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The Carp Ridge Learning Centre is the perfect venue for a variety of workshops, conferences, retreats, discussion groups, creative activities, children, youth and adult programs, drumming, meditation and yoga classes, etc.



Located 20 min. from Kanata and 30 min. from downtown Ottawa, the Learning Centre provides a tranquil country setting close to the metropolitan area. The centre is a large, one-room cedar clad building surrounded by woodlands and walking trails.


  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Comfortably accommodates up to 30 people
  • Large windows provide natural light
  • Wood stove
  • 2 washrooms
  • Small kitchen.

Costs: $200 per full day, $125 per half day

Reserve for your event today:


It’s a gorgeous fall day, all the more so for being an hour away from going on retreat for 2 1/2 days, the first free time in what seems like months, all to myself.  I am exultant, already shedding the pressure of routine, Felix care and unpacking boxes.

Destination is a village in Quebec where I booked into a little hotel in order to finish some of the shamanic training that I missed during the summer.  I’ve packed food, two cleansing meals and the obligatory equipment that goes with shamanic work: drum, rattle, smudge, water bowl.  Since a child I have been drawn to native lore and ritual–this is a deep gift to myself.

Otherwise, life has been stressful as I dig deeper into my pockets of unresolved emotional charge.  My body is reeling with tension and digestive upset.  I notice how closed I am with people, avoiding the triggers that send me into fits of insecurity, anger and dissociation.  The practice is to thank the messenger and breathe into the discomfort until it integrates.  It’s not pleasant, BUT there are moments of sheer bliss underneath all this held pain that pull me further on the path, down and in.

Practically, I am sorting through thirty plus years of stuff and lightening the load, reclaiming my life; working with Coral and Ashley to find harmonious ways to co-parent Felix; thinking about what might be here at the centre in another year…

The road pulls me!

Have a kind fall and hope to see you at the Carp Dinner Talk this Sunday.




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The program

RidgeWoods is a living school!

It offers wilderness retreat experiences for children, families, and educators.
In a variety of wilderness habitats, we will wonder, inquire and embark on a journey of self-discovery. It includes natural gardens, a pond, a stream, meadows, hilltops, and acres of protected and sacred land. It includes a mini-museum and atelier in the woods, and much more. We promote healthy living, creative movement, singing, laughter, kindness, resilience, positive thinking, mindfulness, simplicity, compassion, gratitude, generosity, and respect for the earth’s ecological system.

What do children do in it?

We fully immerse outside in the wilderness of RidgeWoods:

 a) We play games, sing, laugh, inquire, read the world around us, do storytelling, and create story lines, walk, run, hike, and much more.

b) We discuss the transformation of the earth and what each season bring to us, keep a journal, and contemplate.

c) We do art, crafts, mold with clay, build teepees, towns, castles, and much more using mother nature gifts, we paint on canvas, dance, and have a drum circle.

d) We embrace the weather of the day: snow, wind, rain, sunshine, cloudy days or something in between and give thanks for what we have!

By Karen Secord, Healing House Canada

The Healing Experience: Pain is the great equalizer. When pain reaches out, grabs you by the throat and forces you to pay attention, nothing else matters. Suffer alone and its effect can be excruciating. Have a caring ear, a warm hand, a gentle spirit by your side and pain can be muffled. I learned this during an 11-day post-surgery stay at the Carp Ridge Healing House in late October.

What I learned during my stay at the Carp Ridge Healing House:

  1. Even though I am 5’8” tall I can dangle my feet off the edge of the queen size bed. And even though I am nearly 51 years old being in pain makes me feel as needy as a child on their first day of school.  And that’s okay. Accepting help when you are at your most vulnerable is okay.
  2. For me, not being able to talk for what seemed like an eternity was almost as painful as having my 50 year old tonsils and soft palate sliced, diced and stitched up.  I can’t count the number of times Sandy, Carol and Kim handed me a notepad and lovingly told me to please be quiet!
  3. Slippery Elm tea can calm a tummy all gurgly from lack of food and way too much morphine.
  4. When Carol and Sandy and Kim make a meal it is done with knowledge, experience and care. I never knew that soup could taste so incredibly wonderful. Who would have thought that protein powder in cauliflower soup could taste better than a slice of dark chocolate?
  5. Rest is the great healer. I learned to rest and not feel guilty. It took time and effort but I learned that all the hustle and bustle and must-get-done “stuff” will wait. It can wait.

