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Deepening Our Engagement with Nature

April 27, 2023


We’re excited to offer: Wildness, Enchantment & Hope: Deepening Our Engagement with NatureThis six-session, online series begins May 17 and will be facilitated by Leslie and fellow Courage & Renewal® Facilitator Mardi Tindal. Listen to Leslie describing the inspiration for the retreat and her hopes for participants:

Two things inspired this retreat.
The first is the hopelessness I sometimes feel dealing with climate change and the fatigue that comes with that.
That we are never able to do enough or get it right.
In trying to find a way to deal with that anxiety, hopelessness and fatigue, I realized what was missing in the conversation, for me anyway, was joy – the sense of joy that comes with connecting with nature. It felt like we were forgetting some of the essence of this.
It’s very much tied to the stewardship of parenting.
There were times when I was a single parent, my kids were little, and I was running out of steam and not enjoying them very much. Sometimes all it would take would be for the babysitter to point out something beautiful and joyful about them for me to regain that energy, to engage with them completely.
Now, when I think of my beloveds – my children and my grandchildren – I can envision hopes for their futures. I hold visions of them in my head; in my heart I can hear the sound of their voices and their laughter.
So in terms of the fight for climate change, for me it’s finding that sense of the beloved.
Finding that joy.
It’s not just about what nature gives us in terms of food and minerals and shelter. But what does nature give us in terms of joy, a sense of home, and a sense of beauty? If we look at that, what does that mean to what we can give back?
Maybe that will refuel us.
It’s hard to care for the things that we love, but when we love them and appreciate them, it helps us to get through those difficult moments.
Of course there is some irony that this nature-focused retreat is online. We’ll have to address the paradox between what it means to meet online and the resources involved, and the goal of deepening our engagement with nature.
What we want to offer are reflections that then prompt participants to walk out the door wherever they are, with maybe a slight shift in mindset, or with different eyes, or with their ears to hear a little differently, to find ways to re-engage that sense of joy that’s waiting outside the door.
We want to bring back that sense of playfulness and joy into our engagement with nature.
During the retreat, I hope to hear laughter!
I hope to see and hear reflections of awe and wonder.
I hope that people find a sense of purpose, and renewal.
I hope it will be a focused time for a couple of hours each week, where people can take a deep breath and find some space for gratitude and joy.
And wonder.
And the courage to keep going.


We’ll tell you more about the second intriguing source of inspiration for this offering next week.

In the meantime, if this retreat sounds inviting, you can register herePlease note that there is a special early bird price if you register by May 1.

Wildness, Enchantment & Hope: Deepening Our Engagement with Nature

Six online sessions
May 17, – June 28 (no session on June 14)
1:00 – 3:00 pm EDT
By May 1: $150. After May 1: $175.

If you’re looking for a little sample of the work we do, you may want to check out our next micro-retreat, Reciprocity: 75 minutes of meditation, inspiration, reflection and conversation, online. Information and registration.

May 8, 7:00–8:15 pm
Pay What You Can

Contact Us

We are settlers on Treaty 13 Land, the traditional territories of many Indigenous Nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples from across Turtle Island. We are committed to honouring the history this land bears witness to, responding to the 94 Calls to Action of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and walking lightly on the Earth. A portion of proceeds from all our offerings are sent to:  The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and The Nii’kinaaganaa Foundation.

The Inside Outside Retreat Centre, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 720 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON, M5S2R4