Awakenings Retreat 2017-12-19T09:23:00+00:00

Annual Awakenings Retreat ~ May 2018

May 2018 focus theme:  Living Your Heroic Life

Are you are ready to:

  • Feel Passionate and Hopeful about your Life’s Journey?
  • Learn how to Find and Receive Help through your Challenges?
  • Connect with Horses on a Deeper, More Mindful, and More Soulful Level than ever before?
  • Make real Progress Towards Realizing your Dreams?
  • Show up for Your Life and Yourself in New Ways
  • Further Deepen your Intuitive Abilities?
  • Have more Joy, Energy and Self-Compassion?
  • Have a better Understanding of Self and Others?

Then join us for an extraordinary, integrative retreat designed to nurture and inspire you ~ 5 days of deep connection to self, horses, nature and the mystical. What do you want to awaken to in your life? During this retreat, we will journey in body, mind and spirit utilizing a combination of spiritual direction and equine coaching to guide you along your pathway of discovery and action.

We’ll explore the themes of the retreat through shamanic journeying, horse experiences, time in nature, mindfulness practices, and silent meditation. And we give you concrete tools on how to stay the course so that you can take charge of leading your most joyful, intuitive, soulful, and heart-filled life – a life that starts with and includes you!



Dates: 5 day Equine Coaching and Shamanism workshop:  Wednesday, May 16th – Monday, May 21st

Cost:  $2100 all inclusive or $1800 local rate (includes full retreat, less accommodations).  All rates are based on double occupancy.  Single occupancy rates are available upon request.

Package Includes:

  • Daily Equine Guided Coaching sessions to help you discover patterns and behaviors that may be creating road blocks to happiness
  • Shamanic Journey Sessions to guide you towards your animal helpers and healers
  • Spiritual Direction work to help guide you along your path of deepening intuition and divine connection
  • Accommodations in an amazing rental house on property ~ see the horses grazing from your private deck
  • Delicious and nutritious meals prepared by our personal and extraordinary chef, Vera Hansen
  • Time for hiking, artwork or meditation practices
  • End of the retreat soak and massage at the nearby Trimble Hot Springs
  • Camaraderie, connection, laughter and discovery with other amazing women from around the country
  • Come a day early or stay a day late for an optional trail rides, exploring the amazing mountains of Southwest Colordo (an additional lodging and trail ride fee quoted upon request)

Morningstar Ranch

This retreat is held at Morningstar Ranch, a 38-acre equestrian estate with stunning, unblemished mountain views. Morningstar is situated in the lush Animas Valley about 15 minutes north of Durango, CO. The facilities include a restored barn with horse arena and riding pen, multiple green pastures, and ponds with water features. Lots of beautiful space with the herd makes this retreat an enriching destination. Accommodations for the retreat are in one of two lovely, modern guesthouses with mountain views and all amenities.



Retreat Activities and Themes:

The Hero’s Journey:

When we think of myths, fairytales, legends and epic quests there are common themes throughout and different stages that the hero must go through in order to come out victorious. These stories have been passed down through ancient times by spoken word, written word and most recently in our films and tv shows. We see our heroes facing seemingly impossible tasks. We root for them as they face vilians and gain helpers and we cheer or cry for them when they come back triumphant.

What if we looked at our own lives as a Hero’s Journey? What if we envisioned ourselves as our own heroes in our own life’s story? How would we react differently to our everyday challenges and stressors? How would we cheer ourselves on when the going gets tough? What significance would it have on how we live each day, which adventures we say yes to, how we interpret our challenges and triumphs and how we showed up for ourselves and others?

Based on the writings and research of Joseph Campbell, the Hero’s Journey can be thought of as an archetypal story pattern that is so common in our fictional stories, but can have huge relevance when we apply the themes and stages to our own lives. During our retreat, we will do just that: apply these common themes to our own lives, gain an understanding of where we are on our journey and understand how to navigate your way forward with greater ease and awareness.





Day 1 – Call to Adventure: There is something that is calling you to this retreat right now. It could be a change in lifestyle, a question of purpose, a feeling that something is missing in your life, a quest for more peace and happiness or something that you can’t even name.  After settling into your accommodations, we start our journey together on Wednesday evening with a discussion on what called you to this retreat and what is calling you to the adventure of your life right now.

Day 2 – Meeting Your Helpers: In myths, legends, stories, fairy tales and real life, horses have always been an integral part of our lives as humans. They have been our guides, our teachers, our healers, our companions and our helpers for tens of thousands of years.

Today we meet our horse helpers for the retreat and ask them to give us the guidance, courage and strength we need to say yes to our own heroic journeys.

