Whole Thinking In Practice Retreat

Bell Valley Retreat sits at the edge of a beautiful, remote valley in the hills of Anderson Valley in Northern California. The land’s original Native inhabitants were of the Pomo tribes. When white Europeans arrived for the gold rush, Bell Valley’s stewards grew hops for settlers.

October 14 –19 2016


For over 10 years, CENTER FOR WHOLE COMMUNITIES has equipped individuals and organizations with the courage, creativity, and resilience required to address some of the most complex social and environmental issues of our time. We have found that the most effective way for people to learn and practice these transformational leadership skills is in the context of relationships – with other visionaries whose different perspectives can help us see new possibilities, and with the land, which can replenish and teach us in ways that are both tangible and mysterious.

Whole Thinking in Practice is an opportunity to spend six days in the company of other activists, artists, visionaries, changemakers, and leaders working on the front lines of environmental and social change while also nurturing yourself, slowing down, and replenishing amidst 600 beautiful acres of northern California hills.

Participants can expect to:

  • Re-think their work together in terms of whole systems and in terms of addressing root causes as opposed to symptoms;
  • Initiate value-based inquiries to better understand and communicate the values that hold them together and inform better strategies and tactics;
  • Explore the roles of race, class, power, and privilege in their work, and how to address injustices;
  • Rejuvenate their strength and wisdom through nurturing, reflective, and creative practices that open the door for more authentic relationships, deeper dialogue, and new ways of leading.

The retreat will be facilitated by Mohamad Chakaki, Kavitha Rao, and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey.

Whole Thinking in Practice Facilitators

MohamadChakaki_hw250Mohamad Chakaki grew up playing in the sand and surf on both sides of the Arabian Peninsula, and then on the edges of eastern forests and city streets in Washington, DC. His interests lie where the lines blur between East and West, cities and nature, art and science, and so on. Mohamad holds a Masters of Environmental Management with a focus on Urban Ecology and Environmental Design from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and undergraduate degrees in Religion and Biology from George Washington University. He is a co-founder of the DC Green Muslims network and is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Kavitha Rao has worked with grassroots organizations around the world. She has spent much of the past decade founding and leading Common Fire, a nonprofit which helps to create accessible and sustainable intentional communities as a means of cultural transformation. Kavitha has consulted and facilitated numerous retreats and trainings on power and privilege, interpersonal dialogue, nonviolence, consensus decision making, conflict resolution, the art of facilitation, green building, spirituality and social change, mutual mentorship and more.

jessevega_hw250Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey is a teacher of Vipassana (insight) meditation within the broader context of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. His teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination, and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom and an exploration of the relationship between ethics, insight, and action. Jesse is a student of Michele McDonald and was authorized and trained by her to teach in a method rooted in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and when off-island teaches mostly in the US and Canada. Jesse was a co-founder of The Stone House, a center for spiritual life and social justice in Mebane, NC and was a long-time board member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.


CENTER FOR WHOLE COMMUNITIES is committed to making our retreats accessible to a broad diversity of people. We offer this retreat on a sliding scale of $750 – $2500 and have scholarship funds available. Please see the application for more details, and please don’t let cost be a barrier to applying.

Apply Here  Application deadline August 31, 2016

Spaces are limited. We will review applications on a rolling basis with a commitment to offer the work to a diverse group of participants who are committed to the intersections of personal and social transformation.