Why Intensive Retreats?

by Jun 28, 2019

If you’re on our mailing list, you’ve been seeing initial word of two retreats we’re pulling together. One in mid September in Yellowstone country – a weekend. And another a full week in Guanajuato, Mexico next February.

But why retreats? And this word intensive. Well, it’s um, intense.


Daily we have conversations about Full Ecology – about the circumstances of our time locally, nationally, globally. What is the best next action that we – Gary and Mary – can take? 

We ask ourselves and one another. We ask our friends – musicians, therapists, river guides, biotechnologists, city planners, teachers, ranchers, nurses, wilderness rangers and potato farmers. These are the conversations that have led to Full Ecology. They’ve led to our chance to do a TEDx Talk. And they’ve led to the idea of intensive retreats.

From all our conversations, all our inquiry and investigation, we’ve seen that intensity is a thing we need right now. You’re the only one who can know if, like us and the friends we’ve been consulting, you are feeling a fair measure of despair – even dread- with the circumstances of our world. It’s not a feeling many of us are willing to admit. For one thing, we don’t know how. And that not knowing is really in large part because we haven’t seen or been around others able to hold despair and actions of optimism in the same space – in the insitance of day-to-day life.

So, intensive retreat allows for two things immediately relevant to the reclamation and wellbeing of your human nature. Time and good company. 

You’ve spent your life predominately in the belief that you’re an individual separate from all else. That’s a wildly vulnerable place to live. But you’re not alone in the belief. It runs our lives – our schools, our communities, our country.

In the TED Talk, Mary described the reason we develop that sense of separation. And, as Gary added, it’s totally normal. The problem is in getting stuck. But by now, the illusion has become a mainstay of public life – of politics, of economy. And even though, since you’re reading this, you’re likely uncomfortable in the illusion, you push on because it’s the way things work. But it looks to us like the illusion of separation has become an addiction – an increasingly destructive one.

Full Ecology and the invitation to each of us to reclaim our human nature (over and over, if need be) calls the separation illusion out. In intensive retreat, we spend time on the land and in conversation with each other – in quiet, in reflection, in hiking and in systematic investigation into what the natural world has to show us about who we are and how to live with all this uncertainty.

That’s intense. But it’s not exhausting.

The rush of everyday life is exhausting. So we’re making space and time for inquiry, for restoration, for thinking together with others and the belonging that affords.

Check out what we have in mind. Give us feedback.

Most of all, go outdoors and notice your reflection in everything you see. No joke. It’s not just a cute idea, but you have to see that for yourself.

Take care. Be in touch.

Mary & Gary

UNCERTAINTY IS YOUR SUPER POWER – September 13-15, 2019 – Gardiner, MT

THE FULL ECOLOGY OF GUANAJUATO – February 16-23, 2020 – Guanajuato, Mexico