Southwest Montana

The Full Ecology of getting clear in wild times


August 22nd – 26th at the JbarL Ranch
Or email Paige Pitzer at paige@jbarl.com

Here on the cusp of COVID-19, with its isolation and zoom meetups, with its social injustice, its political and economic unrest, there is no chance for a return to “normal.” The circumstances have asked everything of us – as individuals, in relationships, in communities. Lives have been lost, and time. There’s plenty to grieve. And that’s because you love so deeply. You love being alive. You love the planet and its beings.

So, here’s a retreat for reviving your clarity – for reclaiming the fullness of who you are – your human nature. Five days right up next to the wild spectacle of southwestern Montana. Five days breathing deep among the grasses and birds, the wetlands and mountain ranges on the JbarL Ranch in the Centennial Valley.

In this glorious location, we’re offering an intimate retreat – 8-12 participants. We are asking that all participants be vaccinated. Ours will be a time for moving with the grief and loss of COVID times. A time for repairing relationship with yourself in the context of all beings. With a combination of structured and unstructured opportunities for inquiry (dialogue, writing, hiking and storytelling) interspersed with periods of silence and solitude, we will investigate the contours, companions and certainties of these lives – the Fullness of Ecology – of who we truly are.

Nature author, Gary Ferguson & social psychologist, Mary M Clare, invite you to join them in turning to the natural world for its lessons and guidance.


Day 1 – Arrive


7:00 – 9:00 Fire circle and Introductions

  • Introduction to each other,
    the Centennial Valley &
  • Full Ecology – reliably with you wherever you are.
  • A few nature myths and stories.


Day 2 – Acknowledging loss


  • 8:30  ~ Each day starts with optional stretching/yoga/movement. You may also choose a walk around the Ranch.
  • 9:00 – 12:00 ~ Coming to a good full stop here in this place and time. In that stopping, pursuing the question of “Who Are You Now?” by looking at what has been lost – at the nature of grief. 


  • Lunch
  • 2:00 – 5:00 Out into the ecology of the Centennial Valley, listening & learning from the natural world.
  • 5:00 Personal time.



  • 7:00 – 9:00 Fire circle – Group sharing – thoughts from the day.

Reflections – How the natural adjusts its relationships and activities as conditions change. 

Day 3 – Uncovering constants


  • 8:30 Optional stretching/yoga/movement.
  • 9:00 – 12:00 Exploring further the “Who are You Now” question by investigating what’s here to support you.



  • 2:00 – 5:00 Time together out in the Valley considering the way land influences who we are.
  • 5:00 Personal time.



7:00 – 9:00 Fire circle – Group sharing – thoughts from the day.
Reflections – the science & story of how we’re supported by the natural world.

Day 4 – Recognizing gain

  • 8:30 Optional stretching/yoga/movement
  • 9:00 – 12:00 The next step toward answering the question, “Who are you Now?” involves being in the presence of inspiration & guidance – and this Valley is brimming with both.



  • 2:00 – 5:00 Hike, dance, draw, write – letting the land and the lives it holds move you without agenda. What is here for you? What can the nature of this place show you about identity, about intention?
  • 5:00 Personal time.


  • Dinner


  • 7:00 – 9:00 Fire circle. Group sharing – thoughts from the day.

    Reflections – identity development on the land, among living things and in our ‘right size.’


Day 5 – Who Am I, in relation?

  • 8:30 Optional stretching/yoga/movement
  • 9:00 – 12:00 Getting clear in wild times – moving what you’ve come to know here & now into your everyday life.



JbarL ranch offers a unique invitation to experience true quiet and stunning natural beauty. Rooms range from well-appointed western elegance with private or shared baths to more rustic comfort with shared baths, and even tent or Tipi camping. Nourishing meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) made from the bounty of our local farms are included in the lodging price.

single occupancy option

shared occupancy option

tent lodging option

Or email Paige Pitzer at paige@jbarl.com
Mary Clare & Gary Ferguson

For more information on Gary & Mary
click here.


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