Welcome to the Still Waters Blog

What’s new

It’s been nearly a year since our fire in the main house and time has surely flown. We’ve been working with our public adjuster, insurance company, bookkeeper, accountant, architect and builder to restore Still Waters Retreat Center to it’s happy place: hosting groups. Since that day in March 2014, we converted Still Waters Pond LLC to a social enterprise, Still Waters Retreat Center, Inc.. We were the first retreat center in Connecticut, possibly the nation, to become a benefit corporation. By doing so, we’re building a company that gives back. We’ll be sharing details of this process as it unfolds.

We’re not yet taking reservations for late 2015, when we hope our renovations will be complete. We do not know the exact timeframe so until we do, we only have a waiting list for our prospective retreat clients. If you are a retreat leader interested in visiting Still Waters when we’re ready for tours again, please contact us. If you are a retreat attendee and want to learn more about our offerings, group reservations or R&R retreats, sign up for our email list on the home page. We look forward to being of service in the future to all our guests.


Update on the Main House fire

For those not aware, Still Waters experienced a house fire on Sunday, March 30, 2014. In this video below, Amy LaBossiere, managing partner of Still Waters, provides details.



Thank you for your patience and understanding as we sort out the details of moving forward. Tao and I are extremely grateful to the Voluntown Volunteer Fire Department for their swift response and hard work to help save the house and ensure everyone was safe. We hope everyone takes extra measures this year to check their smoke detectors and fire alarms.


Greening Our Cleaning

I grew up in a household that used Comet, Ajax, Mr. Clean and Soft Scrub. We didn’t question the safety of these products; we just used them. We had an unconscious unawareness of what we were doing.

A few years ago when I really started increasing my personal consciousness, I took an inventory of all the products I use like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and makeup. It was unbelievable to see how many toxic ingredients are in the everyday stuff we use. When we consider the ingredients in the things around us, there is a toxic load that we are exposed to. One item may be considered “safe” in a small dose and on its own. But combine everything we use and we’re cooking a toxic soup!imageforblog

As I continually evolve toward a higher consciousness in everything I buy, consume and use to sustain my life and businesses, I also consider my cleaning products. I am working toward creating Still Waters as a social enterprise and am committed to the sacred space of our beautiful location. It is logical that I do everything that I can to take good care the earth that is sustaining us.

Here’s what I’ve found on cleaning products with a quick search:

From epa.gov:

Cleaning products can present several health and environmental concerns. They may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues. Additionally, the concentrated forms of some commercial cleaning products are classified as hazardous, creating potential handling, storage, and disposal issues for users. Reducing the human health and environmental concerns is an important incentive for implementing an EPP cleaning products program.

Volatile organic compounds, used to enhance the performance of a product, can impair neurological functions, while other chemicals can act as respiratory irritants, carcinogens or reproductive toxins, depending upon the extent of exposure, according to the National Environmental Trust and other environmental groups.

There is little regulation of cleaning chemicals, and there are virtually no labeling requirements to let people know what they are exposing themselves and the planet to.

There is a ton of information on the web about this. Here are two articles to take a look at for deeper analysis.



Moving forward, I commit to using good products that stand behind their safety, both personally and professionally at Still Waters and in my art studio. I am not interested in companies that greenwash, simply marketing their products as safe and green. I want the real deal. Two companies that are walking their talk are both social enterprises: Seventh Generation and Method. I don’t get anything by mentioning them, as I am not an affiliate or distributor. They don’t even know I’m mentioning them. I feel good using these products because of what the companies stand for. I’ll use these as well as learn how to create my own healthy and effective cleaning products from vinegar, baking soda and whatever I can learn from my green cleaning book and online research.

I would love your feedback on this. Let me know what you think.

How important is this issue to you? What products or companies are you working with and that you trust? Do you prefer to do business with companies that respect the environment and commit to green cleaning practices? Do you make your own?

Please comment below and share. Thank you!


Guest Blog: The Why, When and How of Successful Retreats

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Below is a guest blog post by organizational development consultants Ora Grodsky and Jeremy Philips of Just Works Consulting in Boston, MA.


Recently, one of our clients posed a question we’ve heard many times.

“I’m new in this leadership role, and I’m thinking I should get everyone
together for a retreat,” she said, “but I’m just not sure. What do you
As consultants supporting organizations working for social change, we’ve
led hundreds of retreats, and we’re big fans. In fact, retreats might be our
favorite thing to do. But not everyone feels this way. We’ve heard many
tales of retreats gone wrong, leaving participants retreat weary and wary.
Retreats are powerful when they bring the right people together at the
right time for the right reasons with the right process. Retreats allow us to
step away from our daily responsibilities and see each other, our assumptions
and our work with a wider lens and a different perspective. Retreats
can enable us to access different parts of our hearts and minds, create new
curiosity, generate momentum and good will, and move our work forward
in powerful ways.
But sometimes having a retreat works, and sometimes it doesn’t. What’s
the difference between time well spent and time misspent? What makes a
retreat worth the considerable time, energy and expense it demands?
We’ve set out to answer these questions here.

Read the rest of this blog post via the pdf here.


Guest Blog: The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster/ Practicing Non-Attachment in Business

Below was written by Jodie Kallas, a yoga group leader that hosted a wonderful retreat at Still Waters last year. Read on, and enjoy!

The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster/ Practicing Non-Attachment in Business mom 002-1

Its been almost one year to the day since I locked the door at my studio and walked away (relieved, but very sad) for the last time…

I “lived my dream” of  building and owning a yoga studio/tea café for 18 months and after working myself to the bone, physically—and more importantly emotionally—I was a “train wreck”. No one functions well under constant stress, and I was functioning not only as a business owner, my business was YOGA! I owned and taught in a place where people came to relax, heal, and feel better. How could I possibly deliver to others what I myself wasn’t getting? This is not a blog about what went wrong (that would take WAY too much screen real estate). This is about how, in spite of what went on, I learned through hindsight, yoga, picking myself up, and dusting myself off,  how to stay off the roller coaster and practice non-attachment in business. No one can tell you how your business will go—all your best efforts can go unrewarded, or you could seemingly stumble upon a fantastic opportunity, and be rolling in cash quickly. The most important lesson I learned is to operate from a non –attached and therefore a NON-REACTIVE place. Have a plan. Be willing to deviate when you have to, and never lose sight of your purpose. If you have not heard this before, pay attention now. If MAKING MONEY is your sole or number one purpose or motivator, walk away, get a good-paying job, and help someone else accomplish their goals, while collecting a regular pay check. The money-motivator goal will have you on the most sickening ride you can imagine.

So, here’s my list: Read more..

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