Heart-Centered Spirituality: Embodied Presence and Action

How do we live from the heart? How can we meet each moment and act in the world with embodied presence and clarity?

Please join us for one of five information sessions to learn more about this year-long program, designed to cultivate awakened presence in daily life and compassionate action in our world. These free 90-minute sessions will be held on Zoom or at Mariandale. See Information Sessions, below, for dates and registration link.

reiki workshopFor countless centuries, spiritual traditions have passed on tools and teachings to meet the challenges of life and of the world with wisdom and compassion. For much of that time, the insights of various traditions were seen as incompatible with each other; today, there are new possibilities in understanding, practice, and faith.

The Hope of Heart-Centered Spirituality is to cultivate awakened presence in daily life and compassionate action in our world.

Through meditation, accessing the wisdom of the body, reflecting on spiritual traditions, expressing creativity, and cultivating our relationship with nature, we will nurture personal and communal transformation. A key component will be journeying together with other people committed to deepening, on the path of heart centered living.

All are welcome to join, regardless of religious or spiritual traditions.


Heart-Centered Ideals

In this program we will cultivate the following heartful awareness:

♦ Wisdom: clear seeing without distortion, and expansion of consciousness and self-awareness that leads to loving, authentic action

♦ Compassion: feeling connected with the suffering of beings, including oneself, and to act on it in our world

♦ Embodiment: integrating bodily-felt awareness with consciousness and soulfulness

♦ Radical inclusivity: moving beyond either or thinking within ourselves and among others as we create beloved community.


What to Expect

Participants will:
Cultivate a daily meditation practice of compassionate awareness to the present moment

Read and process the teachings of significant leaders in a variety of spiritual traditions including Christianity, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Sufism, the Yogic tradition, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and Depth Psychology

Understand the historical, scientific, spiritual, and cultural trends that inform the present moment

Experience a variety of body practices including breathing, gentle movement, mindful eating, and Forest Bathing

Engage in creative and imaginal activities such as dream work, guided meditation, writing, and working with color on paper

Gain a framework for understanding and integrating emotional reactivity

Develop skills to discern “right action” in relation to everyday life and the ongoing racial, ecological, political, and global challenges of our time

Integrate heart centered principles and practices in their everyday lives through a Rhythm of Life.


The ideal Heart-Centered Spirituality participant will…

Be open to a paradigm shift – having an openness to new ideas, ways of thinking, and being in the world

Lead with curiosity

Be willing to experience discomfort in the service of growth

Be committed to participating fully in the different components of the program, including engaging in the different practices in daily life.



Heart-Centered Spirituality Team: Liz Walz, Christina Leano, Rev. Matthew Wright, & additional guest presenters

Christina Leano headshotChristina Leaño brings over 15 years of experience offering spiritual programs and guidance to diverse audiences. From weekend retreats to spiritual direction, nature-based experiences to meditation classes, her passion is to create opportunities to facilitate people’s spiritual growth and integration while highlighting the seamlessness between personal and social transformation; contemplation and action. Christina’s work is grounded in her Catholic contemplative background, her Buddhist studies and practice of close to 25 years, training as a mindfulness teacher, and lifelong commitment to ecological and social justice. She holds a BA from Yale University and an MA from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

Liz Walz headshotLiz Walz offers spiritual programs and retreats informed by more than 30 years of experience: in the Catholic Worker movement and nonviolent direct action; certifications in yoga, massage, and Ayurveda; and exploration in contemplative living. A doctoral student in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, she is enthusiastic about the many “love languages” of the Divine. Liz’s theology is cosmological, in the tradition of Teilhard de Chardin and informed by Frs. Richard Rohr, Franciscan; Diarmuid O’Murchu, Sacred Heart Missionary; Norm Comtois, Oblate of Mary Immaculate; and Bro. Don Bisson, Marist. As a Spiritual Director, Liz has accompanied people who are transgender and she is comfortable with 12 Step spirituality. She is a facilitator and coach for Wild Women Soul Purpose Journey, through Embodied Art Studio, and is certified in Dream Tending.

Rev. Matthew Wright head shotRev. Matthew Wright  is an Episcopal priest serving the community of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY. He is a teacher and retreat leader for Northeast Wisdom and The Contemplative Society, non-profits dedicated to the renewal of the Christian Wisdom tradition, and a dervish on the Mevlevi Sufi path. Matthew lives with his wife Yanick alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY. His spiritual formation happened largely along two lines, one Christian, the other Sufi: the rich traditions of Anglicanism, the Episcopal Church, and the Wisdom Schools of Cynthia Bourgeault, and the Mevlevi Order through the teaching of Kabir and Camille Helminski. He is grateful to Kabir, Camille, Cynthia, and all his teachers!


Program Components

The program will include:

Two 4-day retreats; One 3-day retreat; Four 1-day retreats

One monthly, small group meeting to process teachings and practices (online)

Monthly reading, audio or video assignments, with required reflection responses

Commitment to a monthly practice (such as mindful eating, dreamwork, nature walk)

Commitment to a daily silent practice for the duration of the program

Creation of a Harvest project to integrate the program learning.


Program Event Schedule, 2024

April 2024:  Opening session: Wed., April 3 thru Sunday, April 7

May 18, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat- Saturday

June 15, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat-Saturday

July 2024: Fri., July 19 thru Sunday, July 21, three day retreat

Aug. 17, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat- Saturday

Sept. 21, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat- Saturday

Oct. 19, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat – Saturday

Nov. 2024: Closing session: Wed., Nov. 13 thru. Sun. Nov. 17


Program Fee

$2800 covers all costs: 2 four-day retreats; 1 three-day retreat; 4 one-day retreats; monthly small group meetings.

Please see below for information on the Program Fee discount with Early Application (by December 1, 2023).


Application, Program Fee, and Application Deadline Information

Friday, Dec. 1, 2023:  Early Application Deadline

Early Application Program Fee Discount: Apply by December 1, 2023, and the Program Fee you pay is discounted to $2550. Program Fee is $2800 if you apply after December 1. Applications will be reviewed and processed on a rolling basis, so you can apply at any time before the Early Application Deadline.

February 1, 2024: Final Application Deadline

Regular Program Fee: $2800 (if you apply after Dec. 1, 2023

Application Fee: Please note that there is a $50 Application fee that is applied toward your Program Fee if you are accepted into the program.


Heart-Centered Spirituality Information Sessions Dates and Times

Information Sessions are free and held on-site or via Zoom meetings with the program presenters. Choose from the following dates:

♦  Sunday, April 23 from 2 to 3:30pm

♦  Monday, June 12 from 7 to 8:30pm (Online only via Zoom)

♦  Wednesday, September 30, from 2 to 3:30pm (On-site at Mariandale)

♦  Wednesday, November 8, from 7 to 8:30pm (Online only via Zoom)

♦  Monday,  January 8,  from 7 to 8:30pm (Online only via Zoom)


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