Back to the Roots:
A Mindful Outdoor Retreat for Men
"Nature permits us the opportunity, free of distractions of the city, to ask the fundamental question, 'Who am I; what is my purpose here?'" - Ken Burns
Are you noticing an itch to be outside, among the trees, or operate in a more mindful and intentional pace? Even prior to the pandemic, so many of us began to notice the increased demands, both externally and internally, as well as the significant impact of stress from these demands. We've needed a stronger and more sustainable connection to self, the outdoors, and sometimes other people, for quite some time. It seems we need it, now, more than ever! We're offering you the opportunity to slow down, decrease the noise, and just BE. Research (as well as lived experience) shows us that immersion in forested areas has a dynamic and lasting positive effect on our well-being, including increased immune functioning; decreased stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms; improvements in physiological health; etc. You're invited to join us in the Chattahoochee National Forest of the North Georgia Mountains for a mindful retreat where we'll get back to our roots of a symbiotic relationship to the natural world, learn approachable and effective skills for navigating stress, connect with other guys, and experience your life at a more intentional and present pace. Below are some highlights of what you'll experience:
What you'll experience
The Great Outdoors
Reconnecting with our Natural Habitat
*Guided practice and discussion for orientation and connection to place. Feel connected to this place, the life within it, and the people who've come and gone before us.
*Mindful walking/hiking within old-growth forested among mountains predating humans.
*Feel connection with the life and stories of this place spanning thousands of years.
*Relax, Explore, Connect... or whatever your drawn to do during some well-deserved free time with no obligation, notifications, or expectations.
*Gaze upon the stars, and experience mindful attunement of the natural world in darkness on a night walk and curiosity practice.
*Learn primitive ways of making fire.
*Showers and bathrooms on-site.
Healthy &Enriching Meals
Nourish body, mind, and spirit with intentional and delicious food
*Five purposefully and intentionally crafted meals you'd expect to find in a restaurant more than a campsite. Including all meals from Friday dinner through Sunday breakfast.
*Allow yourself to be treated to thoughtful meals you didn't plan, shop for, cook, or clean the kitchen after.
*You'll be invited to participate in mindful eating practices to slow down, and be more mindful of what we put into our bodies.
*Snacks, coffee, tea, water are also provided.
For a sample menu, click here. This is the tentative menu, which may change slightly, due to sourcing and availability.
*Please report food allergies when registering, so we can accommodate you as best we can.
More purposefully and intentionally participate in your life
*Begin each day with light movement, balance, and awakening, as you connect with self the Earth.
*Mindfulness in Action: Nature Meditation, Breathing and Sitting Meditation, Mindful Movement and Walking with Awareness; Hiking with a new lens. Beginners through long-time practitioners welcome.
*Engage in purposeful and intentional invitations as you practice ways to participate in this life more than simply existing or moving through it.
*Sunrise hike and meditation on the final morning.
*Guided gratitude and intention-setting practices.
*Introduction and practice with Mindful Response Method..
At the root of human experience is connection.
From business executives to stay-at-home dads; students to educators; grandfathers, fathers, and sons to single men; intellectuals to techies to artists... Men from various walks of life, races, sexual orientations, and ages of adults ranging from just getting started to retired and reflecting on years past, have found peace, community, insight, confidence, and restoration in this nature-immersive and enriching retreat. Men who are confident in who they are. Men who aren't quite sure, and want to explore what identity means to them. Even if you're simply wanting three days to prioritize self, away from technology, obligations, and notifications, this retreat has plenty to offer.
The number of participants is kept intentionally low for each retreat, in order to provide adequate time and space for a more personal experience.
