Featured Articles for Past Retreats
(Previously known as 'Red Retreats' & 'Retreats For The Soul')



Exploring art, adventure, life and love in Wanaka 


Tanette Hickey and Lee Ball are organising the Shine retreat for women in October.

Four years ago, I meet Tanette Hickey and Lee Ball, the masterminds behind next month's Shine retreat for women in Wanaka.
I'd not reflected much about mindfulness at that time, but tackled the subject in a feature article about their new business venture delivering transformational wellbeing for women.
It's business as usual for the busy, university-educated business women, creatives and mothers.
There's been a lot of water under the bridge for each of us. Many things have been mastered. The key thing is that Hickey and Ball have remained constant to their goal of helping women transform on a personal level.
They have several successful Wanaka retreats under their belt, have expanded their concept to Wellington and continue to stitch new stories into the colourful tapestry of their lives.
(Some things have not been mastered. I still fall asleep the second I try to meditate.) 
Wanaka has proved an excellent location for their work in the wellness industry, they say.
"It is a commitment. But it is really juicy. Talking about it is so much fun," Hickey said.

Wanaka is a particularly energetic town and with people so busy doing things, they are not necessarily taking time to just "be".
That's not a bad thing, Hickey asserts. It's just it can be hard to find the balance.
She jokes about her attire: teaming jeans and flat soled boots with a frilly, floating long top. She's ready to climb a mountain, if required, within one minute's notice.
The balance of doing and being is just one thing women might want to tackle at one of their retreats.
Ball says it's a chance to check whether you are in line with yourself, tapping into your deeper calling. 
Many women move to Wanaka and find they cannot have jobs in the careers they trained for because those opportunities don't exist in a small town.
So women start to look within themselves for inspiration and to master other aspects of themselves. The result is that many Wanaka women become creatives or entrepreneurs. 
"Each woman is different. We are all looking for our authentic self. We are all on that journey. I came here at the end of a marriage, I think I must still ask myself every day, "Who am I? Am I living true to my heart, true to my values"?" Ball said.
Hickey says women begin to shine when they explain what they really want to do.
"Don't hide it inside yourself for years. Let it out! That's when we say you are shining," she said.
They expect about 18 participants will attend their next non-residential retreat, Shine, in Wanaka at Labour Weekend.
 About half are coming from Wanaka and half from around New Zealand.
"This is a good number to work with, a good size," Hickey said.
Three guest facilitators will be at Shine. They are yoga instructor Susan Allen, sexologist Nina Powell, and nutrition adviser Sarah Baumanis.
Hickey and Ball will co-facilitate the transformation workshops, which include meditation, mindfulness, and movement.
What: Shine Retreat: The Art and Adventure of Creating A Life You Love.
Where: River House, Albert Town
When: October 21-24.
More info: shineretreatsnz.com

Time For You To SHINE!

 “Increased Health, A Fitter Thinner Body, More Money, A Better Relationship”…. the mind goes on and on and the treadmill of achieving all the “too dos” can be SUPER OVERWHELMING making you want to curl up on the couch and avoid the whole situation at all.  This is where we pause the ‘life button’ & take time out to remind ourselves of the unique, perfect & brilliant individuals we all are regardless of anything we do or have. This is also where Tanette Hickey & Lee Ball come into the equation offering their unique SHINE: `The Art & Adventure of Creating A Life You Love’ 3 day Non-Residential Retreat/Workshop. Here they invite Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, &Wives (Goddesses) to commit to their own well-being, clarity & direction. The purpose of this Retreat/ Workshop is to offer a magical environment in which you arrive to: Have time out; Be nourished by delicious food and clear like minded women; Learn a do-able yoga practice; Shown Mindfulness techniques to find peace of mind; & enjoy Transformational workshops which give step by step methods to find personal clarity & direction. Tanette & Lee have offered these Retreats/Workshops to hundreds of women throughout New Zealand over the last seven years and bring a wealth of professional and experiential knowledge & methods to share as well as having bonus guest facilitators. These Retreat/Workshops are full of fun, flavor and goodness for your spirit and allow you to arrive back home with a sense of fullness, clarity, inspiration, direction & joy………..We look forward to seeing you on Retreat.

