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?

Watch Christina Leano in a recorded Information Session on Heart-Centered Spirituality: Embodied Presence and Action. Learn more about this exceptional program, and apply online at the button, below.

Please join us for an 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.

For 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 weekends
♦  (One) 3-day weekend
♦  (Five) 1-day long session (on Saturday)
♦  Final wrap up session Jan. 11 2025.


Program Event Schedule, 2024

Opening 4-day Weekend Session: Thursday April 4, through Sunday, April 7, 2024
Saturday, May 18, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat
Saturday, June 15, 2024:  Daylong in-person retreat
Weekend, three day:  July 19 through Sunday, July 21, 2024
Saturday, August, 17, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat
Saturday, September 21, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2024: Daylong in-person retreat
Closing 4-day Weekend Session: Thursday, Nov. 14 through Nov. 17, 2024

Follow up session: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2025 setting intentions….day long session.


Program Fee

$2550 covers all program costs: 2 four-day retreats; 1 three-day retreat; 4 one-day retreats; monthly small group meetings. Application (by deadline is March 1, 2024. 


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The Center at Mariandale | New York Retreat Center