The annual Holistic Centers Gathering is truly international with participants from the UK, Europe, US, Canada, Mexico, Kenya, Sri Lanka and China joining us this year. The Gathering includes centers that describe themselves in different ways and yet share a holistic approach; retreat, wellness, sustainability, spiritual or centers of transformational learning, all are dedicated to the awakening of consciousness. Nearly 60 participants from thirty five centers in nine countries will be represented, including eight different states across the United States, and fourteen centers joining us for the first time.
Indian Point Retreats, Maine, USA
Some of the leading centers on the US are based on the East and West Coast. It’s a delight to meet centers located in other areas. This year Kristi Stangeland owner and manager of Indian Point Retreats in Maine will be joining the Gathering for the first time and we look forward to learning from each other.
Newbold Trust, Scotland, UK
Newbold Trust is a transformative social enterprise run by a small community committed to sustainability and nurturing positive change. They offer workshops, retreats, venue hire and accommodation, within easy reach of mountains, forest and coast. Dorota Owen will be joining us for the Gathering representing Newbold House in her role as Co-Chair of Trustees.
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, (OAEC) California, USA
OAEC in Sonoma County will be joining us again and sending along Jenyng Wu their beloved Operations Director. Founded in 1994, OAEC supports diverse communities to design their own regenerative systems at the regional and local scale and brings a wealth of practical experience.
The Haven, BC, Canada
The new CEO Warren Fraleigh will be joining us for the first time, although the center has participated many times and hosted the Gathering in 2014. Participating in a recent HCN webinar Warren saw the benefit of one of his team, Naomi Melnyk, closely involved in programming and marketing joining the Gathering too.
Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon, USA
All three Directors of Breitenbush Hot Springs will be joining us for the Gathering in May and we’re delighted to welcome their expertise into the circle. Peter Moore, Business Director and co-founder of BBHS, is also the President of the Holistic Centers Network (HCN). Brinton Reed, Director of Marketing, Events and Hospitality, will be joining us for the second time, and Jon Hass, Finance Director will be joining us for the first time.
Rancho La Puerta, Mexico
Ludwig Maximillian Fischer teaches there every year, on ecological, holistic living, the major ideas behind it and the holistic vision of Edmond Bordeaux Szekely. Rancho La Puerta was founded in 1940 and is at the root of many other holistic centers. During the Gathering Ludwig will offer a session on the history and meaning of a holistic culture.
Saratoga Springs, California, USA
Chas Nol, Managing Director of Saratoga Springs will be joining us again sharing his inspiration and re-connecting with peers. “For more than 20 years I have found profound transformation, inspiration and countless beautiful souls at Saratoga Springs. There is a magical quality to this land where so many people, like me, have experienced remarkable personal growth. It is our mission to ensure this place is available for this and future generations to rest, play, connect and awaken”.
Kashii Conscious Community, Florida, USA
Kashi Ashram is an interfaith spiritual community based on kindness, compassion and service, embracing the sacred practices of many traditions. The CEO, Swami Durga Das, will be attending the Gathering for the second and bringing his colleague Baba Ram.
Retreat Guru, BC, Canada
Co-founder, Cameron Wenaus, will be attending for the third time and bringing his colleague Michelle Heinz who has been faithfully attending each HCN webinar since first connecting with us!
Michelle says, “I work with Retreat Guru and used to run a retreat center in BC, Canada so I will be wearing several hats. I want to deepen my understanding of the needs of centres and and their challenges so I can serve them better, I want to share successes and challenges of a centre I ran and am still deeply involved with. I also want to get to connect and learn more deeply with like minded people. I am very excited about this- thanks for your many efforts to put this together!”
West Lexham, England, UK
Each center is unique and West Lexham in Norfolk, England is no exception. Offering treehouse and glamping holidays, as well as retreats, weddings and venue hire, we’re delighted to welcome the managing team, Edmund Colville and Isabelle Winkler, to their first experience of the Centers Gathering. They are transitioning from a rental model to program model and are keen to learn from other centers.
Harbin Hot Springs, California, USA
Elaine Watt, Managing Director, will be joining us again, as one of the small core of devoted community member rebuilding following the devastating fire in September 2015 which destroyed more than 2,000 structures and burned more than 76,000 acres. All the major pieces for their Phase 1 opening (pools, sundeck, simple services) are largely in place and they’re completing a variety of sub-projects and details. We look forward to hearing an update the timeline for re-opening and to learning from their many lessons as they navigated this challenging time and reviewed their organization.
Sierra Hot Springs, California, USA
Sierra Hot Springs is a sister community of Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California and Kaisa MacDonald will be attending the the Gathering for the first time. Sierra Hot Springs is a non-profit retreat and workshop center located at the cusp of an enchanted forest and a beautiful alpine valley. For centuries, Native Americans have regarded this land as a sacred healing place.