In the end, needing and accepting help has taught me to appreciate the wonderful people around me. Working for the Carp Ridge Healing House has always been more than just a job. However, now I do it with a more complete knowledge and appreciation for all the little miracles that happen there every single day!

Gift Certificates: Give the gift of wellness to someone you care about this Christmas. Carp Ridge Healing House gift certificates are available in any denomination and can be redeemed toward a night, a weekend or a week of relaxation and rejuvenation complete with holistic care – individualized organic meal plans, daily meditation and movement based on your needs and abilities.

Social Networking: Become a Fan of Carp Ridge Healing House on Facebook or check in with us on Twitter (You can go to Facebook & Twitter from the home page of Follow what’s happening in the House and at the Ecowellness Centre, ask questions, share your thoughts and opinions. Join a growing number of people and organizations who are reading our tweets (At Twitter under “healingcare”). Twitter & Facebook are great ways to connect with others, find out what they are up to and share what we are doing. Check out some of our followers. Very interesting!

Meditation is very much a part of the Healing House philosophy. Our Hosts – Sandy, Carol, Kim and Lise (our newest “on-call” host) — encourage our guests to incorporate it into their daily routine.  Every Tuesday evening we are joined by meditation teacher Christopher Simmonds for his class Cosmic Mindfulness: Meditation in the Tantra Tradition by Christopher Simmonds, Chris’ classes are relaxing, enlightening, energizing and so much more. Please consider joining us when we begin our next session in January. Dates and times will be posted on our website early in the New Year.

In the past month or so we have had guests from three provinces. Come see why. We’re only a phone call away~ 613-839-5786. (Or you can email us at

Happy Holidays!

by Sandy Rawson

Editor’s note: Healing House Canada is holistic residential approach to health & wellness. A Healing House is based on principles of naturopathic medicine for prevention, rejuvenation & detoxification. Its conception came from a perceived need for places where people can access natural therapies in an inpatient environment. A Healing House can have a variety of specialities. Hosts can care for people who are ill or suffering from exhaustion. They can care for people who are dying or help someone birth naturally. Located in rural west Ottawa, Canada, the Carp Ridge Healing House accommodates up to six guests in a peaceful and relaxing woodland setting. It is supervised by naturopathic doctors. For more info call 613-839-1198.

heal-house-picChoosing to become a host at the Carp Ridge Healing House was easy for me. When the position was offered I knew that it was a natural next step in my evolution of self and service. What I didn’t know was that one of my first experiences with a guest would be assisting my beautiful sister Carol to heal into her own approaching death.

About two weeks prior to her last visit to the Healing House, Carol had first been welcomed as a guest healing into life. When she left from this initial stay she offered a comment in our guest book about Healing House services and its level of comfort:

“To all of you at Carp Ridge — this has been a wonderful experience for me. I think I’ve finally learned how to relax, with your help. You have great people and your staff is very caring. I wish you all the best in the future. You’ll be seeing me again.”

When I read the message I didn’t know that Carol would be returning to us so soon, or that it would be for the last time.

On the morning of December 27th, 2008, our family was shoulder to shoulder in a hospital room. Our parents, Carol’s husband and her siblings absorbed the words of finality that came to confirm her impending death. The doctor’s diagnosis was delivered with the accompanying hospital noises of beeping, humming bright lights, occasional rings and passing voices out in the hallway. They seemed little associated with what we were experiencing in this room. I looked into Carol’s eyes and saw confusion as she struggled to integrate the new information amidst the distractions.

