NIGHT OF THE HEART
an deep dive into the sweet darkness within with Emilia Cianci & Elena Valverde Mora
19-25th of March
Providencia de Dota, San José, Costa Rica
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your home
- David Whyte
Night of the Heart retreat is a deep exploration of the sweet darkness that infuses all of our lives and that can be, if we welcome it, a source of great inspiration and creativity.
We live in a society that is so obsessed with the light, with achievement, with doing, with producing, with being strong and we often lack spaces to meet the shadowy places within us, to encounter our grief, our sadness, our sorrow, to tend to those spaces inside that are hurting and are not so “shiny”; we lack the rituals and ceremonies that can hold us in times of change and transformation and we can often feel ashamed of our darkness which leads us to hide it or suppress it. This way of approaching life, however, does not honour the wholeness of what it means to be a human being, promoting a sense of separation and division.
Despite the fact that we might have lived our lives escaping from these shadowy landscapes within, somewhere deep inside, however, we all know that darkness is the fertile ground from which life emerges. Roots grow in the dark, we spend 9 months in the dim lighted wombs of our mothers, how can we find ourselves at home in this darkness? How can we make darkness a close companion and re-learn how to hold ourselves and one another in this rich time? How can we accept darkness as an integral and essential part of our lives?
During our retreat we will create a safe container to explore this inner darkness, to return to its sacred song and remember how to trust in the shadowy, to let ourselves be distilled and alchemized by the thresholds of our lives. We will explore rituals and practices that can help us ground and transmute, find rest and stillness, allow and welcome. We will remember how to sit in the darkness together, as a community, to be there with and for one another, to re-learn how to hold each other in our vulnerability and not be afraid to reveal it.
There is something so poetic, inspiring and beautiful about the nights of our hearts, those times where, if we let ourselves truly feel, we can return to feeling the gratitude for being alive, to discover a deeper sense of meaning, compost, what no longer serves us and, ultimately, create beauty out of our sorrows.
The retreat will combine creative practices such as dance, movement, painting, clay, basket weaving, poetry, with ancient rituals and ceremonies to hold our tender hearts, with meditation and subtle body practices and with earth reconnection practices to remember our deep belonging to the land, to be held by the earth, the plants, the rivers and trees.
We will weave ancient ways of knowing with modern practices, invoking the well of wisdom that lives within each one of us, that part of us that knows how to navigate this time of shedding, of composting, of transmuting to be re-born from the ashes of ourselves.
WHY IS THIS RETREAT UNIQUE?
In a hyper individualistic society we have lost our sense of “village”, a sense of being part of a community that can hold us in our vulnerabilities and be witness of our growth. We tend to hide our darkness (even from ourselves at times) and this is very alienating. Our hope is to create a safe container for some masks to drop and let the beautiful light of our hearts shine through as well as reveal those parts of us that we keep hiding thinking they aren’t acceptable enough.
Moreover, the retreat will be held on an enchanted land nestled in the mountains of Providencia de Dota which is a place of beauty, mystery and strong traditional Costa Rican wisdom. The mountains with their high peaks, waterfalls and virgin forests are charged with magic. This is going to be the landscape that will hold us in our deep dive and we will offer a lot of space to remember how to be held by the land, how to commune with its plants and spirits and how to return into a balanced relationship with Nature.
We will weave different traditions together as Emilia & Elena - the two facilitators - come from years of deep personal journeys of inquiry around connection to land, reclamation of indigenous ways of knowing tied to our ancestral lands, movement, embodiment and creative processes as a way into our own awakening as well as mystical and contemplative practices.
Last but not least, the owners of the project Armonia Ambiental are deeply rooted in the traditional campesino culture of rural Costa Rica and serve the land with deep care, living in profound harmony with the spirits of the land and its ecosystem. They will be offering some of their precious knowledge to us and we will, in turn, serve their community to give back to this sacred land.
The retreat will bring together ancient ways with modern technologies, there will be times for simple hikes on the land, with deep rituals, moments of hands-on work such as medicine making with local herbs or basket weaving taught by the project owners.
The first days we will create a solid container for us all to feel safe and grounded. In the early mornings we will gather to watch the sun rise as a way to meet the transition between night and day, darkness and light, enveloped in the silence of the mountains and forest coming to life. Following there will be some yoga and movement time, a light breakfast and a morning workshop.
Around 11 am we will be served a brunch with food coming from the farm and the local area and then have some time to integrate, relax and explore the stunning surroundings. In the afternoon we will meet again for another workshop/ritual and dinner will be served again around 6 pm. Some evenings we will have special events.
Starting from Friday we will allow more solo time for integration and rest and to find rituals of closure for this powerful space.
