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Downpayment for Retreat Property

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For many years we have dreamed of starting a healing center to help others and have been working toward this goal by studying and practicing yoga, sound healing, gardening (farming), meditation, breathwork, and overall wellness. Now, the stars seem to be aligning, and we have finally found a property that would be perfect to create both our home and a healing center that could serve as a sanctuary for others to visit, practice, and heal in Crestone, Colorado.

This unique 7-acre property has been cared for lovingly by a beautiful family who had a similar vision, but now they are moving on and have chosen us to take over where they left off. To sell the property to us, they need to pay off their loan, and we need help with the down-payment.

Asking for help is not easy but we have decided it is the only way forward. Community support is at the center of our vision, and now it is the only way we can make this work. Help us create a space where people from diverse backgrounds can come to discover their personal path to self-realization.

We have a business plan that includes hosting retreats, growing food, connecting with community and creating programming for justice-involved individuals.

Our team consists of myself (Emilie Pomerleau), my husband Travis Cleveland and our dear friend Matte Refic. We have hosted events together and have been planning all of the exciting retreats and workshops and art installations that will happen at our center for years. We are so ready but just need help making it happen!

More about the Team


I attended my first yoga class in 2006 and at the time I was running a lot and I found that my body recovered so much faster when I maintained a steady yoga practice. That was just the beginning. Yoga has changed my life for the better across the board, whether we are talking about maintaining relationships or creating better physical, mental emotional and Spiritual well-being. The practices of body awareness, meditation, pranayama (breathwork), understanding how our dinacharya (daily regimen) creates stability and wellness are all Yoga. After many years of practice, I decided to create the space to share what has worked for me – and have been sharing my practice with fellow seekers for the past 6 years.

Throughout my life I have found solace in nature and this is something that I enjoy sharing with others. Whether it is snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking or floating the river, my yoga practice feeds into these hobbies as a way of being fully present in my body and in nature. I have seen firsthand the healing power of both nature and of connecting to oneself and I feel it is my life’s work to share these practices with others. I envision our property to be a place where we honor nature, where we grow our own food, and where we share what we know with others. Hosting people in my home and cooking them food and sharing space is one of my favorite ways to share love. When we make our dream of owning a retreat space a reality we will create a place where people can come and be seen and heard and where we can all continue to grow and transform together.

In June of 2017, I received my 100-Hour Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor Training Certificate with Arpita Shah and in October of that same year, I earned my yoga teacher training certificate with Marcee Gutman-Ballantyne at Fountain of Health Yoga Studio. In 2018, I received a Gong Therapy Training Certificate in sound healing with Mehtab Benton in Austin, TX. In 2021, I became a NASM certified personal trainer and love having deeper insights on movement as medicine!

In 2022 I completed coursework to finish a 300-hr yoga teacher training with Sattva Yoga and and am now a 500-hr teacher. The teachings that Anand Mehrotra shared with us through the Sattva training have been transformational to say the least. From the mantra-based meditation technique that I am now authorized to share to breathwork to Kriya Yoga and Himalayan Kriya Kundalini practices, I feel so grateful to have been able to access such deep wisdom in such an accessible way. And I am eager to share these teachings!

In August of 2023 I completed a bachelor’s degree in corrections support services (human services) and I have just accepted a position to work for a great nonprofit organization in the San Luis Valley. We are overjoyed to be laying down roots in this special part of Colorado and are excited to connect with the community as we find our place in it.

I love encouraging students to have fun while gaining greater confidence, body awareness and motivation to challenge perceived limitations. I continue to study and learn and grow as a student and teacher and Travis and I have cooked up some amazing breath workshops, yoga and gong experiences and retreats that we want to co-create at our future residence. Thank you so much for your support over the years. I am thrilled to keep learning and to continue to share the practices that have transformed my life for the better!


I have always been a very physically active person, whether it was skateboarding, snowboarding, riding bicycles of all kinds, hiking, etc. In 2009 I began practicing yoga and within 2 classes, I had reset my sleep cycle, ending years of insomnia. It was obvious at that point that yoga and meditation had a lot more to offer than merely physical benefits. From there, I have deepened my practice to include daily pranayama practice, meditation, vibrational sound healing and an overall exploration of the power of the mind, body, Spirit connection. I studied Gong Therapy with Mehtab Benton in 2018. In 2021, I earned another certification from the Sound Healing Academy.

