Gratitude Store

Awakenings: Living Your Heroic Life


May 16-21, 2018

Join Stacey L. L. Couch, CSP, CAC of Wild Gratitude and Trish Lemke of Joy Rides for an extraordinary, integrative retreat designed to nurture and inspire you ~ 5 days of deep connection to self, horses, nature and the mystical. What do you want to awaken to in your life? During this retreat, we will journey in body, mind and spirit utilizing a combination of spiritual direction and equine coaching to guide you along your pathway of discovery and action. We’ll explore the themes of the retreat through shamanic journeying, horse experiences, time in nature, mindfulness practices, and silent meditation. And we give you concrete tools on how to stay the course so that you can take charge of leading your most joyful, intuitive, soulful, and heart-filled life – a life that starts with and includes you!

Of the full retreat registration amount, $450 is a non-refundable deposit. To reserve your space, full payment is due by April 15th. For the full cancellation and refund policy, scroll to the bottom of this page.

NOTE: All rates are based on double occupancy. Single occupancy rates are available on a limited basis upon request.

Choose An Option...
Pay Now with Lodging - $2100.00
Pay Now No Lodging - $1800.00
Pay Deposit - $450.00
Balance Payment Lodging - $1650.00
Balance Payment No Lodging - $1350.00
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Full Description


5-DAY Equine Coaching & Shamanism Workshop

Wednesday, May 16 to Monday, May 21, 2018

Morningstar Ranch, Durango, Colorado

Are you are ready to:

  • Feel Passionate and Hopeful about your Life’s Journey?
  • Learn how to Find and Receive Help through your Challenges?
  • Connect with Horses on a Deeper, More Mindful, and More Soulful Level than ever before?
  • Make real Progress Towards Realizing your Dreams?
  • Show up for Your Life and Yourself in New Ways?
  • Further Deepen your Intuitive Abilities?
  • Have more Joy, Energy and Self-Compassion?
  • Have a better Understanding of Self and Others?

Then join us for an extraordinary, integrative retreat designed to nurture and inspire you ~ 5 days of deep connection to self, horses, nature and the mystical. What do you want to awaken to in your life? During this retreat, we will journey in body, mind and spirit utilizing a combination of spiritual direction and equine coaching to guide you along your pathway of discovery and action.

We’ll explore the themes of the retreat through shamanic journeying, horse experiences, time in nature, mindfulness practices, and silent meditation. And we give you concrete tools on how to stay the course so that you can take charge of leading your most joyful, intuitive, soulful, and heart-filled life – a life that starts with and includes you!

The Hero’s Journey

When we think of myths, fairytales, legends and epic quests there are common themes throughout and different stages that the hero must go through in order to come out victorious. These stories have been passed down through ancient times by spoken word, written word and most recently in our films and tv shows. We see our heroes facing seemingly impossible tasks. We root for them as they face vilians and gain helpers and we cheer or cry for them when they come back triumphant.

What if we looked at our own lives as a Hero’s Journey? What if we envisioned ourselves as our own heroes in our own life’s story? How would we react differently to our everyday challenges and stressors? How would we cheer ourselves on when the going gets tough? What significance would it have on how we live each day, which adventures we say yes to, how we interpret our challenges and triumphs and how we showed up for ourselves and others?

Based on the writings and research of Joseph Campbell, the Hero’s Journey can be thought of as an archetypal story pattern that is so common in our fictional stories, but can have huge relevance when we apply the themes and stages to our own lives. During our retreat, we will do just that: apply these common themes to our own lives, gain an understanding of where we are on our journey and understand how to navigate your way forward with greater ease and awareness.

Package Includes:

  • Daily Equine Guided Coaching sessions to help you discover patterns and behaviors that may be creating roadblocks to happiness
  • Shamanic Journey Session to guide you towards your animal helpers and healers
  • Spiritual Direction work to help guide you along your path of deepening intuition and divine connection
  • Accommodations in an amazing rental house on property ~ see the horses grazing from your private deck
  • Delicious and nutritious meals prepared by our personal and extraordinary chef, Vera Hansen
  • Time for hiking, artwork or meditation practices
  • End of the retreat soak and massage at the nearby Trimble Hot Springs
  • Camaraderie, connection, laughter and discovery with other amazing women from around the country
  • Come a day early or stay a day late for an optional trail rides, exploring the amazing mountains of Southwest Colorado (an additional lodging and trail ride fee quoted upon request)
  • Double occupancy rooms: Single rates available for a limited number of rooms by request.

