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  • D.J. McKay

Fall Retreat in Western North Carolina

Hello, good people!

I’m pleased to announce that we have dates and a venue for our second annual fall retreat in Western North Carolina! Here’s the scoop:


Beginning in the afternoon on Monday, September 30 and ending around noon on Sunday, October 6


At the Bend of Ivy Lodge, near Asheville. The day the retreat ended last fall in Western North Carolina my collaborators and I went to check out this Lodge, with the idea that we might rent the facility for a follow-up retreat this year. We loved it!!!! It’s beautiful, quiet, and the facilities will suit our needs very well. There are lovely spots all over the property to sit and just be, which include a sweet little fish pond, several gardens, and a gorgeous river (the Ivy) at the bottom of the property. Here’s a link to their website in case you want to check it out: https://bendofivylodge.com/.

About the retreat:

I'm pleased to announce that Christa Rypins will be joining us once again for this retreat! Christa will lead movement and teach us ways to be comfortable and skillfully present in our bodies. Those of you who attended the retreat last fall In North Carolina know what a special opportunity this is. I've known and worked with Christa for over 23 years at this point, and she’s an absolute wizard. I know we’ll learn a ton from her, and in a way that will complement the spiritual and psychological work we'll be doing throughout the five days. (For more information about Christa and the work she does, visit her website: http://www.intelligentbody.net/meet_christa)

In terms of structure, my thinking at this point is that Bend of Ivy Lodge will be an excellent place to host a traditional retreat of the sort we enjoyed last year at the same time. We will follow a daily schedule together that will include:

  • three or four half-hour meditation periods a day

  • two group discussions per day. Typically I’ll facilitate a workshop in the morning on a particular topic, then we’ll have an open group in the evening.

  • Movement with Christa

  • One on one conversations with me for those who would like that

  • Time to walk, rest, and just be

The entire experience will be held in silence, as usual (apart from the workshop sessions and guidance). There will likely be small opportunities for working meditation as well. As always there will be plenty of yummy and nourishing food (maybe Christa will make us some more treats!), and lots of space for reflection and being in nature.

You will need to be prepared to share a room with one or more other people. There are some private rooms available, and these will go to those who most need them. Camping is an option, however, so if you would prefer to have privacy and enjoy sleeping in a tent you could do that instead.


I offer everything I do on a donation basis. I know that some people have plenty of money and some do not, and I’ve found that if I allow people to give what they can instead of charging a specific fee then those who have little give little, while those with more give more, and everything works out in the end.

The cost of the retreat will depend upon how many folks attend, but a rough estimate would be around $750 per person. This includes accommodations, all the meals, and transportation for staff. $750 seems perfectly reasonable to me for all that, and yet I know that could be a lot of money for some folks, so I'm going to arrange for scholarships to be available to those who need them. It's important to me that someone who wants to do the work and wants this experience to deepen their practice not be denied because of lack of funds. If you want to attend but are concerned about the money, just let me know and we'll work something out.

In addition to the actual retreat costs, I will be asking for donations at the end of the retreat. These donations will go to Christa and I, and will be used to support the two of us as we do the work that we are each called to offer to the world.

To register, please make a non-refundable donation of $250 through my website (www.theoneopendoor.org). This will save you a place in the retreat. At the beginning of March I will ask for an additional $250 to cover the remainder of the costs. At the end of the retreat I will add up the actual costs and tell everyone what they were, so we can make small adjustments if needed. If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund just use one of the donation buttons on the website and send me an email so I know what the money is for.

I'm going to sign people up on a first-come, first-serve basis. I don't know if we'll end up with just a small group or if we'll fill the place, and either is fine by me, but I expect the latter. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to email me at djmckay429@gmail.com.

Thank you for your time and your attention to this. I hope you will consider this opportunity to deepen your practice and share your practice within community. I hope you also will forward this message to anyone you know who you think may be interested in attending. Thank you, my friends, for your ongoing support, for your willingness to do the work of ending suffering, and for being the beautiful person that you are.

In peace,