Haiwen, Shenzen, China
Sean Feng completed the Haven Diploma program in Counselling Skills and then opened Haiwen, as part of the first wave of personal growth in China. In 2015 he organised our first gathering in Asia, hosted by the House of I on the outskirts of Beijing. Sean continues to be a wonderful bridge between the Holistic Centers Network and China as the holistic impulse becomes more tangible there. He is also a Board member of HCN.
Bene Wellness Institute, Beijing, China
Tony Liu, Founder of Bene Wellness Institute in Beijing will be joining the Centers Gathering for the first time and bringing with him the latest technology in simultaneous translation! He will be accompanied by his colleague Sean, who is fluent in both English and Mandarin, as we immerse ourselves in cross cultural learning and exchange of ideas.
Le Monastere des Augustines, Quebec, Canada
Isabelle Duchesneau, Executive Director of Le Monastere des Augustines in beautiful Old Quebec will be joining us for the Gathering in May, along with her colleague Lucie-Geneviève Gingras. Isabelle attended her first Gathering in 2013 when Le Monastere was still in concept stage. She then hosted the event just three years later, soon after they opened, sharing the delights of their 400 year holistic history combined with modern day comforts with us all!
Hollyhock, BC, Canada
The new CEO of Hollyhock, BC, Canada, Peter Wrinch, will be joining the Gathering for the first time, along with Charlene Lo, Program & Communications Director. Charlene joined us last year and gave a great marketing presentation, sharing her agency training with us all. It’s great to welcome them both into the circle as Hollyhock will be our host for this unique event in 2019.
Mount Madonna, California, USA
Mount Madonna is a Yoga, Conference and Retreat Center nestled in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Madonna Center’s Sustainability Council works to align the daily operations of the Center with the practice of ahimsa (non-violence) and a deep commitment to environmental stewardship. Ratna Sturz long term community member will be attending the Gathering again, along with Jai Aguirre who grew up in the community, joining us for the first time.
Open Center, New York, USA
Co-founder of the Holistic Centers Network and the New York Open Center, Ralph White will be joining us in May, along with Leslie Hoffman, who recently stepped into the role of President of NYOC. As the 2018 Gathering is being hosted by Omega in up state New York, we’re delighted that a visit to the Open Center is possible as part of the five day schedule. Ralph is also on the Board of HCN.
Stage Ai, Beijing, China
Stage Ai offers holistically-based educational programs to create positive transformation in individuals and the world. Founded in San Francisco, it was launched in Beijing in 2016. Yan Chen, the co-founder, is one of the first Chinese graduates of the California Institute of Integral Studies. To foster greater connection, Stage Ai works to build a conscious bridge between China and the West.
Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, UK
Christine Lines, Network Weaver of the Findhorn Foundation, and Executive Director of the Holistic Centers Network, will be attending her tenth Gathering this May. Over 50 years ago the founders of Findhorn sensed in meditation that a vast network of holistic centers existed around the world. Now we’re in direct communication with each other, in the spirit of mutual learning and support, as the network continues to grow from strength to strength and collectively touches the lives of many thousands of people in heart opening ways.
Vishva Niketan Peace Centre of Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka
Charika Marasinghe, a Human Rights and Child Rights Lawyer, will be joining us in her role as a volunteer for the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. This is the largest people’s movement in Sri Lanka working in 15,000 villages founded by her father Dr A T Ariyaratne in 1958. Charika will be representing Vishva Niketan International Peace and Meditation Centre, the spiritual arm of Sarvodaya, a charitable trust established 18 years ago with the objective of promoting inner and outer peace. Charika is exploring the possibility of connecting Vishva Niketan with organizations across the world that share a similar vision.
Menla, NY, USA
Michael Burbank, Director of Menla, will be joining us for the first time along with his colleague Nate Hughes, Program Director. Menla’s vision is to draw from Tibetan wisdom sciences to reinforce the new wave of integrative medicine now emerging in Western societies. His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has expressed his enthusiasm for Menla, especially because he believes Tibetan medicine is one of the greatest contributions of Tibetan Buddhist culture.
International Peace Initiatives, (IPI) Meru, Kenya
Dr. Karambu Ringera, Founder and President of IPI, is renowned for her cutting edge work in innovative and sustainable models of development and peace building, women’s human rights and global leadership programs around the world. Karambu is a visionary, an activist, a compassionate, committed, formidable force for change, and an inspiration to all who meet her. We’re delighted she’s joining us for the Gathering for the third time and for Karambu it’s a dream come true to visit Omega.
For the past 40 years Omega has been dedicated to awakening the best in the human spirit. Carol Donahoe has been at Omega for twelve years and is the Program Director and Veronica Domingo is the Assistant Director. They both attended their first Gathering in 2016 and offered to host the event this year. It’s been a delightful collaboration and we’re delighted how their support has enabled the Gathering to grow in strength. Carol is also on the Board of HCN.
Indigo Retreat, NC, USA
Lisa Garcia founder of Indigo Retreat will be joining us for the first time with her partner Alex. Located in the heart of Pisgah National forest with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the canvas and dense foliage, rolling currents, and diverse trails all around. They offer the choice of cabin rentals, signature retreats and personal retreats.
