Local life coach and hospice nurse Michelle Massie is organizing an overnight women's retreat at The Table in Elgin, N.D., to give women a self-care break from their busy lives.
"I know firsthand how often women put their needs and their self-care on the backburner, working in the health career field, being a mom, so I wanted to create a nurturing night for women," Massie said.
The retreat, called For the Heart, begins at 5 p.m. Feb. 22 and will include restorative yoga, group coaching, journaling time, individual massages, art therapy exercises, meditation and prayer time.
Massie went to her first retreat in North Dakota about a year and a half ago.
"The connection from women, the friendships I gained, the healing that happened was amazing," she said. "It was like watching them come together in a circle to love each other and hold space for each other and just truly nurture themselves and each other."
Massie wanted to bring those experiences to the people here, especially women who may feel isolated.
"I feel like we're a town that has a lot of people that come and go," she said "... I'm really looking for women of all different kinds to come together, especially those ones who are feeling alienated or alone or lost in this new town of theirs."
Massie hopes to bring women together to practice self-care.
"What I see with the retreat is women coming together for 24 hours to nourish themselves," she said. "I truly believe that we can't take care of anybody else until you take care of yourself. I just want to leave them with a full cup so they can go back into the world ... with a little bit extra pep in their step, a little bit more peace in their heart."
Massie owns Feeding Your Own Soul Coaching, which she describes as "a heart-centered practice that offers holistic healing and therapeutic coaching to nourish the mind, body, and soul."
She uses essential oils, healing touch energy therapy and other holistic practices. She helps people to acknowledge their emotions and focus on perspective.
"I feel like a lot of life is perception, and a lot of people's perception isn't always the bright side," Massie said. "If we can gently turn that around and get people to flourish and see the beauty in everyday life ... that's what we're all here for."
Her work as a hospice nurse helps put things in perspective for her.
"If there's one thing I've learned these last few years, it's the life is precious," she said. "Hospice patients teach us how to live as they're dying."
Massie was first exposed to holistic healing when she was in nursing school.
"I was extremely sick in my 20s, physically sick ... numerous surgeries, numerous hospitalizations," she said.
Massie's friend told her that she thought a lot of her problems were stemming from her past, from stress and anxiety.
"She said, 'I would love for you to see this woman at least one time and see how it goes,'" Massie said.
That woman was a holistic healer, whom Massie saw sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly.
"She was just a safe space for me to look at a lot of the patterns and feelings I was holding in," she said.
From then, Massie knew she wanted to be a healer, too.
"It was my own healing, my own breakdown. ... I know that because I had those people on my side cheering me on, that I wanted to be a cheerleader/mentor for people," she said.
Now she is, providing coaching to women and children.
"I see clients who have a lot of emotional concerns," she said. "They're sad; they're angry; they're mad. They don't know why their life doesn't feel right."
Massie offers them a safe space to learn about and care for themselves, like she was once given.