In addition to our horse helpers, we learn about and identify our spirit animals and/or spirit guides. They are here to offer us assistance, insight and healing on a deep soul level so we have what it takes to move forward.

Day 3 – Navigating the Trials: Once you begin your own heroic journey, there are many obstacles, fears and challenges along the way.  We immerse ourselves in a shamanic journey trance to learn how to view our challenges symbolically and call on help from the divine. By accessing the creative faculty of the soul’s imagination, we find ways through we hadn’t thought of before.

Today the work with the horses shows you what may be holding you back or getting in the way of your own forward progress. The guided exercises with the horses teach you how to navigate your obstacles with greater ease and grace.

Day 4 – Gaining the Blessing: What you gain from the hero’s journey is up to you. Discovering how to gather the boon (blessing) of your experiences is brought to your awareness through deep connection and mindfulness activities with the horses.

Afterwards, we engage in spiritual direction to invoke the grace of understanding and to discover how to incorporate our new insights into actions for our life’s journey.

Day 5 – The Return Trip: The hero’s journey ends with the return “flight” home. Taking the insight, awakenings and transformation of this retreat home with you is an important step. We work with the horses to integrate on all levels and discuss the art of re-entry into everyday life.


Wednesday, May 16th: Please plan to arrive at Morningstar Ranch by 5pm.
Dinner is ready to serve yourself when you arrive.
Evening meeting between 6:30 and 8:30pm.
If you arrive mid-day, you can also have a chance to meet the horses.

Thursday, May 17th – Saturday, May 19th: Retreat hours are 9am to 4pm daily.
Each day ends with a 4-6pm silent retreat time where you can journal, hike, meditate,
paint or whatever you choose to do that helps you integrate the learnings from the day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included each day.

Sunday, May 20th: Retreat hours are 9am – 12pm.
The afternoon is a massage and soak at Trimble Hot Springs.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included at the ranch.

Monday, May 21st: Breakfast, packing and farewell. Participants depart by 11am.



What is shamanism?

Shamanism is a worldview, a spiritual practice, and a healing modality. Many researchers have investigated spiritual practices around the globe and have discovered shamanic traditions at some point in the history of every society.

“Despite its reputation for being ancient or primitive practice, shamanic teachings are as applicable today as they were in ages past. Shamanism continues to be a wellspring of inner wisdom, mystical enlightenment, and healing artistry for all who pursue it.” –Matthew Magee in Peruvian Shamanism: The Pachakuti Mesa

A shaman is a healer for her community who is involved in all aspects of health: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. She is the mediator between the human community and the surrounding environment (i.e. nature). She performs healing ceremonies to remedy imbalances within individuals and communities, honor that which is greater than us (aka “Great Spirit”), and to solve mysteries.

What is a shamanic journey?

A shamanic journey is a waking dream ~ an adventure into the spirit world where guidance is found, spirit animals and helping spirits are revealed, healing is attained and and a stronger, more intimate connection to the the Divine is yours.

If you long to start or strengthen your connection with your spirit guides, if you want your soul to be uplifted, and if you are looking to feel more alive, partaking in a shamanic journey offers these benefits and many more.

During our weekend together, we journey to retrieve our spirit animals, delve into the realm of shamanism, and experience spiritual healing.

There’s no need to worry or have doubts about whether you can “do” this or whether your spirit animals will appear to you. You don’t have to have a great imagination or dream-life to be able to journey. Our shamanic practitioner will walk you step by step through the process, making it a comfortable and joyful experience.


What is equine guided coaching?

Throughout the weekend our coaches will help you discover your best life and the “you” you want to be through working with our intuitive horses and discovering the messages that they are giving us.  Activities will include both individual and group work with our equine partners and will build upon the messages that you are receiving in your journeys.

If you’ve never participated in any form of equine guided coaching or learning, you are in for a big treat!  Horses are uniquely gifted at showing you exactly what you need in order to move forward towards your best life. They help you find that “aha” moment and see clearly what are your roadblocks and barriers – real and perceived. They aren’t magicians, but simply intuitive animals that have lived thousands of years in a hierarchical herd, dependent on their awareness, relationships and nonverbal communication for their very survival – much the same as people. Over the years, humans have lost much of that awareness, mindfulness, intuition and our own inner wisdom – the very things that guide us towards happiness and success.

During our equine guided coaching sessions, you will learn how to be present in the moment, pay attention to your inner wisdom and come up with the answers to create lasting transformation.


What are Archetypes?