Morningstar Ranch

This retreat is held at Morningstar Ranch, a 38-acre equestrian estate with stunning, unblemished mountain views. Morningstar is situated in the lush Animas Valley about 15 minutes north of Durango, CO. The facilities include a restored barn with horse arena and riding pen, multiple green pastures, and ponds with water features. Lots of beautiful space with the herd makes this retreat an enriching destination. Accommodations for the retreat are in one of two lovely, modern guesthouses with mountain views and all amenities.

equine guided coaching equine retreat

Retreat Activities and Themes

Day 1 – Call to Adventure: There is something that is calling you to this retreat right now. It could be a change in lifestyle, a question of purpose, a feeling that something is missing in your life, a quest for more peace and happiness or something that you can’t even name.  After settling into your accommodations, we start our journey together on Wednesday evening with a discussion on what called you to this retreat and what is calling you to the adventure of your life right now.

Day 2 – Meeting Your Helpers: In myths, legends, stories, fairy tales and real life, horses have always been an integral part of our lives as humans. They have been our guides, our teachers, our healers, our companions and our helpers for tens of thousands of years.

Today we meet our horse helpers for the retreat and ask them to give us the guidance, courage and strength we need to say yes to our own heroic journeys.

In addition to our horse helpers, we learn about and identify our spirit animals and/or spirit guides. They are here to offer us assistance, insight and healing on a deep soul level so we have what it takes to move forward.

Day 3 – Navigating the Trials: Once you begin your own heroic journey, there are many obstacles, fears and challenges along the way.  We immerse ourselves in a shamanic journey trance to learn how to view our challenges symbolically and call on help from the divine. By accessing the creative faculty of the soul’s imagination, we find ways through we hadn’t thought of before.

Today the work with the horses shows you what may be holding you back or getting in the way of your own forward progress. The guided exercises with the horses teach you how to navigate your obstacles with greater ease and grace.

Day 4 – Gaining the Blessing: What you gain from the hero’s journey is up to you. Discovering how to gather the boon (blessing) of your experiences is brought to your awareness through deep connection and mindfulness activities with the horses.

Afterwards, we engage in spiritual direction to invoke the grace of understanding and to discover how to incorporate our new insights into actions for our life’s journey.

Day 5 – The Return Trip: The hero’s journey ends with the return “flight” home. Taking the insight, awakenings and transformation of this retreat home with you is an important step. We work with the horses to integrate on all levels and discuss the art of re-entry into everyday life.


Wednesday, May 16th: Please plan to arrive at Morningstar Ranch by 5pm.
Dinner is ready to serve yourself when you arrive.
Evening meeting between 6:30 and 8:30pm.
If you arrive mid-day you will also have a chance to meet the horses.

Thursday, May 17th – Saturday, May 19th: Retreat hours are 9am to 4pm daily.
Each day ends with a 4-6pm silent retreat time where you can journal, hike, meditate,
paint or whatever you choose to do that helps you integrate the learnings from the day.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included each day.

Sunday, May 20th: Retreat hours are 9am – 12pm.
The afternoon is a massage and soak at Trimble Hot Springs.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included at the ranch.

Monday, May 21st: Breakfast, packing and farewell. Participants depart by 11am.

Slideshow of the 2017 Awakenings Retreat

About the 2017 Awakenings Retreat

What is equine guided coaching?

Throughout the weekend our coach, Trish Lemke, helps you discover your best life and the “you” you want to be through working with our intuitive horses and discovering the messages that they are giving us.  Activities include both individual and group work with our equine partners and build upon the messages that you are receiving in your journeys.

If you’ve never participated in any form of equine guided coaching or learning, you are in for a big treat!  Horses are uniquely gifted at showing you exactly what you need in order to move forward towards your best life. They help you find that “aha” moment and see clearly what are your roadblocks and barriers – real and perceived. They aren’t magicians, but simply intuitive animals that have lived thousands of years in a hierarchical herd, dependent on their awareness, relationships and nonverbal communication for their very survival – much the same as people. Over the years, humans have lost much of that awareness, mindfulness, intuition and our own inner wisdom – the very things that guide us towards happiness and success.

During our equine guided coaching sessions, you learn how to be present in the moment, pay attention to your inner wisdom and come up with the answers to create lasting transformation.

What is Shamanism?