Looking around the room, past the monitoring equipment that was now being turned off and disconnected from my sister, I noticed the chipped paint and scuff marks on the walls. The one sad attempt for improving the feel of the room consisted of a picture of a fall scene, torn from a magazine and taped to the wall near the foot of the bed.

Beauty had always been a part of Carol’s life. She created it in her home and in the homes of family and friends. She was something of an artist, always eager to share her natural talent with those of us who were less gifted. Knowing the importance Carol placed on her surroundings, I decided that something had to change.

While I understood the importance of asking my sister and our family to let go of the security and familiarity of a hospital setting, and to trust in what I felt was a better alternative for Carol’s last days, it didn’t make suggesting it any easier. I hesitated in speaking up, but then was encouraged by the knowledge that Carol had already been a satisfied guest at Healing House. I knew the kind of care and tranquility we could offer.

“Carol — would you like to return to Healing House?”

“I’d love to,” she whispered in a soft but powerful voice. That set the wheels in motion toward an unforgettable experience of courage, compassion, loss and appreciation.

Christmas had passed with little notice by our family. A few days after, with full support of the hospital staff, Carol arrived by ambulance at Carp Ridge. Freezing rain was falling and I went back into the house to get her a blanket. Coming back out I said, “You must be cold.” Carol replied, “No — this feels fantastic.”

I knew then that we’d been blessed with an opportunity for everyone to share the best Christmas gift imaginable: each other.

Weeks of bearing pain and stress were clearly etched in my sister’s face, and she appeared to be only a shadow of the sister I had always known. But within hours of her settling into bed we witnessed an incredible transformation. Time seemed to go backward as a soft pink hue returned to Carol’s complexion. The many wrinkles that had slowly appeared now softened as members of our family shared their appreciation of having had her in their lives.

On the morning of December 29th Carol’s twenty year old son lovingly held her hand while she listened to a poem of friendship, written and now read to her by a dear chum. Several members of the family were in adjacent rooms visiting and catching up. Within the relaxed and homey environment, everyone seemed to be fully present in body, mind and spirit. Carol’s little dog Harry enjoyed everyone’s affections.

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.”

This was on the card I’d picked from the ‘Ask and It is Given’ deck the evening of Carol’s arrival at Healing House. I’d never felt I had any doubts about becoming a host, but if any had been lingering in the shadows of my mind, they faded completely as I took in my surroundings that night. Some people were settled in front of the glow and warmth of the fireplace, others were in the kitchen sharing a meal, and our young ones were enjoying a movie. We had all come together in mutual support, knowing that a mother, sister, aunt, wife, daughter and friend was able to complete her final days of life in an environment of serenity and love.

I would wish the passing of all loved ones to be as graceful and gentle as what we and Carol experienced last winter. And I know that we were blessed to have an opportunity to go through our loss in a setting that enhanced deep feelings of appreciation, nurtured a peaceful closure to Carol’s life and allowed everyone a healthy ‘letting go’. For Carol, it was a letting go of her life on this earth, and for me, the letting go of a sister into her next journey.


A biographical note, by freelance writer Karen Secord: Sandy Rawson is one of three hosts at Carp Ridge Healing House. She is a helper; a strong, reliable nurturer with a gentleness that others find inspiring. She is a roll-up-your-sleeves and get the job done kind of worker, friend and confidante. Whether preparing a meal, installing a bathroom fixture, or strolling through the forest with a guest, Sandy always gives 110%.

As a host Sandy is able to combine her appreciation for healing and natural health principles with her love of the outdoors and well developed problem-solving skills.

Sandy’s energetic, yet thoughtful approach to life is uniquely calming and joyfully pleasing. An easy and effective communicator, she is responsive to each guest’s individual needs. She instinctively knows the importance of listening. She honours the role that rest has in healing. And she welcomes the opportunity to make the most of each day.

A life-long learner, Sandy has a certificate in Crisis Management and Human Psychology and has successfully completed courses in Journey Work, NLP, Quantum Touch, Reiki, and Learning Intelligence.

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June 2018
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