Join beloved poet James Crews and dharma teacher Heidi Bourne for 5 days and 4 nights for a very special springtime hybrid retreat. Come explore the everyday experience of living inside of joy and sorrow, as we make sense of a troubled world through the beautiful, profound, and nurturing practices of mindfulness, meditation, poetry and writing. Everyone is welcome - new and experienced meditators, new and experienced writers.
I write and share poetry that can be understood and appreciated by people of all ages and backgrounds. I believe that reading and writing can be gateways to kindness, gratitude, wonder, and joy—tools for slowing down and reflecting in a sped-up world. - James Crews
Meet us online from your home or in-person at Whispertree Retreat (formerly Bell Valley Retreat) in Boonville, California nestled among the serene hills, oak woodlands, and open meadows in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Just 2.5 hours north of San Francisco, Whispertree offers gorgeous accommodations, welcoming gathering spaces, a swimming pond, and six miles of hiking trails on 650-acres that weave through the beauty and solitude of the Anderson Valley.
Sunday to Thursday
April 7 - 11, 2024
Drawing on the teachings of the Buddha and everyday mindfulness, our retreat focuses on cultivating the capacity to skillfully navigate our day-to-day lives with a steady receptive mind and a courageous wise heart. Woven throughout peaceful silent mornings and interactive afternoons, our practices include foundational and transformative guidance for meeting ourselves with lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
Each day includes meditation and writing, daily dharma talks, gentle mindful movement, small group practice discussions, along with ample time for swimming in the pond, enjoying a hot tub, taking a hike, and space for relaxation and connection.
A variety of elegantly appointed accommodations are available at Whispertree Retreat. Whether staying in the Toll House, Bunk House, Creekside Cottage, Tent Cabins or the Bell Tents, all spaces are designed with attention to aesthetic beauty and connection to the land.
Indoor options include private indoor single rooms with private bathrooms in the Toll House, private bedrooms with shared bathrooms in the Creekside Cottage, or multi-person bedrooms with shared bathrooms in the Bunk House. Each of these indoor spaces accommodates both individuals or couples.
Outdoor options include spacious fully furnished luxury Tent Cabins or glamping Bell Tents. Each are set on wooden platform decks with awning covered porches, electricity, heated twin beds and shared bathroom facilities in a large beautiful bathhouse. Both the Tent Cabins and Bell Tents are great for two people and plenty roomy for one. You are also welcome to bring your own gear and camp.
Choose your lodging preference with registration.
Offered three times each day, our beautifully catered vegetarian meals will be nutritious, varied, and carefully designed to support contemplative retreat practice. Additionally, there are kitchens in each accommodation that you're welcome to use anytime if you'd like to bring any favorite items.
Pathways to Presence; a Dharma, Poetry, Meditation & Writing Retreat is suitable for everyone, and all are welcome; beginning and seasoned practitioners, beginning and seasoned and writers.
Pacific Mindfulness events are a safe and inclusive space. Retreats and classes are open to everyone, including LGBTQIA+, and those of any background age of 18 and over. We hope you'll join us!
Sunday to Thursday
April 7 - 11, 2024
Arrive Sunday, 4:00pm
Retreat Ends Thursday, 11:00am
Online Retreat: $295 to $695
Pacific Mindfulness is committed to increasing access to the teachings and practices of awareness, generosity, compassion, and wisdom. Offering fees at the higher levels for this online retreat option supports those who would otherwise not be able to participate. Thank you for your consideration.
At Whispertree: $1,395 to $2,395 per person, All-Inclusive
$1,395 - Bring Your Own Gear & Camp
$1,575 - Bell Tent, Shared Bathroom, double occupancy
$1,695 - Private Bell Tent, Shared Bathroom
$1,775 - Semi-Private Bunk House Room, Shared Bathroom
$1,775 - Private Tent Cabin, Shared Bathroom - FULL
$1,975 - Creekside Cottage, Private Room, Shared Bathroom, single occupancy - FULL
$2,295 - Toll House Room, Private Bathroom, single occupancy - FULL
$2,395 -Toll House Deluxe King Suite with Private Screen Porch & Private Bathroom, single occupancy - FULL
Limited financial assistance is available for the in-person retreat. Please apply here.
12378 Boonville Road
Boonville, CA 95415
Whispertree Retreat is located about 2.5 hours north of San Francisco and about 3.5 hours south of Eureka in the Anderson Valley, an area within the Navarro River Watershed – a pristine, sheltered valley surrounded by verdant rolling hills.
DAILY SCHEDULE: all times are Pacific Time
Early Morning Session: Heidi
7:15 Daily Dharma Instructions*
8:00 - Breakfast
Morning Session: Heidi
10:00 Sitting Meditation
10:30 Walking Meditation
11:15 Dharma Talk*
Afternoon Session: James
2:00 – Poetry with James*
3:00 - Open writing time
5:30 - Dinner
Evening Session: James & Heidi*
7:00 – Meditation
7:15 – Shared Writing
7:45 - Meditation to end the evening
*Indicates sessions will be recorded and provided to all participants after the retreat.
The Teaching Team:
James Crews is the editor of several bestselling anthologies, including The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, which has over 100,000 copies in print. He has been featured in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The Christian Science Monitor, and on NPR’s Morning Edition. James is the author of four prize-winning books of poetry—The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment—and a book of short essays, Kindness Will Save the World: Stories of Compassion and Connection. James also speaks and leads workshops on kindness, mindfulness, and writing for self-compassion. He lives with his husband on forty rocky acres in the woods of Southern Vermont.
Heidi Bourne is a meditation teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition and is the founder and guiding teacher of Pacific Mindfulness. She has been teaching since 2005 offering classes, series courses, nature retreats, trauma-informed and resiliency-focused professional programs, and teaches regularly for Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She holds certification in mindfulness facilitation from UCLA, trauma resiliency from the Trauma Resource Institute, and is a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. Heidi is especially interested in the integration of the common sense, accessible and timeless teachings of awareness, ethics, and compassion into the complexity of our everyday lives. She is known for her grounded, down-to-earth humor and presence. She has a background in nursing and has been a small business owner in Arcata, California for 35 years.
Heather Lear our movement teacher and retreat manager, was born and raised with the Dharma in a family of Insight Meditation practitioners. She studies and teaches at the intersection of heart-centered Dharma, embodiment practices including Radiant Heart Qigong and community-centered racial awakening and DEIA work, and serves as the Program Manager at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Heather is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Advanced Practitioners Program, the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training, Radiant Heart Qigong Teacher Training, and Awakening Joy Teacher Training. She has served on the teaching team offering the 6-month White and Awakening in Sangha program at the East Bay Meditation Center since 2019, and is currently training in Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness (TSM) and yoga with Janet Stone.