Forest Meditation Retreat

Join a group of ecological changemakers on a unique one-day experiential learning retreat where you will expand your awareness in the forest and study the art of nature through your senses.

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Go Beyond Thinking and Rewild Your Senses

The global ecological crisis we face today is ultimately a crisis of consciousness. We have become disconnected from nature and the ancestral knowledge that helped us live in reverence and harmony with the living, breathing Earth we inhabit.

This one-day retreat at ThinkSpot in the Lowville Forest will explore five elements of rewilding our senses and exploring our perception of nature.

We will explore the dominance of mechanistic, reductionist science today and how modern people have been taught to see nature as mechanistic and without meaning while giving us the false perception of standing outside of nature and above it.

By helping us to become a major force on the Planet, conventional science has inadvertently helped to create the global ecological crisis by enabling the development of technology that's being used not to cooperate or mimic nature — to learn from nature — but rather to dominate it.

Fortunately, there is a holistic science emerging that can re-balance this fragmented worldview with the ancient, animistic worldview of humanity that we are an intimate part of the interconnected web of life.

This other way of perceiving our place in the world is both ancient and a growing movement in ecology and biological sciences. It recognizes that every aspect of the Earth from the soil, to the forests, and the atmosphere that sustains us are intelligent, self-organizing systems and everything is interconnected.

What You Will Learn At This Retreat:

We will explore a series of nature connection and embodied meditation practices to help you develop a deeper feeling of awe and wonder at the magic of biodiversity and the miracle of life.

We will practice shifting our perception toward seeing our world in a more animistic way as an integral part of our breathing Planet and how we can heal ourselves and our communities through tuning into nature.

1. Healing The Mind:

We will explore nature connection rituals where you can develop your knowledge of the interconnected symbiosis of plants, trees, birds, animals, and fungi, which can give you a deeper sense of reverence for life.

We will learn the practice of forest meditation and explore the power of awe and wonder to rekindle curiosity, relax the mental chatter of the thinking mind and make you feel more alive.

2. Healing The Body:

So many degenerative and mental illnesses are driven by our sedentary, modern culture. We need to move, stretch and play daily to maintain healthy bodies and minds.

Learn a simple set of Qigong movement practices that you can do anywhere to build greater strength, balance, and flexibility while also increasing the power of your focus and concentration.

3. Healing The Spirit:

The English word “spirit” comes from the Latin “spiritus”, which means breath, as well as soul, courage, and vitality. In its ancient context, it also meant air, wind, and the living spirit of Mother Nature.

Breathing is the physical function that energizes our bodies and connects us to the living world around us. We will explore how to developing meditation and breathwork rituals that can calm the incessant chatter of your analytical mind and help you enjoy a richer sensory experience.

4. Healing The Tribe:

Many of the amazing technological advances of the modern world that have given us bigger houses, inexpensive cars, and smartphones in our pockets have been accompanied by a loss of community and shallower relationships that have resulted in a growing epidemic of loneliness.

We will explore social tribe dynamics and how you can develop more meaningful friendships and build a stronger tribe around you that will increase your resilience and happiness.

5. Healing The Planet

We'll explore how we can learn the language of nature with an introduction to nature connection practices such as wildlife tracking, studying bird songs, and learning through direct connection with the interconnected web of life all around us.

A better understanding of nature and the living wisdom of biodiversity can help us create a regenerative culture that can live in harmony again with nature.

For this one-day retreat, we will create a sense of tribe around our shared passion for exploring our consciousness, learning about our local ecosystems, and developing a deeper sense of connection with nature in a world increasingly dominated and mediated by digital screens.

About The Guide

Kyle Pearce is from Vancouver, British Columbia has been designing and leading experiential learning adventures, nature immersion retreats, and forest meditation workshops through Animist Ecology since 2015.

He has spent the last decade traveling the world in the winters studying with ecology teachers and exploring ancient nature connection traditions of Planet Earth from his ancestral tradition of Celtic Druidry, to the Forest Monk tradition of Thailand, and the ancient shamanic traditions of the Central American highlands and the Andes.

He also runs a self-directed learning website called DIY Genius and a digital storytelling program for social entrepreneurs called Social Creators.

The Day's Schedule

Spend the day unplugged from your smartphone and plugged into the rejuvenating power of nature immersion experiences.

10 am - 12:30 pm - Forest Meditation Session

The Ecology of Wonder: Exploring Your Perception Through Forest Meditation

Learn how to awaken your senses and feel a deeper sense of awe and wonder by learning the practice of forest meditation.

We will explore our senses and how we perceive and interpret the natural world around us.

We will explore some of the most beautiful trails in the area along Bronte Creek and the Bruce Trail near the Lowville.

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm - Lunchtime 

We recommend you bring your lunch with you (or you can eat next door at the Lowville Bistro).

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Silent Forest Meditation Time

Enjoy some personal time to practice the forest meditation and sensory awareness practices learned in the morning.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Indoor Learning Session

Our Lost Ancient History: Animism and Coming To Our Senses (Before It's Too Late)

Explore the latest scientific research into the healing power of unmediated nature connection experiences in a world of screens.

Kyle's talk will discuss the ancient history of animism, which refers to how ancient human beings perceived themselves, their relationship to nature and their mythological cosmology for most of our existence on Earth before it was suppressed by 6000 years of agriculture-driven empire building and colonization.

Learn about the different forest meditation and nature connection traditions of the world from the ancient Celtic Druid priesthood of Western Europe, to the Thai Forest Monk tradition in the mountainous jungles of Thailand, and the Japanese tradition of Shinrin Yoku (translates as "forest bathing" or "bathing in the atmosphere of the forest") and how it grew out of their ancient Shinto tradition.

