The Fierce Beauty of the Elements:
Exploring the Paradox of Destruction and Renewal
La Casa de Maria Retreat Center, Santa Barbara, California
October 1-3, 2014

Every atom of oxygen in our lungs, of carbon in our muscles,
of calcium in our bones,
Of iron in our blood—was created inside a star before the Earth was born.

(Quote at an exhibit in the Hayden Planetarium, NYC, NY)

This retreat is an invitation to encounter and awaken to the “fierce beauty” that is our birthright, the elements from which we, this Earth, and this Universe we call home, are formed. Everything that happens on the earth: beauty, fierceness, gentleness, destructiveness, resilience, call for our respectful and reverent kinship.

We love nature in its wild beauty, extol its splendor, yet when hurricanes rage, or earthquakes rumble, we proclaim them natural “disasters”. What if we called them natural phenomena—part of nature’s vital forces and powers, deserving our curiosity and wonder?

Our inability to comprehend the totality of our deep relationships with the natural world has led to the unbalanced conditions the planet is experiencing today, as well as robbing us of vital sources in our own nature. By daring to embrace this very fierceness in the natural world, we can unleash what is most alive, free and whole within ourselves and come into a different relationship with both.

In this retreat we will use the circle of trust© process, pioneered by Dr. Parker Palmer, with a special emphasis on the “knowing’ of our bodies to hold the paradoxes of the awesome and the awe-ful. We will discover how to tune in to the fierce beauty of the elements in the natural world and within ourselves through the lens of movement, stories, art and poetry. We hope you can join us! (Please mail the attached application by May 9, 2014.)

Retreat Leadership:
Caryl Hurtig Casbon, an interfaith minister and writer, works through the Center for Courage & Renewal, leading circle of trust programs for clergy, health care providers, and leaders in education that address Reconnecting Soul & Role, Befriending the Unknown, and Embracing Eldership.

Susan Plummer, PhD, a psychotherapist and director for the Alliance for Living & Dying Well in Santa Barbara, is also the author of a recently published, Deep Change: Befriending the Unknown. Before directing the Alliance, Susan was the director of hospice in northern California and is a facilitator for the Center for Courage & Renewal.

Penny R. Williamson, ScD, is an internationally recognized healthcare facilitator and educator. She is founding facilitator and mentor for the Center for Courage & Renewal and Associate Professor of Medicine (part time), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

About the La Casa de Maria:
Located in Monticito, near beautiful Santa Barbara, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, La Casa de Maria is situated next to a Peace garden, is surrounded by woodlands and the waters of the San Ysidro Creek, and offers a labyrinth surrounded by oak trees in addition to beautiful, private meeting rooms, an ideal retreat setting for this program.

Program Fee: $575.00
Room & Board Double Occupancy: $223.00,
Single Room:

download full brochure and application here (pdf)