This Is How It Feels To Cancel An Event

This past week I had to make a tough decision. I had to cancel the visual arts track of our Small, Slow & Beautiful Retreat. 

How does it feel to cancel and event you are passionate about? Not great. Disheartening. A little rain on the old parade, to be honest. 

I had hoped for a handful (or two) of creatives hanging out at the end of this month with Daniel van Heyst, learning to pay attention to ‘sacred small’ details by focussing on macro drawing and painting. But those visual artists never signed up.

I know there are many reasons for this. Many good reasons. Timing didn’t work out. Money was tight. Uncertainty about a brand new, untested event. The type of workshop offered didn’t line up with the needs or wants of artists. I get it. These are all great reasons.

And maybe someone was waiting. Maybe they’d have registered at the last minute. But it wouldn’t be fair to our workshop leader to cancel right before the event. 

Cancellations happen to the best of us. The first year I went to the Glen Workshop – a similar, but well-established retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I signed up for the songwriting track. So did one other person. The two of us weren’t enough to justify the track so the track was cancelled. Even a big, successful event like the Glen Workshop cancels tracks. That’s somehow encouraging.

We Are Moving Forward Toward a Great Weekend

The good news is, we do have registrations for our poetry track. Still not a lot, but enough to move forward with Small, Slow & Beautiful. Tania Runyan is still joining us to lead her poetry workshop. We are still offering our retreat option. This is happening, it’s just that there’ll be more of an emphasis on the ‘small’ part of Small, Slow & Beautiful this year.

I’m a bit humbled, but very hopeful.

June 29 to July 2 will be a great celebration of art and faith in Calgary at the FCJ Retreat Centre. We are going to deepen our craft together. We are going to build community that will outlast the short four days we have together. 

We are going to do this again, but we need your help.

Help us understand what didn’t click to make Small, Slow & Beautiful work for you. We’ll be putting together a formal survey once the event has passed, but in the meantime, please let me know your thoughts at

Had things been different, would Small, Slow & Beautiful be an event you’d be interested in? And what are the ‘things’ that would need to change?

I look forward to your feedback. 

For those of us heading to Calgary in a month, I’m getting very excited to plant some seeds together that will bloom in the coming years into something very beautiful indeed.

Let us be Small, Slow & Beautiful in the days ahead.

Oh, and yes. There are still some spaces available for the retreat option and the poetry workshop if you want to sign up now.

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