Whole Thinking In Practice Retreat


October 25-29, 2017

The Watershed Center – Millerton, New York

For 15 years, Center for Whole Communities has been working to build the courage, awareness, and relationships of individuals and organizations leading at the intersection of social and environmental change. Gathering in both wild and urban spaces, CWC convenes visionaries who are looking to deepen their understanding of themselves, their peers, and place, in service to their work in the world. Whole Thinking in Practice grounds participants in CWC’s unique practice-based approach to transformative leadership, while lifting up the wisdom and stories of the group – all in a gorgeous natural setting.

This year, Whole Thinking in Practice offers the opportunity to retreat in the company of other artists, activists, changemakers, and leaders working along the spectrum of ecological and social transformation – to slow down, learn together, be challenged, and nurture yourself.

The retreat will be held at The Watershed Center in Millerton, NY on a 73-acre farm adjacent to hundreds of acres of state forest, two hours north of New York City. With 19th century farmhouses, post-and-beam barns, a 30-foot yurt, swim lake, hiking trails, waterfalls, and a beautiful organic farm, their center provides a bucolic setting for visionary thinking.

For five days, you will disconnect from the demands of daily life, and settle into the land and community.

You can expect experiences that support you in:

  • Discovering or revisiting the benefits of Whole Thinking practices like story, awareness, working across difference, and dialogue
  • Exploring how a whole systems approach to transformation helps address root causes, instead of just symptoms
  • Engaging in inquiry and dialogue around values, and how values inform strategy
  • Addressing injustices through deep and courageous analysis of race, class, power, and privilege
  • Rejuvenating your inner resilience and wisdom through reflection, creativity, silence, and nature
  • Experimenting with new forms of collaboration that yield more authentic relationships and leadership

“…During my time at the retreat I was able to go into it with an open mind to the possibilities and come out with experiences and practices that I was able to use immediately in my personal and all of my professional realms. I also made a host of new friends and contacts that have been able to push my practice further than I thought possible before attending the retreat. The retreat was definitely value-added to my life and I would highly recommend it to any activists, artists, educators, healers or just people interested in expanding their horizons as leaders and organizers in their respective fields.” – 2016 WTiP Participant, Kofi-Charu Nat Turner from his recent blog post

Whole Thinking in Practice Facilitators

Samara Gaev is a New York-based activist, educator, trainer, theater director, and performer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Truthworker Theatre Company, a social justice based hip-hop theater company for high school and college-aged youth in NYC. Using theater & media to examine history and learn about models for creating social change, Samara calls upon language and critical thinking skills as tools to develop solution driven citizens of the world. Samara is honored to be the Resident Artist/Scholar at Columbia University’s Teachers College: Graduate School of Education.


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.


Jesse 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

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.

Questions? We will be holding informational calls on:
Tues. May 16, 12-1 pm (EST)
Thurs. July 13, 5:30-6:30 pm (EST)
Fri. August 25, 3-4 pm (EST)