Liberation and Tenderness


“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison

text – Liberation & Tenderness – opening question

We’ve been asking ourselves the above question, and we want to invite you to a special gathering where we can dream and co-create that future together.

First, consider the ways in which you are bound. Do you have fear, insecurity, trauma, or self-doubt that limit how freely you live? Are their cultural or religious expectations, gender norms, family rules, or systemic limitations that keep you from being fully yourself? 

If any of those things feel true, we want to explore, with you, what liberation might mean for each of us personally and for all of us collectively. We’ll do our best to create a container where we can all hold space for our longing, our grief, our fear, and our dreams, and where we can courageously open ourselves to what might be possible. 

Join us January 29 to February 3, 2023 in beautiful Costa Rica!

In our pursuit of liberation, we’ll explore what it might mean if none of us felt shame about the bodies we live in and none of us projected that shame onto others. We’ll hold space for the trauma that’s been passed down by our lineages and we’ll examine some of the  expectations imposed by systems like capitalism and patriarchy.

text – Love and Listening

Instead of placing the burden of responsibility for self-care only on the shoulders of each of us as individuals, at this gathering we hope to create a circle of collective care where we hold space for all of us to heal and grow. We’ll talk about what’s possible in terms of disrupting and divesting from harmful systems and co-creating new systems that hold our collective care at the centre.

text – Liberation & Tenderness – pinpoints of light

Liberation work is Big Work that requires courage and commitment. Because it’s Big Work, and because it needs us to disrupt the kind of control, punishment, perfectionism and shame that are embedded in so many of our systems, it is imperative that it includes heaps of Tenderness. As we explore what liberation means, we’ll also explore what it means to be tender. We’ll practice extending intentional tenderness to ourselves and to each other, and we’ll practice receiving that tenderness from the earth and from those who hold space for us. We’ll also explore how liberatory tenderness insists on healthy boundaries, radical grace, and collective care. 

This gathering will be held at a special location which we believe will be uniquely suited for our conversations and explorations. Brave Earth in Costa Rica, a centre for applied cultural transition, calls itself a “living laboratory” which holds the question of “how do we decolonize our minds from the dominant culture of capitalism, patriarchy, racialized hierarchies, scarcity logic and oppressive systems of control?” Rather than offering a place of retreat and escape, Brave Earth offers “a place to root and remember.”

We hope you will join us in this exploration of Liberation and Tenderness. We hope you’ll take the step to be in this brave and meaningful conversation with us, in a place that offers to hold tender space for us to do whatever is needed – grieve, rage, laugh, cry, dance, heal, and dream – so that we can all be more free.

text – Liberation & Tenderness – holistic gathering

We’ll spend time in conversation and contemplation, and we’ll also make time for play, movement, exploration, and time in nature. We’ll take a few field trips to enjoy some of what the region has to offer.

Holding liberation and love at the centre as best we can, we hope to make this gathering as accessible as possible to a broad range of people. If you are interested in attending and have special needs, please speak to us about how we, together with our hosts at Brave Earth, can accommodate those needs. 

text – Liberation & Tenderness – hosting team

Heather Plett is the author of The Art of Holding Space and co-founder of the Centre for Holding Space. Based in Canada, she teaches workshops around the world.

Mary – square

Mary Scholl is the founder of the Institute for Collaborative Learning. Based in Costa Rica, she trains teachers and leaders around the world..

When: January 29 to February 3, 2023 (starting at suppertime on the 29th and ending after lunch on the 3rd)

Where: Brave Earth in Costa Rica (close to La Fortuna, approximately 2.5 hours from San Jose)

Retreat Cost: In the interests of making this as affordable as possible, while still ensuring that all who are involved in putting on the retreat are fairly compensated, we have a range of cost options available. You will need to choose one from each of the following two categories: Workshop & Activities + Board & Room. (Categories options will appear when you click “register”.)

Workshops & Activities Payment Options

Price options for Costa Rica retreat – supported
Price options for Costa Rica retreat – sustaining
Price options for Costa Rica retreat – contributing

Room & Board Options

(Prices are for the whole week!)

Price options for Costa Rica – board 1
Price options for Costa Rica – board 2
Price options for Costa Rica – board 3
Price options for Costa Rica – board 4
Price options for Costa Rica – board 5

Please be sure to select one option from each category when you register (unless you don’t need room & board).

Questions? Contact us.