Our grief and loss retreat helps people transform sadness, anger, and other uncomfortable emotions.
These retreats are for those who are:
These intensive events are designed to provide a safe compassionate environment for grief recovery and deep emotional work. Each phase of the workshop is carefully designed to encourage participants to connect with their own internal resources for healing and wisdom.
The group support accelerates the healing and awakening process for each person. The power of intentional loving creates a strong, safe container for people to do their grief and loss and other work.
This Grief and Loss Retreat can be an additional support to those in grief counseling who are learning to cope with grief and loss as well as others working through difficult feelings.
The First Phase–Coming Together
The group comes together early Thursday evening. (The extended retreat starts on Wednesday early evening.) The first phase of the retreat is about settling in, into one's body and into a loving community. To work through grief and loss and other difficult feelings we need to feel safe, supported and open.
All the activities of this phase are all designed to facilitate this safety and support. We breathe together, eat together, move together, talk with each other.
People often comment with surprise how quickly they come to feel connected to the other group members.
We have begun. In the First Phase we begin to experience the transformational power of a loving community. This is vital for the next part of the workshop.
The Second Phase–Depth Work
The second phase is an opportunity for participants to go into and through their stuck feelings, in a way that is nearly impossible on one's own.
We can find ourselves stuck, caught in prolonged grief, or another feeling, and unable to move on. Here we can.
Using powerful process work and with the loving group support, each person, if they choose, is guided into the wisdom within their body.
It is here, in our bodies, that the "old story" lives on, and yet it is where our deep wisdom also resides.
For many this is a journey into and through buried, stuck emotions. Grief doesn't ride alone, and the grief cycle can include anger, rage, fear, guilt and anxiety and other emotions. Suppressing or avoiding doesn't work, and mental processes often don't go deep enough.
It is much, much easier to go through this journey with the group support and talented facilitation that on ones own. If we could have done it on our own we would have already!
And it's much quicker and less painful with group support as as well. We can get a huge amount of work done in very short time. People comment that the weekend feels much longer than it actually is because of the depth we achieve working together.
This work goes well beyond thought processes and thinking. We are stuck at a layer of consciousness below our thinking, in our feelings. Although this can affect our thoughts about ourselves and others, no amount of thinking can transform these stuck feelings. It can be hard for our brain to accept this truth!
Our brains want to find out all the details to figure out if the Grief and Loss Retreat or other activity will be helpful. The brain wants to be in charge. Our brains want to categorize the work, label it and then it feels it understands it. For example it may label this retreat a type of "group psychotherapy" (which it is not) and then use that label to think "it's not for me."
But our hearts may be longing for something the brain can't quite get to.
The experience of the grief and loss retreat often goes way beyond what the brain can categorize...and it is often only after the experience that our brains can get it. In my experience of the healing power of deep process, the brain is the last part of us that gets it.
Something extraordinary happens as people do their work. Each person is called back into the holiness and radiance of the present moment, and into the loving arms of the waiting community.
As this shift happens, a new aliveness emerges from the ashes of the past.
Third Phase–Integration And The Return Journey
The alchemy of the second part can lead to a place of deep peace and healing.
Lead becomes gold. Our dark, stuck feelings come bearing gifts, treasures waiting to be discovered. And in this discovery is celebration!
What is yet to be done to complete this journey of grief recovery is to begin to integrate this experience back into one's life.
We touch into Big Energy/Big Medicine during the retreat and we need to carefully descend back to make the transition homeward.
We do simple grounding activities. One of them is to spend some time (30-45 minutes or so) to "clean the Temple that has served us." We push a broom or vacuum or do another action to focus us back in the physical world.
We journal to ground our experience into practical actions that we can take during the week after the retreat.
Through group and individual exercises we learn to step down the energy back into our bodies. We fully engage our brains to plan our next steps.
Retreat Information–How To Register
The Thursday to Sunday Grief And Loss And Other Difficult Emotions Retreat is limited to 10-12 participants. The cost includes basic housing and meals. Go here to see pictures and for more information about Star Dance Ranch.
You are encouraged to register early as most retreats fill well ahead of time. A deposit of $300 reserves your space and it is the date we receive your deposit that determines your enrollment. The remainder is due at the retreat.
(If a retreat is full and you would like to be on the waiting list, a deposit may be required so that you can be immediately registered when a space opens. If there is not a space you will receive a full refund of the deposit.)
A limited amount of tuition assistance is available for those who need it. Please register early if you want to apply for financial aid.
A short phone interview (10-15 minutes) is requested to help you and the facilitator decide if this retreat work is appropriate for you. You can book the free phone conversation with Jon by sending him a message (see bottom of page) with your phone number and the best times to call. He tries to reply within 24 hours, except when leading retreats. You can also set up a Google Voice or Skype phone session with him, especially if you are outside the U.S.
Participants are asked to bring a potluck item for Thursday dinner unless they are traveling using public transportation.
The retreat starts at 6 pm (arrival at 4:30 to register) and ends on Sunday early afternoon. (The extended retreats ends earlier.) Massachusetts retreats are held in a rural, country setting.
Some people want additional private space (they snore, have sleep issues, etc.) and can stay at a local motel instead of the retreat center. Please discuss this with Jon. (
Refund policy for the retreat: your deposit will be refunded, minus a $75 administration fee, if it is at least 21 days before the retreat date. After that, the deposit will be forfeited. If you are on the waiting list and do not get in, you will receive a full refund of your deposit.
