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  • D.J. McKay

Spring Retreat in Western NC!

Hello, everyone!

I'm writing today to remind you of the spring retreat coming up in western North Carolina! I hope you'll consider giving yourself the gift of a few days unplugged and away from the pressures and challenges of your everyday life; a few days of quiet, reflection, spiritual community, and support for the body and mind.

Here’s the scoop:


Beginning in the afternoon on Tuesday, April 21 and ending around noon on Sunday, April 26 (five nights total).


At the Heartwood Refuge, near Hendersonville, NC. It's an old hotel that a group of Buddhist have turned into a retreat center. I feel that it will suit our needs very well. The facility is nice, the grounds are lovely, and there's good walking around a nearby lake. Best of all, the place is huge, with a great many bedrooms, and so it's likely that many who attend will have a private room and bath. It may be that we will share the facility with another group on retreat, but I have an agreement with the owners that they will only pair us with a group who will also be there to practice in silence. And get this: they will do the cooking! This involves more than a little letting go for me, as I have strong feelings about food and I want people who come on retreat with me to have a good experience of vegetarian cooking, but the word on the street says the food is good, so I'll just let go and trust the process....

Here’s a link to their website in case you want to check it out: https://www.heartwoodrefuge.org/

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 have been on retreat with Christa will know what a special opportunity this is. I've known and worked with Christa for over 25 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 retreat. (For more information about Christa and the work she does, visit her website: http://www.intelligentbody.net/meet_christa)

The structure of the retreat will be geared to balance structured support and time to take care of yourself and just be. We will follow a daily schedule together that will include:

  • Three half-hour meditation periods a day

  • Two group discussions per day.

  • Movement with Christa

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

  • Three vegetarian meals

  • 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 be small opportunities for working meditation, and lots of space for reflection and being in nature.

You will need to be prepared to share a room with one other person. I'm going to do everything in my power to provide private rooms for everyone, but I can't guarantee it. The rooms are lovely and spacious however, and each has it's own bath, and so I'm sure everyone will be comfortable whether they have a private room or no.


It will cost us $106 per person per night for five nights, or $530. This covers food and accommodation. I estimate that it will cost another $60-$70 per person to pay for Christa's transportation and lodging and other expenses (my accommodation is free as the teacher/organizer), so let's say $600 total per person for actual costs. At the end of the retreat I will ask for donations to support Christa and I in the work that we do, as usual.

As I've done before, I will break the payment for actual costs into two non-refundable chunks. The reason I make these non-refundable is in order to support people in actually making it to the retreat once they have made the initial commitment. Conditioned mind has a way of talking us out of things that are healthy and expansive, which deepen our experience of life and our connection to ourselves, and so it helps to have some money on the line.

To register:

In order to register for the retreat, please use one of the donation buttons on the website (www.theoneopendoor.org) in order to make an initial, non-refundable deposit of $250. It will be helpful if you include a note to say that the money is a deposit for the April retreat. As the retreat gets closer I will ask everyone for the remaining $350.

I would like to make it possible for everyone who sincerely wants to do the work to be able to attend this retreat, whether they can afford the $600 fee and a donation, or not. If you are someone for whom $600 is a lot of money, let me know and we'll work something out. If you are someone for whom the $600 fee is not a big deal and who would like to provide a scholarship for someone who cannot afford the fee, just let me know and thank you very much.

Thank you for your time and your attention. 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 people that you are.

In peace,