Esalen Institute, California, USA
Anchored by the inspiring beauty of Big Sur and an unparalleled intellectual history, Esalen is a world-wide network of seekers who look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities; forge new understandings of self and society; and pioneer new paths for change. We’re delighted General Manager, Terence Gilbey and his wife Kimberley, a cultural anthropologist, HR Director, Tatyana Sanikovich and Marketing Director, Lori Putnam will all be joining us.
Kripalu, NY, USA
Kripalu is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga. Susie Arnett, Program Director, and Sherri Pelski, VP of Revenue, will be attending the Gathering first time. Susie says, ‘So excited to be coming to this event (finally!) and for Kripalu to be represented and part of the conversation in May. Very much looking forward!’
Divination Foundation, Oregon, USA
Paul O’Brien pioneered the divination software category in 1989 by developing and publishing the interactive Synchronicity I Ching program. He later founded what became the world’s largest divination websites, I-Ching.com and Tarot.com. Paul wrote Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God and The Visionary I Ching: A Book of Changes for Intuitive Decision Making to help people access, understand and use these ancient tools for making better choices, tapping intuition, and living a more abundant and joyful life. His new book, Great Decisions, Perfect Timing: Cultivating Intuitive Intelligence is now available. Paul gave an inspiring talk during the Beijing Gathering and his book on the I Ching is now being translated into Mandarin. He will be attending the Gathering for the fifth time.
Guest House Center, CT, USA
Saralyn Kerrigan will be attending her first Gathering, representing the Guest House Center. The name is inspired by the poem, The Guest House, by Rumi, a 13th century mystic poet. The aim of Guest House is to provide a nurturing, supportive environment that will allow individuals to focus on their work and use their collective energy to develop their human potential, strengthen their organizations, and bring their individual work into the world.
Clear Sky Retreat Center, BC, Canada
Karen McAllister, the Board Chair of Clear Sky, will be attending her first Gathering. She was introduced by Michelle Heinz, former ED of Clear Sky, who is now with Retreat Guru. Karen had her annual retreat originally planned at this time and then wrote to say, ‘My teachers and the board approached me yesterday about attending the Gathering instead and suggested I move my retreat to a later date. This is quite unusual for them to do this, and I trust them very much’.
House of I, Beijing, China
The House of I provided the perfect venue for our first Gathering in China in October 2015. Eric Lee, General Manager, was closely involved in the event and will now be joining us for his first Gathering in the States. Keen to learn how other holistic centers are running, we imagine a flow of ideas and inspiration.
Kalani Honua, Hawaii, USA
Joel Tan, Executive Director of Kalani Honua, will be joining us for the second year. When he shared his concerns at the last Gathering about the lack of integration Kalani had with the Indigenous community around them, this started a conversation amongst the group that created it’s own energy and inspired us to pick the theme ‘Exploring the Value of Diversity and Inclusion’ for this year’s Gathering.
Jacalyn Bennett is a founder of Insight Meditation Center Newburyport. She was voted onto the Omega board in November 2017 and this will be her first Centers Gathering.
TERRApia School of Transformation, NY, USA
Dina Ostrovsky is the founder and primary teacher of TERRApia School of Transformation, founded in 2015. Dina weaves modern psychology, creative expression, and ancient spiritual practices into her transformational programs. Since 2009, she has led Family Constellation seminars and private coaching sessions in the New York Metro area. They currently run holistic programs in New York and Boston. This will be her first Gathering and Dina says, ‘I feel it could be a big step up for me to connect to the wisdom and experience of established centers.’
HeartIQ, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Christian Pankhurst is the co-founder of New Eden, a residential wellness and retreat centre on the outskirts of Amsterdam, and has extensive experience in group dynamics and conflict resolution. He started facilitating in 2002 while offering his gifts as a Chiropractor. Inspired by the Conversations with God books written by Neale Donald Walsch, Christian created Heart iQ as a way for men and women to experience oneness and to embody what it feels like to live from the Heart. This will be his first experience of the Gathering.
Rachel Davey was Executive Director of The Haven in BC, Canada for ten years and soon after releasing the role was invited to become a Board Member of the Holistic Centers Network. Rachel hosted the Gathering at The Haven in 2014 and has attended for several years, this year in a new capacity!
Werner Brandt is closely involved with Joanna Macy and The Work that Reconnects and also a Board Member of the Holistic Centers Network. This will be Werner’s third consecutive Gathering. He will be accompanied by his wife Abby who will join the outings, meals and socialising and the occasional group session.
Joanne Station joined the 2016 Gathering in Quebec City inspired by the dream of establishing a retreat center in her home town of Boise, Idaho. Joanne has a particular interest in bringing the holistic approach into business and for several months last year lived and worked with the House of I in China helping them to develop holistic programmes in the community.
Ali Slous met participants from the 2017 Gathering during their follow on visit to Kalani Honua, where she recently served as Director of Storytelling. This will be her first time participating, made possible via a partnership with HCN. Originally from Montclair, NJ, Ali went to school in upstate NY and is looking forward to visiting her homeland!