Anybody who has known me for a long time can confirm that I was reckless and wild in my youth, and also that talking about myself is not one of my strongpoints. When thinking about writing this bio, I became aware of the depth of transformation that I have experienced in my life. This is why I have been called to do the work that I do, especially playing the gong and holding space and facilitating breath workshops. These practices work and I know because they have helped me to be a person who can be sober and live a happy and healthy life. This was not always the case. As a young teenager and even well into my 20s, I was wild. I tried all the drugs and alcohol was a daily habit. I did not have a plan for the future because I did not think I would live long enough to worry about it. I had a lot of fun in my wild days and I have great memories and stories to share, but something was missing. There was an avoidance in dealing with myself when taking substances to change my consciousness. Through yoga and a a daily meditation practice and playing gongs I have learned how to be fully present.
In 2016, I heard Visudha De los Santos play the gong for the first time. I knew from that moment what my life’s path would be. The journey I had from that experience showed me what was possible, it was profound. From there, I have dedicated my life to playing gongs and studying sound and its benefits.

My story is one of redemption in a way because I had a felony on my record by the time I was nineteen. This fact made it impossible to travel to certain countries and to apply for some jobs I was interested in. When I initially got into trouble, the pro bono lawyer that represented me told me first that I had to plead guilty or I would go to prison for 14 years and second that I better get good at digging ditches. Fast forward to 2019, I met a real Guru. She was able to tell me things about myself that I had not told anyone. A lot of it was about my dad, who was barely in my life at all and who died of cancer after many years of living on the street. She saw right through me. And she also offered to help me clear my record. Within a few months of meeting her, two lawyers called me offering to help me to apply for a governor’s pardon. My wife Emilie and I gathered all of the information and received amazing letters of recommendation from dear friends and the lawyer’s submitted everything to Governor Polis’ office. In January of 2022, I received the news that my pardon was approved! A clear sign from the Universe that I needed to seize this opportunity to do EVERYTHING. Nothing is holding me back. One is never done learning and growing but I no longer have a felony on my record. I can travel to any country I want to study. I can volunteer in schools and government facilities. My horizons expanded.

In 2021, Emilie and I gave up everything that we knew was safe, our jobs, our home, the garden we nurtured for 8 years. We needed to clear the way for what was to come. The journey has been difficult and amazing and challenging and fruitful. We are ready to lay down roots and get to work. We are ready to grow food and to share our practice and to hold space for others to experience their own personal transformation. We appreciate any help you are able to offer. Thank you for reading.


Matte Refic is a dynamic and versatile multi-disciplinary artist, muralist, teacher, and performance artist. With a passion for fostering community through art, Matte has dedicated their career to creating meaningful connections and empowering individuals through artistic expression.

As an accomplished muralist, Matte brings vibrant and thought-provoking artwork to public spaces, transforming the urban landscape into a canvas of shared experiences. Their murals serve as visual narratives that engage communities, sparking conversations and celebrating diversity.

Beyond their work in public art, Matte is also a dedicated teacher, sharing their knowledge and skills with aspiring artists. Through various workshops and educational initiatives, Matte encourages creative exploration and empowers individuals to find their unique voice.

One of Matte's most impactful projects is the creation of the art program called “Depths”. This groundbreaking initiative brings art facilitation to prisons of all security levels, including Super-maximum facilities. Through the power of art, Matte aims to provide inmates with a transformative and healing experience, offering them a channel for self-expression, reflection, and personal growth.

With a profound belief in the potential of art to break barriers and ignite change, Matte Refic continues to push boundaries and challenge societal norms. Their dedication to community engagement, teaching, and fostering artistic expression in unconventional spaces has garnered widespread recognition and admiration.

Matte's work serves as a testament to the transformative power of art, reminding us of its ability to transcend boundaries, heal wounds, and unite communities. Their artistic journey is an inspiring testament to the profound impact creativity can have on both individuals and society as a whole.

Fundraising team (4)

Emilie Pomerleau
Crestone, CO
matte refic
Team member
Travis Cleveland
Team member
Amanda Pomerleau
Team member

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