What happens on retreat?
From the moment you arrive at The Whidbey Institute you will be welcomed and supported! We begin our time together by giving up our phones (and other devices) for 48 hours and reflecting on who and what we we want to be more present for in our lives. The weekend is filled with mindfulness practice and meditation, nature-inspired adventures, time alone and time spent getting to know other retreat participants. One of the best parts of the weekend are the group meals, where we reclaim the art of conversation and turn strangers into friends. There is plenty of structure and support, and a good balance of group time and alone time. You will leave refreshed, inspired, and with a concrete plan to have a more mindful relationship with technology.
Day One: We Unplug from the digital world.
Day Two: We Reconnect with ourselves, our passions, goals and other humans.
Day Three: We leave feeling Restored physically and emotionally, with a clear sense of how to engage with technology on your own terms.
There are opportunities for hiking on 104 acres of trails, and a labyrinth to walk. Participants rave about the gourmet plant-based meals at The Whidbey Institute. This is a truly special weekend full of warmth, connection and deep self reflection.
What's the schedule?
The best way to get a sense of the schedule is to take a look at the retreat agenda. We begin our time together on Friday morning at 10am and end at 1pm on Sunday. It is important that you plan to be present for the entire time in order to benefit fully from the intention and flow of the weekend. (Note: in the past, retreats have started on Friday afternoon, but we realized that afternoon ferry traffic made it impossible for anyone to arrive on time. Starting in the morning will reduce stress and give you more time to benefit from the weekend.)
How much meditation will I be doing?
We will be doing 10 - 20 minute meditation sessions 2 - 3 times a day, with options for more guided mindfulness during free time if you want it. In addition to mediation, there will be group exercises to help you explore and transform your relationship with technology.
Are cell phones allowed?
You will be asked to turn over your digital devices on Friday morning and will get them back on Sunday before lunch. There will be an emergency number for your loved ones to use if they need to get in touch with you during this time. Because I understand that for many of us, keeping up with the news is related to activism and survival, I will monitor the New York Times and other news sources for breaking stories and update participants who want to know what's going on in the world during the retreat time. It is also ok to opt out of this. If you have other needs for saying in touch with family or kids during the retreat, that can also be arranged.
How many people will I be sharing a room with?
Accommodations are mostly single occupancy with some options for double occupancy. No one will be asked to share a room with someone they do not know unless all parties consent. Camping is also available. The cabins at The Whidbey Institute are simple but charming, cozy and comfy.
Is the retreat silent?
No - but you can take quiet time whenever you need to.
Will I have time to exercise?
Yes - and lot’s of trails to explore for hikes.
Can I come on retreat with a friend, sibling, or family member?
Yes! Retreats have been attended by mothers/daughters, couples and friends seeking to deepen their relationships.
Can the retreat accommodate individuals with physical differences such as limited mobility, vision impairment, etc.?
Yes. There are ADA accessible cabins and the dining room and meeting space are also ADA accessible. Let Christina know what kinds of accommodations you need and she will do her best to meet them.
What kind of people come on these retreats?
People from all walks of life! Past attendees have included activists, artists, healers, tech workers, retired folks, students, stay-at-home parents, busy professionals and other people who want to develop a healthier relationship with technology. Much effort is put into creating as comfortable a space as possible for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and spiritual traditions.
Is financial aid available? How do scholarships work?
Financial aid is available on a first-come first-served basis, although the amount offered is limited at the moment. To request financial aid, please describe your financial situation on the retreat registration form, or contact Christina directly to ask about scholarship availability. During the registration process, participants have the option to donate towards scholarships, and we hope to be able to offer more assistance and scholarship money as the retreats grow.
Is there an application process, or can anyone who registers attend?
Anyone who registers can attend, as long as there is space.
Who are the staff on the retreat?
My name is Christina Malecka and I’m a trained psychotherapist with over 25 years experience with group facilitation and a decade of practicing and teaching mindfulness. I’m a Grassroots Organizer turned Licensed Mental Health Counselor and love creating nurturing experiences and holding space for people. I was inspired to create this retreat after my own profound experience with digital detox and re-set.
What should I bring with me?
A flashlight – it is dark at night and you won’t have your phone’s flashlight available to navigate the pathways
A watch or other timepiece if you are accustomed to using your phone to tell time, and an alarm clock if you have one. (If not, I can do “wake up knocks” on your door in the morning.)
Cozy socks - the space we are meeting in is shoe-free
A journal – we will be doing some writing exercises and I will also encourage you to journal during your free time.
The comfiest clothes you own – we will be lounging
A robe and flip-flops or slip-on shoes – you’ll need to leave your room to access the bathrooms (I promise that it is not a long walk at all and the bathrooms are really nice.)
Rain gear and sturdy shoes – so you can enjoy the labyrinth and the hiking trails.
Can I communicate with the outside world via phone or email during the retreat?
You will not be able to communicate from your own phone or device but if you must check in with people back home, Christina can lend you her phone or computer for a call for FaceTime.
Is this retreat affiliated with any religious traditions?
No. It will be trauma informed and social justice-oriented, with a commitment to intersectionality. Much effort will be put into creating as comfortable a space as possible for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and spiritual traditions. The Whidbey Institute was intentionally chosen for its commitment to social justice