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Wellness Weekend for the Books

Author Shea Gardner
Date Published Nov 03, 2023

Flashback Friday to two weekends ago, how it’s November already I couldn’t even tell you. I know there’s a lot going on in the world that is beyond destructive and devastating but I do want to share about what we did because it’s some good news for your feed. Thanks to @yourpaf,  Rich and I were hired and flown out to Denver to teach breathwork, sound healing, and meditation at a wellness retreat for retired NFL players and spouses/partners.

Friday night we met everyone at dinner and then came in a debatable 2nd place in the water pong tournament. I am competitive, so it got intense. On Saturday, we taught breathwork together and then participated in 2 hours of workshops. One was on Anger and Anxiety, the other on Intentional Intimacy. After lunch we walked over to the spa and had an amazing experience with two mini sessions, cryotherapy and halotherapy. After the spa we sat and watched football at the hotel bar area and talked to a couple of the football guys. We learned more about the work everyone’s doing and when I say they are doing the work, they are doing the work. Think mental health and wellness programs for youth and student athletes that actually impact! We talked more through the evening and then went to bed early. Sunday we both taught individual sessions, Rich, meditation and me, the sound healing. I then participated in an Affirmation Workshop and cried. We ate brunch, packed up, took some final pictures and shared a ride with a new friend to the airport.

Firsts of Many

All of these things are a first for me, getting flown out to teach, Denver, the spa, + certainly a first time I’ve ever been around a group of football guys who were willing to be vulnerable, shed some tears and talk about their own journey: the highs and the lows. WE NEED MORE SAFE SPACES FOR MEN.

I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity and will always keep it close to my heart. There are good, great people in the world who do care and want to connect. We’re so much more alike than we admit. We just need to slow down so we can really see each other.

Special Thank You to the Professional Athletes Foundation’s Leslie Isler for everything you did to create a wonderful weekend of wellness. 🧘🏽‍♀️💐


About Shea and Rich Gardner
We are a husband and wife team who finally took the leap to leave our 9-5 careers and pursue our dream of serving Chicago youth and communities through our own non-profit, Maroon Village. Shea is a Michigan native and 11 year Chicago resident. She has spent over 20 years in Nonprofit Youth Programming, Certified Trauma Informed RYT ® 200 (Yoga), Certified Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness Instructor, MEd Candidate Trauma & Resiliency Spring Arbor University, all while being a mother to two children. Rich Gardner is a Chicago native and former NFL player. After retiring in 2010, he began his journey as a Sports Performance Coach and Mentor in Germany eventually making his way back to home to begin Maroon Village. Rich holders a BA in Economics, is Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach (CSCS), PhD Candidate Health & Human Performance Concordia UC, and a father of two.

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