By the time you leave these forested mountains, you'll notice a sense of calm, contentment, and connection, which is all yours to take with you and recreate whenever you like. Everything you learn and experience, here, is approachable and can be sustained on your own. There are few experiences more majestic and enlightening in truly knowing oneself than sleeping beneath the stars, walking quietly and attentively among trees hundreds of years old, sitting with rocks predating humans, and joining in community as people have done for thousands of years in this very place.
a greater sense of comfort and connection with the natural world,
a strong foundation in, or more fine-tuned, mindfulness and meditation practice,
discovery and/or confirmation of that deep knowing of self,
connection to the outdoors that's always been there, but needed some nourishment,
meaningful connections with other guys beyond partners, work, nuclear family, and social media.
Even if you've been camping and hiking before, even if you already have a healthy mindfulness or meditation practice, even if you already have friendships, you may be amazed by the new depths you'll be able to reach when you have an uninterrupted safe space to press pause on the speed and chatter of your busy life, and immerse yourself in nature's restorative properties in this way.
In addition to plenty of relaxing and exploring outdoors, this retreat invites safe space for judgement-free conversation about identities we take on as men, as well as relationships, purpose, and ways to more purposefully and intentionally participate in this life. How do you connect with your identities? How do you protect these identities or project them to others? What rules or agreements do you put energy into upholding in order to maintain these identities? Did you make these rules, or someone else? Do they still belong, or do they need editing.
The good news is that trees don't judge; neither do we. While soaking in all the benefits of being immersed in nature, you'll also have the opportunity to be YOU, without judgment, expectation, obligation, or risk of exile.
Though this experience is cathartic and deeply soul-enriching, it is neither therapy, nor a religious/faith-based retreat. We welcome all religions, spiritual affiliations (or no affiliation), cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and social classes. In order to create a safe space for processing identities, this retreat is for folks identifying as male. Other retreats will be available for all genders and non-binary.
**This weekend is 100% outdoors (other than showers and bathrooms). Be mindful of the weather and climate typical to north Georgia in spring. We will not be engaging in rigorous hikes nor extreme limits, though walking in this terrain with elevation gain can be taxing on the body if you've never hiked in the mountains before. This trip is more about being present in the journey than hustling to a destination. With that said, understand any physical limitations you may have before engaging in an event like this. Everything you will experience are invitations, not requirements. Although, in order to gain the most from this experience, we encourage you to participate in everything you can.
Here's what participants are saying:
"The general flexibility/“invitation” to participate attitude felt very freeing, unlike most religious retreats where forced participation forces most to be uncomfortable and not open up."
Meet Your Guides
Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide
Certified Mindfulness-Informed Professional
Patrick is a Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide credentialed by the Kripalu School for Outdoor Leadership, as well as a Certified Mindfulness-Informed Clinician. He has a deep love for and spiritual connection with nature, affectionately known as "the more than human world." Since childhood, Patrick has enjoyed spending time outside, whether recreationally, professionally, or engaging in mindful practice. He has extensive experience hiking, camping, and navigating the wilderness. Patrick also has over a decade of personal and professional mindfulness meditation practice, embracing and embodying teachings from spiritual and cultural influences, as well as professional training in mindfulness-based psychotherapy approaches, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. In his therapy practice, Patrick specializes in Men's Health, navigating stress, and building confidence in deeper levels of purpose and identity.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Assistant Outdoor Guide
Garrett is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He grew up in Colorado, and has been camping and hiking since infancy. Garrett loves rock climbing, art, and photography, and tries to get outdoors as much as possible. In his counseling practice, he specializes in treating anxiety and looks for creative ways to help clients heal and thrive.
Health, Safety, & Environmental Manager
Assistant Outdoor Guide
Patrick has lived in Georgia most of his life and loves exploring the mountains and rivers of the state. His favorite river (so far) is the Altamaha. While it lacks the rapids that make the rivers of North Georgia exciting, the vast amount of wildlife and the mystique of the cypress swamps more than makes up for its leisurely pace. Patrick's passion for nature led him to pursue a degree in environmental engineering in order to help protect the environment. After college he worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for several years helping to prevent and clean up pollution around the state. During this time he was trained in wilderness first aid and was a member of the DNR Search and Rescue team. Patrick is excited to help others become more in touch with nature and share the many benefits of that connection.