3:00 - 5:00 pm: Forest Learning Session

Sentience In Nature: Mycelium, The Web of Life and The Miracle of Biodiversity

Learn about the interconnected symbiosis between trees, plants, and fungi.

We will explore how mycelial networks in the soil connect plants and trees through their roots systems and allow them to communicate. 

We will take a dive into the groundbreaking research that has been done in the last decade into Gaia theory, plant sentience and how mycelium is crucial to soil biology and by extension our health through our gut microbiome and the biodiversity of our surroundings.

5:00 - 5:30 pm: Sunset Fire Ritual and Ending Ceremony

We will end the retreat with a fire ceremony where we will let go of the past and embrace the living present through the "felt presence" of our immediate experience so we can consciously create a different future together.

Animist Collective + Lifelong Learning Guides

To take what you learn on this one-day retreat to a higher level, you will get an invite to our online Animist Collective community to continue sharing with the group and all attendees will get two of our  lifelong learning guides to go deeper into what they learned at the retreat:

1. Mushroom Ecology Learning Guide: How Mycelium Creates The Miracle of Life

“I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind. The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges.”
― Paul Stamets

Continue your studies with a 50-page visual guide for learning about medicinal fungi in our local forests and the role of fungal mycelium in the evolution of biodiversity of Earth.

2. Regenerative Cultures: Biomimicry and Studying The Art of Nature

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” ― Steve Jobs

Explore ecological design thinking with our 30-page guide covering biomimicry and the study of nature-inspired solutions for a healthier planet. This fascinating discipline studies the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.

Learn how biomimicry can inspire innovation and more sustainable ways of living and doing business, and help us restore biodiversity in our community and around the world.

Location

ThinkSpot Retreat Centre. A 1-hour drive from Toronto. Pickup can be arranged from the Burlington GO Station.

Date

Saturday, April 27th from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Unplug, reconnect and rewild yourself in the forests of Lowville.

Investment

Get your tickets online at the bottom of this page. You can save 15% by purchasing an early bird ticket.

There is no environment ‘out there’ separate from us. The environment 
is embedded in us. We are as much a part of our surroundings as the 
trees and birds and fish, the sky, 
water and rocks.

- David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance

ThinkSpot Location In North Burlington (Lowville)

A 1-hour drive from Toronto, ThinkSpot is a tranquil oasis along Bronte Creek in the beautiful Lowville Forest between Mount Nemo and Rattlesnake Point.

Forest Meditation Retreat Pricing Options

Choose the best package for your needs and book your spot early on this forest meditation retreat.

EARLY BIRD

$85

PER TICKET

One-Day Retreat

Animist Collective Membership

Mushroom Ecology Learning Guide

Biomimicry Learning Guide

Sign Up

RETREAT TICKETS

$100

PER TICKET

One-Day Retreat

Animist Collective Membership

Mushroom Ecology Learning Guide

Biomimicry Learning Guide


Sign Up

RETREAT + ONLINE COURSE

$150

PER TICKET

One-Day Retreat

Animist Collective Membership

Learning Guides

3-Months Access To Animist Ecology online learning community (at 50% off with the package)

Sign Up and Enroll

"I enjoyed the retreat immensely and the knowledge gained/processed in a short time was enlightening and encouraging. There is much to learn about the amazing world we live in and our connection at the core to nature. We are nature! I mostly enjoyed the "gnosis" that happened while experiencing my learning together with all the other participants. Kyle was awesome at keeping the learning experiential and engaging and allowing everyone to contribute to the learning based on their journey of animism and personal connections with nature. I highly recommend this retreat to further your awareness of the forgotten knowledge of trees and mushrooms and leave feeling inspired that collectively we can form a deeper relationship with nature and others."

Clara F.

"I went on one of Kyle's meditation and foraging workshops in a local forest last fall and I was immediately hooked. Kyle not only chose a beautiful place to learn and meet like minded people, but has the education and charisma that left me more curious and has peaked my interest in mushrooms not only as a chef but for their amazing medicinal properties and their pivotal part in food sustainability. Kyle is engaged, entertaining and open minded. I could go on and on about going to this workshop I don't know what I expected but it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning and would recommend participating in anything Kyle has to offer because his passion about mushrooms is magnetic! "

Dana M.

"My experience at the mushroom ecology workshop with Kyle was a great introduction into a vast new world of connections. The workshop was ideal for every level, as Kyle catered to the unique interests of all individuals that day. Kyle has a depth of knowledge that spans beyond pure mushroom ecology which creates a very dynamic experience. We were able to find many different species of mushrooms and identify them with Kyle's expertise. Kyle also provided a dense list of references and review from the session so there was no pressure to take notes and tons of resources to consult after the session! The forest meditation was an awesome experience and one that I have added to my meditation practices and can practice on my own. Kyle did a fantastic job making a connection with everyone and ensuring all questions were answered. He is so knowledgable on so many topics that he is able to add context to the geographic location, the ecology of the forest and even some anthropologic history. All around a fantastic experience that I would recommend to everyone regardless of their level of mushroom knowledge/interest."

Brittany B.

A Guide To Natural Highs

Explore some of the best ways to prime your mind, energize your body, and feel more relaxed without relying on drugs or stimulants.

Choose from 10 practices to restore the imbalances caused by today's sedentary lifestyle and build daily rituals that make you feel more alive.

 

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