On Friday we will go out for a whole day in the jungle to the magical waterfalls, giving offerings to the land and taking the time to bathe into its healing waters.
EMBODIMENT & YOGA
Movement and reconnection with our bodies is a powerful tool to find our strength, softness, joy, sadness as they all lie in the creeks and crevices within. It is in our body that we meet our fears and talents and the ecstatic qualities of being alive.
Opening the doors of our body's intelligence helps us live aligned with our intuition without having to rationalize our natural instinct, it supports us to find balance and healing. By moving with intention and awareness, our breath will change bringing us into the immediacy of the present and allowing our inner wisdom to guide us, inviting aliveness and creativity in.
Our sessions will be a sweet combination between yoga and dance seeking to find a safe place in our own body, finding the intimacy with ourselves. The breath will be a powerful tool to connect body and mind, to let them dance and flow together in a beautiful space of surrender and power.
CREATIVE ARTS & ANCESTRAL SKILLS
Creating with our hands is an affirmation that we can have a great influence on the creation of our own lives. Creativity is not only about creating, but about finding new paths and solutions and about giving voice to what is lying beneath our skin.
We will use this space to find ways to narrate and give expression to our lives, our history, seeking to leave traces of beauty and appreciation through color, images, songs, gestures.
We hope to connect more with our own femininity, with our own intuition and instincts so that we can let our creativity flourish and find ways to alchemize the darkness, letting it become sweet and wise.
We will use different techniques such as illustration, poetry, weaving, mask making, jewelry, ceramics and each one will serve different purposes and will allow for different aspects of ourselves to be revealed.
The creative way was always used by our ancestors to participate in the creation of reality and life, to give honor and thanks, to heal and transform. It is in our DNA to express our wisdom and give space for our hearts and soul to find form in time and space.
Ningura Naparrula Australian Aboriginal Artist
To remember the wisdom of the earth is to open to a sense of renewed belonging and purpose. As we have walked away from the natural world we have lost a sense of magic and wonder, we have forgotten our ecological self and that we are part of an intricate web of life, not strangers on this planet.
Each tree, each plant, each river, is a sacred manifestation of the Creator's love, each land has an essence of its own and a longing to share its wisdom and song with us.
For too long humans have walked away from this connection and made themselves separate. This has only caused a deep sense of alienation and sadness inside of us and we have forgotten how to honor the earth, the guardian spirits of the land, how to listen to an ecosystem and dance in harmony with it.
To reconnect to the earth is to allow ourselves to heal and transform, to be nourished and even radically re-orientate our sense of self. By slowing down and listening we can restore a sense of awe and wonder, opening our hearts to deep gratitude. In turn this will also bring healing back to the more-than-human world, to the waters and the soils, we will rewire ourselves into reciprocity and respect.
RITUAL & CEREMONY
From the beginning of times our ancestors have used ritual and ceremony to expand time and space, to heal, invoke, bring renewal and celebrate life. It is in our bone's memory.
Moreover, we have always known the power of collective ritual and ceremony, to gather together with a similar purpose and intentions. Rituals don't have to be complex, they can be as simple as singing a song together, as sharing a moment of intimacy. As long as we all align ourselves to the same heartfelt intention and then let life flow in.
In our time together we will be gathering in different rituals and ceremonies, from sunrise rituals to welcome the start of the day, to powerful fire ceremonies and grief ceremonies to rituals with water and cleansing. These will all be held with gentleness and with the great remembrance that we know this language very deeply and it is only a question of recollecting and brining back those ways. It doesn't matter where you come from, we all know this deep inside.
3-5PM OPENING CIRCLE
6 PM DINNER
7.30 PM FIRE RITUAL
20th Monday - 23rd Thursday
6 AM SUNRISE RITUAL
7-8.30 AM MOVEMENT/YOGA
8.30-9.30 AM SNACK + INTEGRATION TIME
9-30 - 11 AM WORKSHOP
11 AM BRUNCH
11-1 PM FREE TIME
1-3 PM WORKSHOP
3-5 PM INTEGRATION
5-6 PM MOVEMENT/YOGA
6 PM DINNER
7.30 PM EVENING PRACTICE (NOT EVERY NIGHT)
7.30-8.30 AM MOVEMENT/YOGA
8.30-10 AM SNACK
10 AM - 4 PM EXCURSION + RITUAL TO THE WATERFALLS (W/PACKED LUNCH)
4 PM - 6 PM REST
6 PM DINNER
7.30 PM EVENING PRACTICE
7.30-8.30 AM MOVEMENT/YOGA
8.30-9.30 AM SNACK
9.30-11 AM PREPARING OUR CEREMONIAL MEAL
11 AM BRUNCH CEREMONY
1-5 PM CIRCLE + OFFERING TO THE LAND
5 - 6 PM REST
6 PM DINNER
7 PM CELEBRATION
6 - 8 AM SUNRISE PRACTICE
8 - 9.30 AM SNACK + PACKING
9.30 - 11.30 CLOSING CIRCLE
11.30 AM CLOSING BRUNCH
SOME MORE INFO:
This retreat will be a powerful container of transformation, an opportunity to celebrate life in all of its textures and ways.
