Top News

JULIA COOK: Finding focus in the fall

Cacao ceremonies take place every few months at Now n Zen Wellness Centre.
Cacao ceremonies take place every few months at Now n Zen Wellness Centre. - Julia Cook

Now n Zen Wellness Centre in Stratford is offering a series of workshops to help re-centre people as they head into another work (or school) year.

While the fall is a time to harvest, it can also be a time for renewal. People are returning to work, school and their daily routine. It’s also the time many people sign up to new classes, make new resolutions and, yes, get gym memberships.

Focusing on improvement of the mind and body was always on their agenda, but now Now n Zen Wellness Centre in Stratford is offering workshops to help spiritually.

“Often people will be mid-life and they have been ‘on track’, but they are not consciously designing or creating their life,” said Yvette Doucette, the owner of the Wellness Centre. “All of us can take a moment to invest in ourselves and get clear on life-goals.”

This weekend at Now n Zen, Carol Richard is offering what’s called a vision board workshop. Participants will be thinking about what kind of life they want to be living and what’s really important to them. It’s being led by Richard with assistance from Doucette.

“Vision boards are thought of as cutting out pretty pictures and imagining yourself in those pretty pictures. But a real vision board workshop goes far beyond that. You can attract ideal outcomes in your life. You can identify and let go of what is holding you back from the life you want.”

Those in the workshop will first take time getting clarity on what is important to them. After that, it’s about taking that new knowledge and visually designing what you want in life. It takes place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. this weekend at Now n Zen (17 Glen Stewart Dr. in Stratford). The information can be found on Now n Zen’s Facebook page.

A little over a week after that, the centre is hosting a Cacao Ceremony on Sept. 25. It’s being led by Katlin Doyle of Nurturing Essence Raw Cacao and is usually offered during a full moon, new moon or a major event such as New Year’s Eve. Each ceremony has a theme, and this month’s is focusing on the change of seasons and transitions in lives.

While the event itself starts at 7 p.m., Doyle spends the day preparing, including prepping the cacao itself. Then, that evening, people will sit in circle to experience the heart-opening experience of Mama Cacao.

About a month after I came home from Newfoundland I went to one of these ceremonies. First, people were invited to place a special item they had brought with them on the altar to be blessed throughout the ceremony. After that, Doyle explained the ceremony and the meaning behind it. People were passed cups of the hot drink, hand over hand, around the circle, until everyone had a cup of the cacao. Once everyone had one, they would focus on their intentions and sip cacao together.

Once people had time to reflect, participants were asked to share what they were thinking and feeling.

“It’s a way to connect to community,” explained Doucette. “It’s an opportunity to let your heart be open. It is an opportunity to say, authentically what is going on in your life as it relates to the theme of the event. It is a wonderful sharing of life-knowledge.”

Whether you believe in the blessings of Mama Cacao, both the experience of the Cacao ceremony and the vision board workshop give you time to reflect and think about your life. Often when we return back from summer we rush into everything at once. Workshops such as these ask us to take a moment to breathe before we dive into another busy year.

It’s been a busy and chaotic summer for myself, between drag performances, burlesque and music. And that’s not even including the 50 hours of work I was putting in each week. And, frankly, I’m exhausted. It’s easy to lose yourself in all that kind of mayhem.

So, I look forward to the fall to breathe, re-start and take a breath and a sip of cacao before the next busy season starts.


If you go

What: Vision Board workshop

When and where: Saturday at Now‘n Zen Wellness Centre in Stratford, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets: On Eventbrite

Contact: carol.richard@live.com to book space


Julia Cook is an entertainment columnist for The Guardian. She can be reached at Julia.Cook@theguardian.pe.ca.

Recent Stories