A similar retreat, called Breaking Through The Old Story or Shalom Retreat, is also available. It is a larger group, from 15-22 participants and takes place in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. For more information go to Shalom Retreats.
To register for the Grief, Loss And Difficult Emotions retreat or if you have questions, contact Jon using the contact form below.
After talking with me, if you would like to pay your deposit online, use this PayPal button below:
About The Facilitator
Jon Terrell, MA, has over 35 years of experience helping people move out of habitual ways of being in the world to discover their own aliveness in the present moment. He has extensive training with grief and loss and other difficult feelings. He has been leading emotional healing retreats since 1999.
Jon has a Masters degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and advanced certification in both Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. Jon studied clinical imagery at the Huntington Therapy Institute and Process Therapy at the Institute of Process Therapy and Shalom Mountain Retreat and Study Center.
Jon is a senior trainer of the School of Actualism (Agni Yoga) and its former president. He is a core faculty member at the Omega Institute, a certified Somatic Therapist and an ordained minister.
Jon is on the staff of Shalom Mountain Retreat Center. He has an office in Northampton, Massachusetts, and in New York City, For a full bio click here. For more information about his retreats or grief recovery counseling services, including distance work via the phone and Skype, contact him using the form below.
Comments From Participants
"Best thing I ever did!"
- Patti Cliff, Oklahoma
"It’s now two months since that very memorable retreat and since returning home to England. I didn’t know what to expect but felt that I needed to make the long journey to try to make some sense of what had happened to me in my childhood and my marriage.
The retreat was such an emotional and powerful experience, and I left feeling more connected to my children, I just wanted to shout and tell them that I love them. I felt lighter within me, a real sense of happiness which I had not felt for a long time, calm and relief.
My flight back home was really surreal because it felt as if a weight had been lifted from me and a feeling of happiness within me. Now two months on I can honestly say that I am a lot calmer in myself and I don’t feel as troubled as I did before the retreat. I have more inner peace. A most incredible journey."
- Rose B, Birmingham, UK
"What a blessing to have found this retreat. My life was in a tailspin after the death of my only child, my son, almost six years ago. I was lost, had no purpose because my purpose was my son, no joy or happiness, and only wanted to be with my son. I just wanted to bury the half of me that was not buried with my son because I was spiritually & emotionally dead…I had no hope and just existed.
As I went through the retreat, I began to feel a peace that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Little by little my despair turned into feeling the presence of my son, joy and happiness, and finally hope & excitement for my future. Now back home I am at the beginning of my new life.
If you’re suffering or feel hopeless, you have a place to go that is safe, non-judgmental, loving, and will transform you."
-Elaine G, Brandon, Florida
"The grief and loss weekend was amazing and well worth it. A heavy load of grief and anger was miraculously lifted, and still weeks later, I do not feel it and am having a much easier time, living my life without the past weighing me down. I am able to be with myself and be alone without those negative feelings that were causing me such pain. The sense of love and community is amazing and wonderful. I still feel like those who took the weekend with me are still right beside me. Thanks Jon for your gift of healing."
- Joey LaValle-Mackay, Massachusetts
"It was life changing! My focus has now completely shifted because of the retreat…people now, relationships are now most important, while before it was things. All that matters are people. Before, relating was scary, and ugly, now, relationships are life-affirming. That’s a pretty big deal for me.
It was a spiritual experience for me too. I opened the door and went into the Light. It was God. I heard the words, “We have been waiting for you.” I felt love and light around me, all over me and above me, I felt my body go upward. It just went there.
I have purpose now. I found it, I found my passion!"
-Barbara Scholten, Melbourne, Florida
"Wow. I am beyond words. For the first time in my life I can say I am really, truly healed. For the first time in my life, I can say I'm really, truly HAPPY. There is more to be fulfilled, more to create in life, but for the first time, I'm not longing to create it.
People respond to me differently even when I'm not at all aware of doing anything different than I usually would.
It's amazing. How all this is possible blows my mind, but there it is."
- Jason Howard, Massachusetts
"I have been to a lot of workshops, but this has been the most transformative. The attention to every little detail creates an atmosphere of complete trust and safety that allowed all of us to go deep and release our fears, guilt, depression, loss, shame, sadness and complicated grief.
I released so much of what I was carrying around with me, in my body, that was holding me back. We all left feeling filled with Love and with a determination to go home and start again, a new beginning"
-Kathleen Wood, Provincetown, MA
"I feel a new joy welling up inside of me. I've been searching for this joy for the past 5 and a half years, since my husband’s diagnosis with and then death from, cancer. The retreat helped me to rediscover it, and I've been waking up each day since, experiencing it anew. My chronic underlying anxiety and feeling that the 'other shoe is going to drop' have lifted completely. I am lighter and happier and really truly enjoying life again. Jon is a fantastic facilitator. "
- Ellen Kittredge, Maryland
"I was so unsure as to what to expect. But I am on a search for answers, and direction. I didn't know for sure what my work would involve.
I appreciate the respect and space and attention you gave me through that process. Thank you for the work that you do, and for the grace that you handle life and people with.
I came home with new friendships, and a new beginning and a new focus.
On Sunday, at the end of the retreat, I experienced what communion is truly all about for the first time.
- Melinda Ash, Center,Texas
"Thank you for being there for me and helping all of us go deeper within. Jon was fully present and very in touch with the all the different energies in the room. He is very intuitive and has a deep understanding of what drives our emotional behavior. Jon has a gift and I highly recommend his work. Thank you so much. Many blessings to you, I know we will see each other again."
- Ziad Azzi, Union, N.J.