The first and most important piece of guidance that most spiritual traditions offer the beginner or initiate is to seek within. This means ‘withdraw from the world and search your mind’. It means ‘Go to a place of quiet and beauty where you can give yourself time alone.’ It also means ‘Find the time and place to listen to your soul’. This time, this experience, can be a purely personal encounter, unregulated and unaccompanied, or it can be a structured process entered into with a trained professional. What are you feeling you need? What approach suits you? Maybe you have gone on a retreat before and right now you’d like to learn some spiritual disciplines. Maybe in a month or so you’d like to come back and practice what you have already learned. Or perhaps, if you’re beginning this search for your spiritual self, you just want to be refreshed by a day alone in nature. All of these approaches are valid and appropriate ways to retreat. Only you know which is best for you at any particular time. We offer a variety of retreat formats during the course of the year, for individuals and groups, to suit your needs and help support you in your spiritual journey.
Introductory instructed group retreat (full day)
Coming to an instructed retreat is a great first step in trying to give your spiritual life the time and mental attention it needs. You will learn about how best to use your retreat time and how to make your retreat most meaningful. You will be given plenty of time, during this retreat, to experience the value of solitude and silence and the beauty of the surroundings. A healthy lunch, with morning and afternoon snacks, is provided. During the day you will learn about, practice and become familiar with spiritual disciplines that have been part of the seeker’s repertoire for centuries because they make one more receptive to the presence of God:
- spectatio divina
- the labyrinth
- prayer beads
- a rule of life
Look at the Calendar to see when the next Instructed Group Retreat is being held. You’ll want to call us and sign up for it as well as send in your deposit to guarantee that a place is reserved for you.
Advanced instructed group retreat (full day)
People well versed in using the above spiritual disciplines will find new opportunities for growth by investigating these additional possibilities to encounter God:
- dream interpretation
- Ignatian Exercises
- The Enneagram
- the Dark Night of the Soul
- the trajectory of spiritual formation
- Spiritual Direction (individual and group)
You will learn about, practice and become familiar with these techniques so that you feel confident in practicing them alone. In certain cases, experts are invited to speak and demonstrate techniques. You will be provided with background material on these aspects of the spiritual journey and ways you can work with trained professionals on an individual or group basis to further your spiritual development. As usual, there will be plenty of time to experience the value of solitude and silence and the beauty of the surroundings. A healthy lunch, as well as morning and afternoon snacks, is provided.
Look at the Calendar to see when the next Advanced Instructed Group Retreat is being held. You’ll want to call us and sign up for it as well as send in your deposit to guarantee that a place is reserved for you.
Individual self-guided retreat (full or half day)
Coming to Tigg’s Pond for a day or part of a day to hike and rest and enjoy the silence is a worthwhile endeavor wherever you are in your spiritual journey. You may not want to practice anything. You may just need peace and quiet and solitude. You can structure your own time here and wander the property or stay in the Event Barn – as weather and whim dictate. Bring a book, your camera or sketch pad, a journal or your ipod. Or don’t bring anything at all. There is a lot here to discover and experience: walk in the garden or hike up the mountain trail to the waterfall, swim in the pond or lie in a hammock. There is plenty of outdoor seating scattered around the grounds and lots of trees, plants, flowers and birds to look at (when you’re not looking within). Kitchen and bathroom facilities, chairs on the covered porch and couches in the Library area (as well as a lot of interesting books on spirituality) are available at the Barn. You will want to bring your lunch and a water bottle, and sunscreen and repellant when appropriate.
All you have to do is pick a day to come, call to reserve it and sign in and out when you come and go. We’re happy to have you here and we won’t interfere with your desire for silence and solitude. However you use your retreat, you will leave refreshed and calm and life will have a clearer perspective just from having taken the time away.
Individual guided retreat (full or half day)
After you’ve attended an instructed group retreat, you may want to come back for an individual guided retreat to practice and fine tune these disciplines with the Retreat Director. Or perhaps this is your first visit and you’d like some guidance about what to do on a retreat. You might want to talk about the state of your spiritual life or get help finding the right practice for you to begin working with. A short focus session with the Retreat Director will help you plan your day and get more out of your retreat time. You check in again at lunchtime and before you leave. We find this is a good way to answer questions as they come up and suggest new avenues while there is still time to think about them in quiet and solitude. Bring your lunch and a water bottle and perhaps a journal. If you will be outdoors, bring sunscreen and repellant when appropriate.
All you have to do is pick a day to come, call to reserve it and let us know what you want to focus on so we’re prepared to talk about it with you when you come. We’ll leave you plenty of time to wander outside or read a book as well. And you’ll leave with some resources and information sheets to help you on your way.
Themed group retreats (full day)
Periodically, we present a topic of particular interest to spiritual seekers and delve into it for a day in some detail. We may have a speaker who is an expert or long time practitioner come talk on the subject. There may be a film or video shown. You will have the opportunity to discuss this topic in a small group as well as within the larger group and to go off and work on some aspect individually. We plan to have at least two themed retreats each year on such topics as:
- Feminist Spirituality
- Art and Spirituality
- The Mystics and the Spirituality of Mysticism
- The Enneagram
- Environmental Spirituality
- Discipleship in the Christian Tradition
- Activism and Service
- Wisdom Jesus and the Wisdom Tradition
Check our website to see what themed retreats are coming up, or ask to be on the notification list so you receive an e mail about these special offerings as soon as they become available. If you’re interested in attending one, you’ll want to call us and sign up for it as well as send in your deposit to guarantee that a place is reserved for you.
The thing to remember about retreats is that they aren’t a one-time activity. A retreat is a wonderful way to periodically tune up your soul and get back on track with yourself. You may find you like to do some things in a group environment and then return by yourself to reflect on these lessons with or without the guidance of a retreat director. It’s up to you. It’s your journey. We offer a variety of ways to support and encourage you and to provide an environment of peace, solitude and beauty for you to pursue your inner life.
We do encourage you to take retreat time, to seek within, because we know it’s important to your health and well-being. This yearning – this need for wholeness or healing or just some answers – won’t go away by being ignored. It is God-caused. It is an awakening within yourself that yearns for you to become the authentic person you were born to be. Your willingness to open up to this process, your desire for transformation and the discipline you marshal to make these changes are vital factors that feed your spiritual growth. To spend time with yourself on retreat isn’t a selfish endeavor, or some frivolous undertaking that won’t amount to anything. It is an effective and important part of your spiritual journey, which is the most important trip you will take in your life.