Classes & Retreats
Spiritual Retreats, Nature Therapy & Classes in Asheville, NC & Online
When: October 4, 11, 18
6:30 – 8:00 pm
The Dalai Lama has proclaimed, “My religion is kindness.” Most of us intend to be kind and yet find ourselves falling shorter of the goal than we would like. In this three-week class, we will practice Metta meditation, or loving-kindness meditation, a Buddhist practice of intentionally offering kindness to ourselves, to those we know and love, to those we who cause us grief, and to the world.
Each week we will focus on an aspect of this Metta style of meditation with prompts for conversation and journaling to invite us to notice where kindness is showing up in our lives or lacking. Homework to actively practice a variety of ways to express kindness will be given and we will have a chance to discuss our observations about the practices.
Center for Spiritual Wisdom
100 Elks Club Rd. Brevard, NC
Class is also available online
Praying the Vias: A Creation Spirituality Approach
When: Mondays in November: 7, 14, 21, 28
4:00 – 5:30pm
Creation Spirituality upholds the idea that divinity permeates all things, and that the Universe and all life within it is fundamentally a blessing. The spiritual approach follows a four-fold path: Via Positiva, Via Negativa, Via Creativa and Via Transformativa. What does it look like to pray through these Vias?
Over 4 weeks, we will focus on one via at a time, examining its spiritual meaning and exploring approaches to prayer to assist us in walking that particular path. Practices may include: calling the directions, centering prayer, lectio divina, devotional chanting, the prayer of examen, heart meditations, healing prayers, embodied prayer, prayer through art and poetry, prayers with nature, and simple rituals to engage the senses. Johanna Manasse will bring her knowledge of labyrinths into each class, as well. This will be an interactive experience as we practice these ways of praying together, not just learning about them, but entering into them.
At Jubilee! Community in downtown Asheville
46 Wall St.
“Laura beautifully blends intellectual curiosity, spiritual wisdom, music, sacred ritual and humor to create events which promise to stir the soul and touch the heart.”
– Suzannah Tebbe Davis, Your Awakened Life
Quiet Days – Hybrid Events
Give yourself the gift of 6 hours of quiet – time to sit, to meditate, to read, to journal, to create art, to laugh and cry, to stretch physically and spiritually! Held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 9 to 3, Laura creates a day of relaxation and spiritual deepening through guided meditations, gentle movement, journaling prompts, and invitations to silence and creative expression. Each month has a different theme. All will be held at Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall St., Asheville NC. Contact Laura for more information.
In-person cost (includes beverages, light snacks, and art supplies; bring your own lunch): $75
Online cost: $65
Read More About Upcoming Quiet Day Monthly Themes
October 19, 2022: Justice and Joy
Drew Canham says, “Joy is the justice we give ourselves.” In a world where injustice and our fight against it can exhaust and deplete us, how do we experience daily joy? Where do we find our juice without ignoring or bypassing the world’s pain? Register here (in-person event) or Register here (online event)
November 16, 2022: The Grace of Gratitude
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re reminded of the places where gratitude is easy and those where it is harder. Let’s get beyond platitudes to a gratitude practice that can be gritty and tough, and to the transformative grace that can result.
Love and Lament: A Day with Creation Retreat
During this half-day retreat, we will listen for the voice of the Creator speaking to us through the Creation, as well as through writers from various spiritual traditions. Contact Laura for more information.
Through guided and walking meditations, silence and journaling, conversation, and ritual, we will be invited to experience our love for creation, as well as the inevitable grief that comes as we acknowledge the crisis our earth and her species are in. Sometimes, this eco-grief can feel overwhelming, so we might numb ourselves to it. Entering into the poetry of lament found in the Psalms and other sacred texts, we will move through our grief by deepening our sense of passion and care. Moving toward a hope drenched in devotion, we will close our time together with worship.
Justice and Joy Mini-Retreats
Geared toward folks who are working in social justice spaces, these mini-retreats bring restoration and renewal to activists, those working with people in trauma, and others in front-line, essential jobs. Retreats can be arranged for nonprofit staff, movement leaders, or other small groups. They can be as short as 90 minutes or as long as a full day. Contact Laura for more information or to arrange a retreat for your group.
Forest Bathing Sessions
Forest bathing (“shinrin-yoku” in Japan) invites us to spend time in the forest to let the woods fill us with well-being, as we soak in all the senses of being in nature.
Spend two and a half hours with Laura Collins walking in the Blue Ridge Mountains around Asheville, NC, pausing to observe, listen, meditate, journal, and soak in the loving energy of the rocks, trees, plants and air. The healing properties of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the oldest and most bio-diverse mountains on earth, have been appreciated by diverse spiritual communities for hundreds of years. The Eastern Band of Cherokee hold ancient healing rituals in WNC to this day. George Vanderbilt chose this place for the Biltmore Estate after bringing his mother here for the healing air. A wide variety of religious groups – from Christian to Hindu to Buddhist – have chosen these mountains for their retreat centers. Laura has walked these Blue Ridge Mountains her entire life and lived in them full-time for the past 16 years. As much as she loves so many other beautiful places around the world, these mountains are the place where she finds the most consistent healing and connection. Come see why so many people find peace by resting in the lush forests of Western North Carolina.
What You Can Expect
Participants should be able to walk on moderate trails for up to 3 miles carrying their own water, and be comfortable sitting on the ground (or carrying your own camp chair). Small journals and pens are provided (but you can bring your own, if you prefer). The two hours will include walking, sitting in silence, and using guided meditation prompts to tune into the beauty and power of nature around you.