Retreat to find a way forward

Red Retreats facilitators Tanette Hickey (left) and Lee Ball, of Lake Hawea, advocate a holistic...
Red Retreats facilitators Tanette Hickey (left) and Lee Ball, of Lake Hawea, advocate a holistic approach to life's activities. Photo by Marjorie Cook.
It's an increasingly fast-paced world, with more and sometimes seemingly pointless demands being made on people's time and resources. How do you sort the good from the bad? How do you find peace of mind? Wanaka reporter Marjorie Cook talks to the women behind Red Retreats, who advocate a programme of mindfulness, meditation and movement.
Fill in the gaps in this sentence: If only ( . . . ) I would be able to ( . . . ).
Now, see how many times you can write this sentence with a different middle and ending.
It should be easy. Most of us do it daily.
"If only I won Lotto I would be able to quit my job and do something I really liked."
"If only I had a boyfriend who really liked tramping I would be able to do the Milford Track."
"If only my mother hadn't made me wear that dress that everyone laughed at when I was a child I would be able to confidently go out in public."
The scenarios range from the ridiculous (a shocking experience with a tomato which means you can't eat them although you know they are good for you) to the deadly serious (the reason you hate your parents).
They are all valid experiences, but are examples of living your life because of things that happened in the past, or haven't happened and may not even happen.
Red Retreats facilitators Tanette Hickey, Lee Ball and Felicity Yellin would have you break that cycle and live in the present moment.
For some, it could be as easy as realising it is OK to go tramping with someone who isn't your boyfriend. (Or, ditching the lazy couch-bound layabout).
For others, the epiphany might take a lot more hard work, using things like counselling, life coaching or meditation.
On October 29, Red Retreats is holding a women's only retreat at the Lookout Lodge in the Maungawera Valley near Lake Hawea, based around "mindfulness, meditation and movement to increase personal wellbeing and greater peace of mind".
Lee Ball is a mother of six, has a BA in history, is an advanced toastmaster and public speaking trainer, a life coach, psychodrama trainee and artist.
She has been living for six months at Lake Hawea, which is also home to Tanette Hickey.
Tanette is a mother and artist with qualifications in parks and recreation management, life coaching and counselling.
She has lived in the Upper Clutha district for about 14 years.

Dunedin-based Felicity Yellin rounds out the Red Retreats trio.
Formerly a Lake Hawea resident, Felicity has a history degree in therapeutic recreation, is a youth social worker and a permaculture student.
All three women enjoy working with groups and have long held dreams of running retreats, with next month's initiative the first step in a programme they hope to offer to a wider range of people and not just women.
So how does living in the present moment help? Does it work for this busy, community-minded trio and are there any secrets to doing it?Tanette agrees being mindful of the present moment may mean backing off from the types of goal-centred action plans similar to what a personal trainer at the gym might give you.
Each person is different and what works for some may not suit others, she says.
"The overall thing is mindfulness. Become aware of how you operate, the thoughts that hold you back, visions you have for yourself, habits you know you have and even habits you don't know you have," she said.
Lee stresses it is important not to torture yourself by going over past mistakes while Tanette points out it's about recognising the falsities behind thoughts - especially the inner voices that say you will only be right once you meet the right person, get the right job or lose a certain amount of weight.
Once you have identified the blocking thoughts, it is up to you whether to deal with it.
For some, it is enough to know what the blocks are.
For others, it may mean confronting your mother about that childhood frock or letting go of the hateful things others might have done to you.
The women say it can be a jubilant and celebratory moment, realising "you are all right the way you are right now", although sometimes that comes after the tears.
Lee says a lot of her life was spent seeking external approval from others, resulting in her working hard to achieve and succeed rather than loving herself.
She uses meditation to understand her "inner voice".
"I don't beat myself up now. I am at a really good place in my life. I don't react so much to external things that come my way and I don't take things so personally.
"It is a work though. A work in progress. There's always something that will come up in life that will test you. And then you think: `Well, there I go'," Lee said.
From her meditative moments, Lee started doing art.
She is now starting a business to market the cards she has created.
That's a tangible result, although a tangible result is not compulsory.
"There is no standard of vision. Even a vision like being a really good mother or really good father, or planting a garden and growing your own food . . . a lot of the time it is about being able to let go of what you perceive to be success as well," Tanette said.
There are all sorts of retreats around the world - from hardcore boot camps to spa and sauna pamper sessions.
There's couples counselling, executive rark-ups and organisations focusing on living with a range of illnesses.
The Red Retreats facilitators place themselves around the "half-way" mark on the activities front, espousing good healthy food (including chocolate), music and movement, wonderful scenery, friendship and reflection.
The facilitators advocate a holistic approach to life's activities rather than creating a singled-focused career plan to become the chief executive officer of Telecom (for argument's sake) in six years.
In time, living in a state of mindfulness and in the present moment leads naturally to generosity and a desire to be of service to others, Tanette says.
"It is an evolution and happens as a matter of course once you get rid of that "I can't do that, I haven't got this, the I - I - I," Tanette said.
Participants will be given things to think about and tools to take away, but the women say it is not about leaving as a better model of yourself.
"The biggest secret to peace of mind in life is breathing - seriously," Lee says.