my mind into my heart. I now have a deeper understanding of what matters in my life.

I loved the animals—relating how they interact with each other with how we, humans, could do the same in our life. Sharing our experiences on game drives was an intimate way to help me open up to ways I can grow. It opened my mind to new perspectives on life and helped me with some of my blindspots. It especially help me pause in my habitual response to always wanting to be right.”

Pat J.

“I had a lot of awareness rise up. I observed how people would drop into fear over what they thought the animals might do instead of watching what they were actually doing. That has been a big lesson for me: when you let fear take over, you lose the ability to track the energy, moment by moment. You are instead in a pattern of fear and that distorts what is actually happening.”

Angela W.

“ChiGong, the game drives, sharing and learning from each other and feeling supported throughout along with Koelle’s strength, warmth, wisdom, and clarity made the experience very rich and powerful for me. Realizing I am not alone in facing life’s challenges—we all have trauma to resolve and need to learn to love ourselves and find inner peace. Authenticity. Koelle’s deep involvement and genuine support helped to challenge my well-worn (destructive) behavioral patterns while offering a new way of seeing and moving forward with a positive outlook and energy.

The small group size made it possible for everyone to have individual attention and coaching. There was nothing “boilerplate” or “standardized” in Koelle’s approach. She touched all of our hearts in an individual and very personal way. Incredible.”

Carolyn J.

Stay in the Loop