Your donation has a significant impact in supporting programs, place and people at the Whidbey Institute. These times call upon us to embrace wild ideas, to seek profound and enduring changes within ourselves, our relationships, and our institutions.


Event Listing

  • CAMPING, bring your own tent and sleeping bag – $1,334.00
  • The base price of $1,214.00 includes tuition and meals, and lodging fees vary by selection.

Date & Time Details: Program begins before dinner on Sunday, with arrivals at 4 pm.
Program ends with lunch on Thursday, with departures at 2 pm.

Location: Whidbey Institute

Address: 6449 Old Pietila Road, Clinton WA 98236

Pricing: We don’t want cost to be a barrier. Please contact Mari Kong ([email protected]) with scholarship inquiries.

$214 plus tax covers all meals, from Sunday dinner through Thursday lunch.

Email us about program

Dare to Connect WE-LAB

With Placida Gallegos, Akasha Saunders, Steve Schapiro and Carol Wishcamper

August 1 - 5, 2021

This workshop with the Solfire Relational Institute will create a space to explore and support our capacity for a “we-space” that embraces our differences and maximizes our practice in connecting with each other across those differences with curiosity and love. 

The workshop begins on Sunday afternoon, August 1 with arrivals before dinner and end at noon on Thursday, August 5, with lunch available before departure. 

Are you called to join with others to counter and heal the divisiveness and suffering you see in the world?

Are you drawn to engaging with others across racial, generational, ethnic, gender, religious, and class differences in ways that account for inequitable power relations and structures? 

Do you desire to experience novel ways of being together in complex and divisive times? 

Do you yearn to belong to a supportive, diverse, and loving community where we attend to individual, collective, and social transformation?

Are you ready to take your own work to the next level by experiencing an immersive, intense and potentially life-changing 5 days?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then consider joining us for this learning laboratory. This will be a space and time for courageous practice in daring to connect across our multiple differences and to renew our individual and collective spirit. This process can deepen your self-awareness, generate transformational change, and support mutual growth and awakening.

Individualism is prized in many societies. So is self-sufficiency. We believe that these ways of being are toxic for individuals, organizations, and communities. They lead to cultures of isolation and scarcity. We need more interconnected ways to be together. This gathering is to explore and support our capacity for a “we-space” that embraces and maximizes differences.

In our activities and dialogue we will:

  • Move systematically through different “levels of system” from Individual to the We
  • Amplify and lean into group differences present in the community
  • Experience real-time highly interactive embodied engagement
  • Experiment with living and being together in “we-ness”
  • Practice loving each other across our differences
  • Engage in embodied, mindful, and creative practices to feed the soul and renew the spirit

Pace of our time together:

  • Structured and unstructured time
  • Intentional personal reflection
  • Play & fun
  • Creative work
  • Small group time
  • Time in nature
  • Embodied practices



What people are saying about Dare to Connect WE-LAB

“I walked away with an embodied sense of how deeply people want to love and be loved across differences and to be part of a ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ and ‘us/them’. I was moved by the power of that desire, built stronger from acts of sharing of love through our stories and affirming interactions with each other, to hold individuals and groups through hard conversations about white supremacy.  I found capacity and language within myself to bring love more explicitly into anti-racism work moving forward.”

“In the end, my greatest takeaways in this moment are: I am feeling love for people more fully and deeply; I will live in mixed race company whenever and for however long I am welcomed; I will keep fighting injustices and inequity when I see them (by hand, tongue, and heart); and I will celebrate my other identities (woman, mother, wife, book lover, nature lover, cancer survivor) since I cannot celebrate my whiteness. Signing off for now as an extroverted introvert who loves the planet and we people who are here temporarily occupying it. And we had so much fun, and I am so grateful for that, for us, for you, for that beautiful place, the Ghost Ranch, and our time together in it. One love. Solfire!”

“Your generosity was palpable from welcome and place and snacks . . . And your sensitivity to us and our needs felt luscious and sustaining.  You were humor, warmth, direction, and holding us with soft hands fed our souls. You are wild and radical leaders… With wonderfully different flavors, each bringing an edge, clarity, and uniquely shaped connecting with us. And the variety of your flavors was rich and deep and leaves us longing for more of you . . . I loved the emphasis on love and challenge, love and engage, love and shadow . . . I don’t think I’ve ever been to a workshop that has had such a clear and I hope transformational impact on me. The intensity and fun and brilliance and collaboration of your team provided a steady and broad container for an amazing amount of growth.”

