Spring Retreat With Therese Fitzgerald

  • 22 Apr 2020
  • 4:00 PM
  • 26 Apr 2020
  • 2:00 PM
  • The Heartwood Retreat Center, Blue Ridge, GA
  • 0

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(depends on selected options)

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Registration opens for Members January 1 and Public January 15.
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Our Essential Thread
A Mindfulness Retreat with Therese Fitzgerald

Wednesday April 22 - Sunday April 26, 2020
Heartwood Retreat Center, Blue Ridge, GA


The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

     — William Stafford

Our days together in the Blue Ridge Mountains will be a time to dwell in deep awareness of what connects us with our essential “thread,” as poet William Stafford describes our life’s purpose, our calling. Supported by the conditions of early spring beauty, Buddhist teachings on bodhicitta (mind of awakening) and other sources of inspiration, co-practitioners, silence, and solitude, we will have a great opportunity to reinvigorate ourselves and invite insights.

The daily program will include sitting and walking meditation, mindful meals, Dharma discussion, mindful movement, and personal interviews with the teacher.

The retreat will be mostly in silence and is recommended for both beginning and experienced meditators who feel drawn to mindful living, contemplation, and inner work.


Therese Fitzgerald

Therese trained for eight years at the San Francisco and Tassajara Zen Centers and then with Thich Nhat Hanh for fifteen years. She was ordained as a Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1994. Therese lives on the island of Maui, where she is a Dharma teacher and a hospice chaplain.


Facility Heartwood Retreat Center is located 1 -1/2 hrs. from the city of Atlanta, 8 miles from the mountain town of Blue Ridge,  in a secluded cabin resort community with a small number of permanent residents.  There are 80+ acres to walk through, a swimmable spring-fed lake,  a sandy beach, outdoor eating and camping areas,  music stages,  gathering decks,  creeks and hills in one of the most bio diverse regions in the world.

Accommodations You may choose a shared room in the lodge or tent camping on the grounds. Your chosen accommodation needs will be considered and roommate assignments are made by the organizers. Please be considerate to your roommate.

What to Bring Please bring the following items with you:

  • Cushion and Mat: if you have your own meditation cushion, mat, blanket, etc., or your alternatively your own preferred chair or bench, please  bring  it with you. We will have spares: please let us know if you will need one;
  • Umbrella or rain jacket, warm jacket and sturdy shoes: we will have periods of outdoor group walking, and there are short on-property walks between the buildings;
  • Yoga mat (optional);
  • Coffee mug and water bottle (this simplifies keeping track of mugs around the lodge);
  • Flashlight (or headlamp): for walking between the buildings before and after dark.

Meditation Hall The teacher will designate how the meditation hall is to be used, including AC, seating arrangements, bell protocols, window treatments, lighting, and arrival time. The Meditation Hall Team will carry out the teacher's wishes and should be contacted with any issues. 


Schedule  Registration is from 3:30-5pm Wednesday. The retreat begins Wednesday evening with a meal at 6pm and ends Sunday after the closing circle and clean up (lunch will not be served on Sunday). The daily schedule vary slightly but broadly is as follows:

  6:30am  Wake-up Bell
  7:00      Sitting/ Walking Meditation
  8:30      Breakfast
10:00      Dharma Talk
11:00      Outdoor Walking Meditation
12:15pm  Lunch
  2:30      Sitting/ Walking Meditation
  3:45      Dharma Discussion
  5:30      Supper  
  7:30      Sitting/ Walking Meditation
  9:00      End of Day

Full Retreat  The teacher has requested that everyone attend the entire retreat. 
Meals  Meals are vegetarian/vegan and will be prepared and provided by Heartwood Retreat Center. Please notify us in your registration of food sensitivities or allergies so the retreat organizers can be sure to accommodate. Coffee, tea and snacks will be available during breaks.

Cost  The price for this retreat is $350 per person, which covers the facility, food, and accommodations. It provides no profit to Red Clay Sangha and no contribution to the teacher. There will be an opportunity to practice Dana (generosity) to the teacher. 

Financial Assistance  Red Clay Sangha would like for every one to be able to attend, regardless of ability to pay. To achieve this goal, those who are able to do so are invited to contribute into a fund to help pay for those who are unable; and those challenged to cover the cost of the retreat are invited to indicate on their registration the extent to which they need support from the fund. This gives everyone the opportunity to practice generosity together. 

Applicants for support will be notified no later than 2 weeks prior to the retreat the level of scholarship awarded. 

Payment and Cancellation Full payment is required two weeks prior to the retreat to guarantee your spot. If payment or scholarship request has not been received, RCS reserves the right to fill spaces from any waiting list.

Cancellations at least two weeks prior to the retreat will be fully refunded. After this date, full refunds will be given only if the spot can be filled from the waiting list.


An Opportunity To Receive The Precepts During the retreat, Therese will be offering those who wish an opportunity to formally receive the Buddhist Precepts and a Dharma Name. More information can be found here.


Retreat Positions Red Clay Sangha is a peer-based organization with no staff. All retreat roles, such as Bell Master (timekeeper), Meditation Hall Team, and Teacher's Attendant are performed by the participants to support each other during the retreat.  In this way, everyone does a little and no one is stressed out. You will have an opportunity to sign up for the retreat roles prior to the retreat. 

Bell Master and Meditation Hall Team will meet with the teacher at 5pm on Wednesday for training. Prior experience is not necessary. 

There is not a designated work practice time on the schedule. 

Dana is the practice of generosity and helps remind us of the fundamental connected nature of life. By supporting our teachers we deepen our own experience on the path of practice while helping them to support others. Teachers generously give their time and energy through listening, sharing and teaching, often without financial reward. Offering dana makes it possible for them to continue their work and is their primary means of support.

In the spirit of this tradition, all participants will have an opportunity to make a voluntary contribution, called dana, at the end of the retreat. Participants often ask what is considered appropriate: you may wish to make a contribution between $100-$200 for the retreat. But remember that many do not have the means to offer much dana, and teaching the dharma is not well compensated, so you may want to give more. Keep in mind your personal ability to give; dana is entirely from the heart.

(Note: The retreat fees are used exclusively to cover the cost of the facility and food, and no portion is paid the the teacher. Red Clay Sangha covers the travel expenses and a small contribution to the teacher from membership donations.)


Questions or More Information? please contact Gareth Young

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