We are excited to welcome Dan McKee and the Warrior Monk Retreats back to the Whidbey Institute! In anticipation of his upcoming program, November 1-5, 2023, I took the opportunity to learn more about his work and his approach to holding Warrior Monk retreats, particularly at the Whidbey Institute.
I know you and your programs have been associated with the Whidbey Institute for a long time. When was the last time you held a retreat here and was that a Warrior Monk Retreat?
Yes, it was another Warrior Monk Retreat in early 2020, not too long before the pandemic-induced hiatus.
We’ve been holding this retreat almost yearly – sometimes twice a year – at the Whidbey Institute since the early 2000’s so it’s wonderful to be coming back.
Can you describe the Warrior Monk retreat, perhaps for someone who has never attended or has little to no background on your work?
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The second weekend of April, people gathered in Thomas Berry Hall to convene the Whidbey Spring Gathering, our first community program of this kind since the 2020 Winter Gathering. There were both returning and new faces; curious, excited, anticipatory, and in some cases wary, uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect, but drawn to the land for various reasons.
Special thanks to my co-facilitators Victoria Santos, Diana Sandoval, and Gayle Karen Young. It was an honor to partner with them in this inaugural event. Over the course of three days, they convened, held, and honored our time together with skill, finesse, and grace. Participants were invited to explore and embody questions that are essential for our times: How do we want to live our lives going forward? What might be possible for ourselves and for our communities? What will sustain us and the future we dream of? How do we tend to ourselves and to the collective?
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The Whidbey Institute is seeking an individual to join the Place Team in a part-time position. The Place Team is responsible for the upkeep and care of the land and facilities on our 106-acre conservation forest campus and trail system.
This is a non-exempt position, working 12 to 15 hours per week over two to four days (Monday through Thursday) with scheduling flexibility. This is a physically demanding position. Read More →
To Those Who Love This Place,
We have an update to share. The short version of the story is that, after nearly 12 years of service, I am stepping down as a staff member in the organization. The process began March 16, 2021 and will be complete in March 2022. Filled with optimism for our organization and gratitude for the relationships and communities I’ve encountered here, I take this step in service to the emerging future.
With our solid leadership team, robust system of distributed authority, and clear map for the work ahead, we are well prepared for this transition—and the team and I are parting with a ton of mutual care and regard. We have accomplished big work together as part of the fabric of a fifty-year journey, and I am enthusiastic for what will be made possible in the years to come.
If you’re curious to learn more, a long version of the story follows.
—Heather Johnson Read More →
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Themis Gkion, a Creative Empowerment Facilitator with Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE). Connecting via Zoom between Greece and the United States, we enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation about the PYE approach to learning, about larger trends in education, and about what is possible when the power and potential of young learners are unleashed. As an outcome of our conversation, I’ve been personally inspired to take an online Creative Facilitation 1 course from PYE in June. —Marnie Jackson Read More →
Note: this Featured Program story was excerpted from our 2019-2020 Gratitude Report.
We asked program leader Victoria Santos how, with Debra Baker, she concieved and co-hosted the 2019 Nourishment Retreat. Here are her reflections:
The Nourishment retreat came out of my own realization that women of color, and black women in particular, needed a space to recharge, to be nourished, to heal, and to share their stories. I know the healing power of the Whidbey Institute—the intention with which the space was cultivated, the way the land is stewarded, and the way the food nourishes. I wanted to put all of that in the service of BIPOC women.
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By Marnie Jackson
A few months ago, I got an email from Daniel, a Duke University student, about a new nonprofit called You Change Earth. Its stated mission: “Millions of caring people could be making a difference for our environment, yet simply don’t know how. We are dedicated to helping every one of these people find their role in the climate solution.”Daniel wondered if I might be interested in learning more, or helping spread the word, about You Change Earth. Read More →
The Whidbey Institute Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Marnie Jackson has accepted a position as Co-Executive Director of the Whidbey Institute. Marnie joins Heather Johnson, current Executive Director, in the role. Marnie has a deep commitment to our mission and has repeatedly demonstrated her capacity for skillful and effective co-leadership as a core member of our team since 2013. Read More →
On Wednesday, June 3 we launched an Open Zoom series. These lightly facilitated, social calls are open to all and run from 10 am to 11 am weekly through the month of July.
Three folks attended our first Zoom call, and conversation focused primarily on racism. As white people we discussed how to overcome our own internalized white privilege, how to help other white folks be less harmful, and how to be authentic, repair, and heal. We talked about the role of trauma as a root cause of so much violence, and we talked about the death of the illusion of individuality and the myth of American exceptionalism.
A quote from the call:
“We need to make the journey from head to heart.”
A resource mentioned during the call: The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture
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We recently welcomed non-profit professional, frequent volunteer, and inspiring collaborator Dani Turk to the Whidbey Institute Board of Directors. This week, Dani and I connected about her background, her interest in serving, and what she sees as possible in partnership with the Whidbey Institute team and community. Here’s that conversation. —Marnie Jackson Read More →