Welcome to The Uplands!

Ann, Claudia, and Imagine Newark women at Uplands

Welcome to The Uplands!

We joyfully welcome you to The Uplands and our website launch! Borne of Joann and Arthur Rasmussen’s deep-rooted altruism, The Uplands Center is an outgrowth of their favorite dictum “Never resist a generous impulse!” They relished the dream of converting their sprawling and breathtaking property into a site of inspiration for others. And here, at last, we proudly introduce The Uplands: A Center for Renewal Learning and Growth!

Organizations enjoying the center typically fall into one of two categories: 1) groups that provide direct service to those in need, whether teachers, health care providers or those working with special populations, for example, families caring for children with brain cancer; and 2) social changemakers who are seeking a space to launch or develop an idea that will improve the world.  We are also proud of our outreach into the local community and delighted by the many ways local service providers and leaders are taking advantage of the Uplands many resources.

Please explore the website in-depth to learn of its many retreat possibilities, the environmental, agricultural and community dimensions, and the dedicated Uplands team who have poured themselves into this project with robust and creative energy. We are all proud gardener-parents of this sprouting Uplands seedling!

On a more personal note, as thrilling as the launch of the website is for us, it is far surpassed by the honor of witnessing the power of the Uplands’ retreats in action. For two years now, we’ve been offering retreats, learning as we go. In this past month alone, we hosted peace-keepers preventing inner-city gang violence, volunteers who help children grieve the death of family members, and educators dedicated to assuring college access and success to first-generation college applicants.  All of these guests step onto the Upland’s property at the outset of their retreats wearied by their honorable, over-extending service to others. But depletion swiftly gives way to energized animation as guests explore the stunning gardens, swim in the indoor pool, flop in hammocks, play yard games, collapse around the sunset-facing firepit, and step up to the sumptuous farm-to-table buffet of delicious homemade nutritious food offerings.  I’ve noticed that virtually every retreat’s first meal is marked by helpless hilarity as guests leave behind the tensions and challenges of their work and personal lives and surrender to the low-key ease, peace and comfortable companionability of the Uplands’ setting.  I’ve also been impressed by how much brighter in spirit and energy guests are by the time they depart. They remind me of water-deprived, parched cactus plants that, when plunged into a basin of water swiftly expand into healthy flourishing versions of their former selves!)

Of course, guests’ gleanings vary with each retreat, but everyone seems to leave with two crucial takeaways: 1) the transformative restorative power of nature and 2) the self-preservative imperative of self-care practices. Here are excerpted comments from one guest, Antoinette McKie from the group Imagine: A Center for Coping with Loss:

“The serenity and tranquility of the Uplands was amazing. I thrive and I’m my best self in nature. The beauty of the gardens, the grounds, the mountains, the sounds of nature, the trees blowing in the wind spoke peace to my soul. I walked away feeling free, alive, energized, creative and connected in ways I hadn’t felt in a while. I left Uplands a new me, a better me, a transformed me….

… I now appreciate the importance of self-care and will practice it daily! I know I matter and I’m worth taking time to literally put life on hold, breathe and smell the roses. I laughed so much in the Uplands my cheeks began to ache. Life is short but without taking time for self-care it will be shorter. I matter and it is ok to say YES to myself and NO to others. No is an answer.”

As Antoinette’s comments indicate, the socially beneficial instinct to “never resist a generous impulse” can backfire, to the overly-generous one’s detriment!– which makes The Uplands Center all the more crucial as a retreat resource for the caregivers and changemakers of the world!  Thank you for visiting us online. Please share our site with anyone you imagine would benefit from our offerings!

We hope you’ll come visit us at the Uplands itself one day!

Ann Rasmussen
Email me at ann@uplandscenter.org

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