Welcome to the Conscious Choice Mini-Retreat! I’m thrilled you’ve decided to join us!


To help you make the most of the mini-retreat, please read and take the steps below.

First! Fill out the participant questionnaire as soon as possible. I craft the mini-retreat with your needs in mind, so the more you share with me, the more I can take your needs into account.

How to engage with the mini-retreat (a step-by-step intro to our structure):

  1. Attend the live online workshop on Saturday, October 14, 10am-12:30pm EST, Zoom. Attend live or schedule a time to engage with the workshop as soon in the week as possible. We will send audio and video recordings and a written transcript on Monday, October 16, in case you cannot attend live.

Here is the Zoom link: Meeting ID: 301 381 7161 Passcode: 123456 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3013817161?pwd=YmpxRndWRlg3Qjd6R1RxMWg0UjdLdz09

I recommend adding the workshop along with the Zoom link to your calendar now, choosing a space to sit/stand during the course that is as distraction-free and comfortable as possible, and bringing something to write with to class.

Please arrive five minutes early and hang out in the waiting room. We will begin promptly at 10am EST on Saturday, October 14. We have much to explore together, and you support the whole group when you arrive on time.

  1. Commit to showing up each day of the mini-retreat. For the six days following the initial workshop, I’ll send you an email with a daily lesson and a practice prompt.

I encourage you to schedule a specific time each day when you’ll dedicate about thirty minutes to practice—reading and listening to the teaching, engaging with the practice, and sharing insights and questions in our group forum. If there’s a day that you know you cannot show up, be honest with yourself and schedule a time to make that up.

Ideally, schedule this mini-retreat time at the same time every day, as that will likely make it easier to form a habit of practicing.

I personally like to engage in these practices before going to bed at night, and now that they’re integrated into my life, they usually take less than five minutes.

  1. Download these printouts and put them by your bed: 
  1. The Discernment Pause Cue Card
  2. The Feelings Lists
  3. The Needs Inventory
  1. Ask your questions and share your insights in the Conscious Choice Slack Channel. Throughout our time together, share your questions and insights in the Conscious Choice Slack channel. Sharing your questions and insights will help you deepen your learning and reading others’ takeaways will help you learn as well.

I will check our Slack channel twice a day throughout the mini-retreat, and I will respond to every question. If your question merits a longer response than I am able to give immediately, I will create a podcast episode or write a love letter answering your question, and I will send it back to you within a week of you asking.

Please ask your questions! We humans often learn best through conversation. The more you take advantage of this unique opportunity to ask me your questions, the more you will get out of this experience.

When you ask a question, please state whether the question is just for me or if you’d like others to respond as well. Click here to join the Conscious Choice Slack channel.

Please do the following to deepen and support your own learning:

  1. Amp up the deliciousness. How can you make this mini-retreat delicious for yourself? I invite you to choose a cozy place to practice, perhaps somewhere with natural light or a view of nature, if possible. You might want to brew your favorite beverage. Or change out of your work clothes. Or put on soothing music. Get curious about how you can add deliciousness to your workshop and practice time, and give yourself the gift of integrating whatever deliciousness that feels possible now
  1. Track new insights, investigate what works for you, and do more of that. As you move through the course, stay curious. Keep a journal with you during the class, and jot down insights, rememberings, and questions that arise. 

Allow yourself to be skeptical. Listen to your body. Pay attention to what works for you and what works less well. When things work, do more of that. If you try multiple times, and practices don’t work for you, take a break. Rest. Nourish yourself. Try again, or not. 

  1. Pay attention to how you feel, and take care of yourself. Some of the practices I share will invite you to reconnect with your body, and if you’ve disconnected from your body to protect yourself from pain, these practices can activate old pain. 

So, as you move through the course, please pay attention to your body. If you begin to get overwhelmed while you practice, don’t push yourself. When people push themselves too hard to feel good, they can experience what Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer call backdraft. In The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, they write: “Backdraft is a term that firefighters use to describe what happens when a fire has used all available oxygen and fresh oxygen is introduced through an open door or window. The air rushes in and flames rush out.”

 If you begin to feel overwhelmed, please take care of yourself. Pause. Scan the room you’re in for signs of safeness. Squeeze your hands and feet. Gently tap your chest with your hands. Sweep your hands over your arms. Gently tap your chest with your hands. Stand up. Walk around. Drink water. Feel free to opt out of practices.

 If you engage in the practices but experience no impact, or if the practices activate a sense of overwhelm or you feel like you’re leaving your body even as you try to reconnect, that might be a sign that it could be helpful to seek out a trauma-informed therapist who can support you in this process. I highly recommend trying to find a therapist with training in Internal Family Systems. 

  1. Remember that all of your decisions and actions are your responsibility. This program is not a substitute or replacement for counseling, psychotherapy, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, or professional advice by legal, medical, financial, or other qualified professionals. You are entirely responsible for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being during the program, including your choices and decisions.
  1. Share your feedback and requests with me (Katherine). It matters to me that you receive the support you need. If you have any questions whatsoever, please share them in the Slack channel (and if you can’t access the Slack channel for some reason, please email me at katherine@callingsandcourage.com. Either my assistant or I will get back to you within two business days. 

And, if at any point throughout the mini-retreat, you’d like to share feedback with me in a more confidential manner, either sharing something you love or asking for change, please click here. Your feedback helps me improve the program for you and for other participants (current and future) with similar needs.

 I may not be able to implement all suggestions, but I will do my best to take them into account. Thank you in advance for dedicating the time and effort to provide me with your thoughts and feedback.

Please do the following to care for each other & minimize harm in our live workshop and online forum:

  1. Share responsibility for holding space. Although I (Katherine) am primarily responsible for holding this space, we each have a role in creating a supportive learning environment for everyone here. Please be mindful of your impact on others. 
  1. Listen with the intent to learn and support.
  2. Do not offer unsolicited advice or reassurance. Do not attempt to fix your fellow participants or get them to feel differently than they do. 
  1. Respect external & internal confidentiality. You are welcome to share things that I/Katherine say with people outside of the group, but do not mention who I said it to. Carry away the lessons you learn from fellow participants, but do not discuss the details of other participants’ stories outside the class.

 If you want to reference something another participant shared, either in the group conversation or with that individual either during class or after the class is complete, ask their explicit permission first. 

  1. Share “needs met” and “gifts received.” In the chat and pair-shares, share how your fellow participants’ sharings are a gift for you or meet your needs. For example, if a participant shares something vulnerable and tender, rather than giving an evaluative statement, like “Wow, you’re so courageous!”, share “need met for courage” or “gift received for witnessing holding vulnerability with courage.”

 Finally, do you have a friend who you’d love to share this experience with and who you think might benefit? If so, I encourage you to invite them to join you for the mini-retreat. That way, you can offer each other accountability, process your experiences together, and better integrate what you’re learning.

 And for extra support, if this is your friend’s first time attending one of my mini-retreats, please gift them my Pay-it-Forward Discount. They can take $50 off enrollment with the code friendsdiscount. Here’s some language you might use to invite them (feel free to just copy and paste or edit).

 As Lakota-Cherokee psychiatrist and shaman, Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, writes: “We need comrades to support new behaviors. We change because the people around us expect us to be different. If we remain isolated, we stay the same. The audience is required for a new play to go forward.”

 I look forward to sharing this experience with you and seeing you on Saturday, October 14 at 10am!

 In celebration and gratitude,


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