It will be a space to release contraction, to soothe, to find resilience in befriending the shadowy landscapes within out hearts.
It will be a space of poetic encounter with life, of building our resilience and our intimacy with all of creation.
It will be a weaving back of the village, of our capacity to hold one another with compassion, beauty and strength.
It will be a space for silence, for joy, for remembrance of the ancient ways of our ancestors and, also, of visioning new ways of being in the world.
It will be an opportunity to hold ourselves with tenderness and gentle touch and find that warm embrace of our own love.
PRACTICES WILL INCLUDE:
- Subtle Body Practices
- Shadow work
- Creative arts including: painting, mask making, writing
- One ceramic ritual
- One traditional basket weaving workshop
- Herbalism, Tea Ceremony & Plant Spirit Communication
- Grief rituals
- Earth Reconnection practices
- Spiritual Bathing Ceremony
- Ancestors Rituals
- Cooking, nourishment & celebration
All of the practices are open to all people, of all ages and all paths. They are meant to facilitate a space of deepening our connection to Self and all of Creation
THE LOCATION + FOOD
The retreat is going to be set in the stunning mountains of Providencia de Dota in a project called Armonia Ambiental. These mountain ranges, central to Costa Rica, are a place full of beauty, mystery and culture. Our desire is to give back to this powerful land and support the local culture and projects that are run with so much humility, warmth, connection to the land. This place is charged with the magic of the mountains, of the ancient and protected forests, with its birds and animals, fresh air, abundant water and the mysticism that exists in an unexplored and virgin landscape. The project where the retreat is going to be held has been in management for more than 40 years by a campesino family that has dedicated their lives to taking care of the sacredness of the land, living with total reciprocity with it, respecting it and giving back to it. Their cabins and accommodations were built by themselves and are, therefore, humble yet filled with warmth and history. The simplicity and humblness of the place are contagious and immediately seem to calm the mind and heart, reminding it of what is truly important. Their food is organic and local, 40& coming from their land and the rest from local farmers. This is a place led truly by the hearts of all the family member, which has decided to bravely bring forth and be a representative of the Costa Rican tradition, in service to the mountains and to harmony with all nature.
***Early Bird until the 5th of February***
ALL PRICES INCLUDE
- Daily practices + workshops
- Rituals & Ceremonies
- Two delicious meals with local products + snacks
- Access to the breathtaking land with mountains and waterfalls
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Flight to Costa Rica (if coming from abroad)
- Transportation to the center (although we will provide with a small additional
cost transportation to the closest access road)
*a shuttle can be organized from the closest access road that will then take you to the retreat center
+ we can support with car rentals/car shares if needed
more info will be shared upon booking
PRIVATE ROOM (FOR COSTA RICAN NATIONALS)
early bird 900 dollars
regular 1000 dollars
SHARED ROOM W/SINGLE BED (FOR COSTA RICAN NATIONALS)
early bird 650 dollars
regular 750 dollars
early bird 1200 dollars
regular 1300 dollars
SHARED ROOM W/SINGLE BED
early bird 900 dollars
regular 1000 dollars
As you see we are trying our best to support the local community
A 100 dollars non-refundable deposit is asked to reserve your spot
Payment installments can be arranged
2 volunteer positions available & 1 photographer
contact us for more info
ELENA VALVERDE MORA
Elena Valverde Mora is an artist who has immersed herself in integrative therapies as a way to support herself and others to discover their beauty and health using ritual, movement and lifestyle. Dance was the beginning of her spiritual path, learning from the body's expression as an equanimous therapy that allows expression and healing without judgment, finding liberation and transformation, she then dove into the world of illustration and painting since childhood as a way to discover our power to narrate the stories of our lives through form and beauty and as a way to find new stories to tell that can transform our lives profoundly.
Her Costa Rican roots have then guided her to find her path as a herbalist since health and healing in her "peasant family" background was always connected to medicinal plants coming from outside one's door and not from the pharmaceutical industry. She studied extensively with her grandmothers and grandfathers, and later with many other teachers and guides, on how to use plants to promote health and to infuse our lives with joy and pleasure.