Archetypes are “universal patterns of power” that coordinate how you think and feel. An archetype is the original or first pattern from which all others are made of. We all have certain archetypes that are ours to express, but it is easiest to start with looking at the archetypes other people have. You might meet someone for the first time and say, “She’s such an angel” or when a friend gets pushy with you, you might exclaim, “Stop being such a bully!”  In this retreat, we will explore your most familiar archetypes, help you discover possible new archetypes and bring awareness into the light and shadow aspects of each.



What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is the process by which we explore questions about the nature of the cosmos, spirits, higher powers and our soul. Spiritual direction is a dialogue that delves deep into the mystery of life between a guide (called a Spiritual Director) and a seeker. In spiritual direction we explore mystical experiences that are beyond words, but that long to be expressed. Many of us start on the healing path simply because we want to feel better, but true healing leads us into the sacred. Once we are empowered enough we find that, we stop pursuing the problems of our past and start pondering mysteries of the Divine. This can help open up our lives to the greater mysteries and give us the strength and power to move forward in a more empowered and clearer way.






Meet your human guides and facilitators:

Hello, I’m Stacey Couch, the owner of Wild Gratitude. I am a Spiritual Director that is certified in both Shamanic Practice and Archetypal Consulting.

My calling is to help you, the spiritual seeker, discover your inner wisdom and enter into an intimate relationship with your soul. A mentor in symbolic sight, I am here to support your ability to see the overarching cosmic design in your life.

I adore the company of equines and over the years I’ve found these powerful beasts to be the best companions on the spiritual path. As an avid horse enthusiast, I have hundreds of hours natural horsemanship training and years treasured in the company my own horses. Professionally, I support individual clients via Equine Guided Spiritual Direction.

Equines provide a magical compliment to a deep devotional practice. Their immediate feedback points to what is stirring in our souls. The innate wisdom of horses offers profound healing. A horse’s powerful presence taps into an intuitive knowing that helps us find our way through to our own creative selves and to the divine. I so look forward to the opportunity to be your guide on your spiritual journey with horses!

(Pictured here: Stacey with her two mustang mares – Mable (left) and Cherokee (right))



Hi, I’m Trish Lemke, the creator and face of Joy Rides.

I am a certified Equine Interactional Professional in Education and a certified Martha Beck Life Coach.  But more importantly, I am a lifelong student of the horse and have a lifelong curiosity of humans.

I will be your personal coach, guide and confidante for all of my offerings, every step of the way. I followed my heart into this business, first and foremost, because of my love for horses. I followed my gut into this business because of my love for helping people rekindle their passions and reignite their spark.

But I also love exploring places near and far, immersing myself in different cultures, having deep conversations with friends new and old and exploring personal growth through experiencing life. So I followed my head and discovered a way that I can live my dreams and help other people discover and live theirs too.

If you are ready to jump into awareness of what it means to live your best life, I’m ready to explore the hows and whys with you.

Combining horses, people and travel is like a dream come true for me every day and it is my deepest wish to help you discover and live your dreams too!


Students of all levels, beginners to experts, are welcome in this workshop.

Worried you need to have horse experience or own a horse? You do not need to have horse experience or own a horse to attend this workshop. We have horses of all experience levels available and welcome beginners through advanced horse-men and –women. We will only be working with horses at the ranch. No outside horses may come.

Are you brand new to shamanism? No worries! Stacey Couch starts you from the ground up in your shamanic journey practice so that you can make the most out of this weekend of awakening.

Are you a current student of shamanism? That’s great! There are a couple hours that are a review of shamanic journey techniques for you, but you have the opportunity to delve deeper into the technique as well as learn from other student’s experience. Each shamanic journey workshop is different!



Traveling Information:

Where to Fly In

The closest airport is Durango International Airport. It is approximately 50 minutes (30 miles) from the ranch. Vehicle rentals are available at the airport.

You will be connected to other students prior to the workshop to coordinate carpools and/or shared rentals if you’d like.

Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Sunport International Airport is a easy and beautiful 4 hour drive away.

Driving In

Durango, CO is located in rural southwest Colorado and is surrounded by the beautiful peaks of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain views are breathtaking and there are a myriad of outdoor activities around. Driving time from Denver is approximately 6.5 hours, from Salt Lake City, UT and Phoenix, AZ is approximately 7 hours, and from Albuquerque, NM is approximately 4 hours.

Cancellation policy

Workshop payments minus a non-refundable $450 deposit are refundable up to 60 days prior to the workshop dates. 50% of workshop fees are refundable within 30-60 days prior to the workshop. Within 30 days of the retreat all fees are non-refundable. All refunds for credit card payments are subject to a 3% processing fee. You may transfer your registration for the workshop to another person.

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