Shamanism isn’t just for shamans. Anybody can employ shamanic practices to further their spiritual growth, discover inner wisdom, seek mystical enlightenment, and find deep personal healing. Shamanism is a worldview, a spiritual practice, and a healing modality. Many researchers have investigated spiritual practices around the globe and have discovered shamanic traditions at some point in the history of every society. That means that you have shamanic traditions somewhere down your genetic line! Read More

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is the process by which we explore questions about the nature of the cosmos, spirits, God and our soul. Spiritual direction is a dialogue that delves deep into the mystery of life between a guide (called a Spiritual Director) and a seeker. In spiritual direction we explore mystical experiences that are beyond words, but that long to be expressed. Many of us start on the healing path simply because want to feel better, but true healing leads us into the sacred. Once we are empowered enough we find that we stop pursuing the problems of our past and start pondering mysteries of the Divine. This is when our lives really open up and we are left with a lot of questions! Read More

Meet Your Human Guides

Trish Lemke, Equine Guided Coach

trish lemkeHi, I’m Trish Lemke, the creator and face of Joy Rides.

I am a certified Equine Interactional Professional in Education and a certified Martha Beck Life Coach. But more importantly, I am a lifelong student of the horse and have a lifelong curiosity of humans.

I will be your personal coach, guide and confidante for all of my offerings, every step of the way. I followed my heart into this business, first and foremost, because of my love for horses. I followed my gut into this business because of my love for helping people rekindle their passions and reignite their spark.

But I also love exploring places near and far, immersing myself in different cultures, having deep conversations with friends new and old and exploring personal growth through experiencing life. So I followed my head and discovered a way that I can live my dreams and help other people discover and live theirs too.

If you are ready to jump into awareness of what it means to live your best life, I’m ready to explore the hows and whys with you.

Combining horses, people and travel is like a dream come true for me every day and it is my deepest wish to help you discover and live your dreams too!

Stacey L. L. Couch, Spiritual Director

stacey couch horsesHello, I’m Stacey Couch, the owner of Wild Gratitude. I am a Spiritual Director that is certified in both Shamanic Practice and Archetypal Consulting.

My calling is to help you, the spiritual seeker, discover your inner wisdom and enter into an intimate relationship with your soul. A mentor in symbolic sight, I am here to support your ability to see the overarching cosmic design in your life.

I adore the company of equines and over the years I’ve found these powerful beasts to be the best companions on the spiritual path. As an avid horse enthusiast, I have hundreds of hours natural horsemanship training and years treasured in the company my own horses. Professionally, I support individual clients via Equine Guided Spiritual Direction.

Equines provide a magical compliment to a deep devotional practice. Their immediate feedback points to what is stirring in our souls. The innate wisdom of horses offers profound healing. A horse’s powerful presence taps into an intuitive knowing that helps us find our way through to our own creative selves and to the divine. I so look forward to the opportunity to be your guide on your spiritual journey with horses!

(Pictured here: Stacey with her two mustang mares – Mable (left) and Cherokee (right))

Students of all levels, beginners to experts, are welcome in this workshop.

Worried you need to have horse experience or own a horse? You do not need to have horse experience or own a horse to attend this workshop. We have horses of all experience levels available and welcome beginners through advanced horse-men and –women. We will only be working with horses at the ranch. No outside horses may come.

Are you brand new to shamanism? No worries! Stacey Couch starts you from the ground up in your shamanic journey practice so that you can make the most out of this weekend of awakening.

Are you a current student of shamanism? That’s great! There are a couple hours that are a review of shamanic journey techniques for you, but you have the opportunity to delve deeper into the technique as well as learn from other student’s experience. Each shamanic journey workshop is different!

Traveling Information

Where to Fly In

The closest airport is Durango International Airport. It is approximately 50 minutes (30 miles) from the ranch. Vehicle rentals are available at the airport.

You will be connected to other students prior to the workshop to coordinate carpools and/or shared rentals if you’d like.

Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Sunport International Airport is an easy and beautiful 4 hour drive away.

Driving In

Durango, CO is located in rural southwest Colorado and is surrounded by the beautiful peaks of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain views are breathtaking and there are a myriad of outdoor activities around. Driving time from Denver is approximately 6.5 hours, from Salt Lake City, UT and Phoenix, AZ is approximately 7 hours, and from Albuquerque, NM is approximately 4 hours. To view a map of the location of Durango, CO click here.

Policies and Cancellations

If you would rather not pay online, you may mail your payment via check to “Wild Gratitude, P.O. Box 2919, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147″

To reserve your space in the retreat, full payment is due by April 15th.

CANCELLATIONS: Retreat payments minus a non-refundable $450 deposit are refundable up to 60 days prior to the retreat dates. 50% of retreat fees are refundable within 30-60 days prior to the retreat. Within 30 days of the retreat all fees are non-refundable. You may transfer your registration for the retreat to another person.

Still have questions? Email Stacey for more info

Additional information


Pay Now with Lodging – $2100.00, Pay Now No Lodging – $1800.00, Pay Deposit – $450.00, Balance Payment Lodging – $1650.00, Balance Payment No Lodging – $1350.00


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