We offer healing emotional bereavement retreats for those who have lost loved ones. People attend to find a safe space to let their feelings of grief and other emotions out, with the support of a loving and compassionate community.
People attend our bereavement retreats due to losses, great and small. While many people attend because of a significant loss of a husband, wife, child, or other family member, others participate because of a series of painful experiences that have left them stuck in their lives and unable to find joy again.
Our retreats are a journey into deep emotional pain with an experienced guide and the support of a loving community. We keep the size of each retreat to a maximum of 12 participants.
The first step, over the first night and part of the next day is building a sense of safety and support, through guided exercises and interactions with the other participants. We create a family atmosphere where everyone can share not just their thoughts but the deeper parts of themselves...their ideas, perceptions, and feelings.
During this period, we teach and practice together what we call The Skills and Principles of Loving, a series of statements that form the foundation of our work with grief, bereavement, and related emotions.
People remark on how close they feel to everyone even though they only just met them. We get to deeply know each other; we relax as we share dinner and breakfast together. Everyone helps out with preparing, serving, and cleaning up each meal.
As we shift into the next part of the retreat, each participant shares with the group why they are there, including relevant aspects of their life and relationships.
Grief and loss are the major themes, but other themes emerge that are part of the whole community's story. These are often parts of our stories that we normally don't share, except with close friends or psychotherapists.
In sharing our pains, our joys, our ups and downs, everyone feels closer together. Participants gradually feel closer to each other, on a journey of mutual loving support.
After lunch and a break, we present a map of the deep work we will do with the group supporting each person to go deep into their stories and into their bodies to find the next step. What that step will be is different for each participant.
Our work is not an intellectual exercise but a journey inward and downward, down into the issues in our bodies. It's body wisdom that we call on. It's the pain in our hearts we call a broken heart, the pain in our bellies that we call gut feelings, the heavy pain, and weight of the world on our shoulders, etc. It's the heaviness of our breath, the tiredness in our bones, the feelings of being stabbed in our backs or sides, etc. etc. We call those expressions metaphors, but they feel real to us, and going into these places within us can bring about a deep transformation and release.
We present a model of personal growth using both modern psychology and ancient wisdom. And then, one at a time, each participant, supported by the group leader and the whole group, finds their way into and through suppressed feelings concerning death, grief, and their life situation.
We find light within the dark within each person. No two people are the same, and so each journey is unique.
We all learn more about saying "yes" to everything that life presents to us, even the loss of loved ones. What helps is sharing the treasures of our journeys with others in our past and soaking in the love of the newfound friends in the group.
Grief is the heaviest and slowest of the feelings. We do not erase the pain of bereavement but rather support each person on the journey through this aspect of their lives.
The group helps each person return a little or a bigger bit to the present moment of loving interactions. The gift of the bereavement retreat is in sharing of our love with each other as part of the human family.
Our retreats are called Grief, Loss, and Difficult Emotions Retreats and we offer them six or seven times yearly.
Once a year, in the summer, we offer Breaking Free To Emotional Wellness, an extended version of the same retreat.
Most of the retreats are held at Star Dance Ranch in a small town in Massachusetts. We also offer one retreat a year in January, in Orlando Florida, and sometimes in California.
To leave me a message, please see the Grief contact form below.