Kimberly Shultz, MA, LPC-MHSP
Time for a little time-traveling back to January 2010...
While on our anniversary trip in Gatlinburg, TN we took a drive through Smoky Mountain National Park to Cades Cove, God gave me a vision of doing retreats out in nature in the mountains.
I was still in Grad school to become a therapist and had no desire or plans of ever working for myself, much less doing anything like a retreat. Originally, I never even wanted to be a therapist! I had never been to a retreat and didn't know they even existed.
In this vision, I was flooded with ideas, images, and even given the name "Serenity." I was scared to death, as I had never experienced anything like this before. I wasn't sure what to make of it all. I'm an introvert, usually quiet and I was very shy. I remember asking, "why me?" and immediately being "led." My husband didn't understand what was happening either and said, "I'm not religious at all and even I can't deny what's happening."
I told my husband we needed to leave Cades Cove as I was being led to go into town, and I was then led to a store in town which happened to be a Christian bookstore. I was then told, "Wait...wait for that woman to move...now pick that up." It was then that I picked up a bookmark with the verse Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future."
As you can imagine I'm really freaking out now. We walked around town, and I was still being flooded with very clear images and ideas. I was exhausted and I told my husband that we needed to go back to our hotel, and he said "Yes, I want to look up that verse." He picked up the bible in the room and said, "you won't believe this, it's underlined!" I never thought God would continue to show me his plans, in fact, I hoped he wouldn't.
Years went by, and I thought he was done with me as I hadn't been shown anything else.
And then in 2018, I attended my first retreat at Deer Run led by the amazing and wonderful Dr. Ted Klontz. It was then that all my memories came flooding back and the vision returned to me. I was immediately filled with fear again as I realized that the very retreat that I was at was very similar to what I was shown to do in 2010. Then at another one of Ted's retreats, I was talking to one of the men there and he looked at me and said "I keep getting the word "Serenity" does that mean anything to you? I was shocked and told him my story, God kept giving me bread crumbs.
I knew then that God's plan for me was still unfolding...
Well, here we are 13 years later, and God still gives me pieces of the puzzle of HIS plan. I am no longer filled with fear, I am no longer shy and afraid to talk to groups and do retreats, I am now filled with Gratitude and excitement to see what's next!!!
This is only the beginning...
So, what is a Retreat like?
All of our retreats will be experiential and in nature. You will get as little or as much as you want out of our retreats. The goal is to provide time for self-care, connection and rejuvenation. We all need time and space to clear our minds. All of our retreats will be designed for connection and to promote healing and overall wellbeing.
We will start each retreat with a meet and greet followed by a welcome dinner. After dinner, we will be settling into our rooms and getting to know each other.
The following day, we will gather and discuss our goals and expectations for the retreat. We will discuss coping strategies and give you the tools that you need for your toolbox. Some of our retreats involve journaling and soft "suggestions". Everything is optional as we want everyone to get exactly what they need from our retreats. We will gather together in small groups to discuss certain topics and to process. We will end each day with plenty of time for fun, reflection, relaxation and connection. You may want to hang out by the firepit or read a book...
This is not therapy. These are wellness retreats so sometimes retreats open up "big" feelings and a lot of stuff comes to the surface. This can be very therapeutic and healing to work on in our small groups.
However, if you are there to focus on something particular, please feel free to let Kimberly know and she will gladly give you some ideas for your stay to promote healing.
Our first retreat was focused on wellness and Self-care which included yoga, massages, artwork, journaling, walking, relaxation and connection. Our fall retreat will be focused on Couples intimacy and connection. Future retreats may be focused on Grief, Trauma or other therapeutic work.
Each of the retreats will look a little different and will be in different locations. However, they are all experiential and healing. Activities available at the retreats will be based upon location. For more information regarding the retreats and upcoming events like and follow our Facebook page.
All retreats will include food and lodging unless specified otherwise. Travel expenses are not included.
Are these Christian retreats?
Yes, I am a Christian, however, our retreats are not Christian based and Serenity retreats welcomes everyone! Our retreats are a safe and judgement free zone and we want everyone to feel loved and welcomed.
Being out in nature for most people is a very spiritual experience, I always feel closer to God out in nature!
Why out in nature?
There is nothing more healing to the eyes, the brain, and the body than being out in nature. It is our opportunity to let go of stress and worries that we face day to day, and to relax and breath in peace and calm. What better "medicine" than a quiet walk in the woods. The smell of fresh air, and a mild breeze to soothe your soul, or to sit by a warm firepit gazing at the night sky.
What is self-care?
Self-care is not usually bubble baths and chocolate! Self-care is so much more...Self-care can be letting go of whatever isn't serving you. It is the act of relaxing and letting go of stress and worries.
Self-care is reading books, writing, painting, drawing, getting a much-needed massage! Sometimes self-care is learning to say no and set boundaries. Self-care is praying, meditating, therapy, journaling, or exercise.
Perhaps, self-care for you would be getting enough sleep, or spending quality time with those who fill your bucket and not draining it. Sometimes self-care may be giving yourself permission to stay in bed one day, watching tv and ordering pizza vs cooking.
Self-care is taking care of yourself! My self-care and your self-care may look totally different. Self-care isn't selfish, it's necessary!
Kimberly Shultz is a Psychotherapist with a successful private practice at Kimberly Shultz Counseling in Franklin, TN. She has been working in the mental health field for 15 years. She specializes in Grief, PTSD and Trauma.
The actual bookmark!