“I will start with the invocation voiced by Placida in the spiral, ‘I need my white sisters to stand with me in their fierceness, not crumble from their shame.’ When she said this, something inside me shifted. I arrived. This has been my handhold for the experience that I’ve shared with others who ask about it. In some ways it says it all.  . . . I loved the blend of structures and frameworks with breathwork and visualizations. I love that we made room for knowing and not-knowing on all levels, that we created ritual and room for mysticism and magic, and that we called in the wisdom of our ancestors and the wisdom of the land.  . . . I left the group awakened and exhausted, full and emptied out, connected and deeply craving solitude— a personal and collective alchemy of contradictions. The honest truth is that I know something powerful happened to me, I’m just still figuring out exactly what it was . . . Mainly what I want to say is, “it worked!” and I want to express full-throated, broken-hearted gratitude for this offering of love.”

“I want to thank you deeply for creating this space in such a powerful place and inviting me to take part. You are an amazing team, the authenticity, vulnerability and depth that all of you showed, made me feel safe and held in a way I’ve never experienced before in a group. And the love and respect between you really set a beautiful and infectious tone. The whole experience was both challenging and deeply nourishing for me, and I long for more. I feel inspired and motivated to keep learning and sharing embodiment and movement practices that contribute to this work . . . I’m with you. . . .  Yesterday I sat and really felt the presence of each of you, and you as a unit, and experienced an immense love, gratitude and feeling of trust and support. I have so much appreciation and admiration for your team and the diversity that you bring to it, it feels very whole, rare and is a great example of healthy relationship for me.  . . . I want to thank you again for helping me to find more trust in my voice and presence here. Your team and teachings, the people, the stories, the land, our ancestors, the love . . . it was magic that continues to fill me.”

“You four, as a group, serve as a model of diversity — a model that I actively seek in my own life and business. Each of you brought magic to the room in your own ways. You shared your stories and yourselves. And that set the stage for everyone else. . . . Your group designs were varied, interesting and effective.  You gave us the chance to get acquainted before you put us in more challenging situations. And then you had the patience and trust in the group to let us find our way — or not. . . . For me, the personal learnings will deepen as time goes on.  I find myself reflecting on many things. I am appreciating choices I have made in my life and I have become more aware of blind spots in my behavior I hadn’t confronted before.  I’m sure that months from now, I will still be learning from your masterful We-Lab . . . Thank you all for your generous spirits, your design brilliance, and your willingness to tackle challenging social problems in a way that will seed change far and wide.”


Placida Gallegos
Placida Gallegos has been an organization development consultant and executive coach for the past 30 years engaged in supporting diverse individuals, groups and organizations in thriving and achieving optimal outcomes.  Her work spans a wide range of industries including corporations, non-profits, foundations, educational institutions and governmental agencies.  Solfire Consulting Group specializes in strategic culture change work, supporting organizations in recognizing and more fully utilizing their diverse talent and untapped potential through the practice of inclusive leadership. Throughout her career in academia and organizational consulting, she has supported the creation of healthier, more inclusive cultures where people can contribute their individual and cultural strengths.  Recent…
Learn more about Placida Gallegos
Akasha Saunders
Akasha is a pilgrim, educator, and developmental coach with over 10 years of professional experience. He brings a constructive developmental approach to fostering diversity, inclusion, and equity in organizations. He also brings experience and deep interest in spiritual development and evolution of human consciousness to his practice. Akasha is also known for his success working with men across multiple sociocultural differences. He designs and facilitates workshops and interventions, including for the Braveheart Men’s Retreats that focus on increased levels of awareness, inclusive masculinities, and leadership development. His engagement with client systems centers on partnership and fostering intimate conversations with groups…
Learn more about Akasha Saunders
Steve Schapiro
Steve Schapiro teaches, writes, and consults in the areas of adult development and adult learning, with a focus on transformative learning and social justice. He is a member of the faculty in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, where he has also served as Dean for Academic Affairs. He has spent over 30 years teaching for social justice and inclusion, and leading dialogues across difference in regard to issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation. He is co-editor of the book, Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture and the Arts. and editor of the book, Higher Education…
Learn more about Steve Schapiro
Carol Wishcamper
Carol brings several decades of leadership experience in the education and non-profit sectors to her organizational development consulting practice.  She recently Co-Chaired  the Maine Wabanaki- State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, designed to promote inter-generational and intercultural healing.   She has held leadership positions on the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy as well as board service on numerous boards, including the College of the Atlantic and Waynflete School. She is currently a trustee of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.  In her consulting practice, she works with a full spectrum of public and…
Learn more about Carol Wishcamper

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