Dancing in the River of Life: Meditating with Interconnectedness Through the Five Elements (Residential Only)

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Dancing in the River of Life: Meditating with Interconnectedness Through the Five Elements (Residential Only)

Lama Liz Monson, Matthew Bellows
October 8, 2024 - October 14, 2024

Spiritual traditions from all over the world honor the sacred interconnectedness between the human, non-human, and the natural world. From the shamanic traditions of South America to the Buddha and the Dzogchen yogis of Tibet, ancient masters have long relied on the power of the natural world to nurture peace and awaken insight. At a certain point on the spiritual path it is said that the phenomenal world becomes the teacher. Following this impulse, we can recognize and deeply inhabit our lives as indigenous (“sprung from the earth”). Join Lama Liz and Matt Bellows as we explore the power of the elements, of trees, streams, lakes, open skies, leaves, birds, animals and winding paths to open us to our deepest nature – a way of being that acknowledges and supports the flow of love that unites all beings in oneness, gratitude, and profound joy..

On this retreat, participants will explore and develop a repertoire of practices and contemplative approaches that allow us to take nature as a teacher. We will discover how communing with the elemental forces of fire, water, earth, air, and space can heal the body, transform the heart and liberate the mind. During this retreat, our “meditation hall” will migrate from the forest to the shores of mountain lakes, from verdant valleys to rocky summits.

Mornings and evenings, we will ground in practice and teaching in Wonderwell’s historic Meditation Hall. Weather permitting, our days will be spent meditating in the temple of the brilliant autumn landscape of rural New Hampshire. We will take the principles of meditation into walking, hiking, and other forms of mindful movement.

Through rekindling our innate interconnectedness with the natural world, we simultaneously discover the spacious, luminous, and awake qualities of our own being. Within this web of interconnectedness, we discover that liberation from suffering and the freedom to realize our aspirations are not about transcending the human condition, but about finding the inherent freedom within it.

All levels of meditation practice are welcome. Vigorous  activity is a key practice in this retreat.  Participants must be capable of hiking four to five miles per day over moderate mountainous terrain to join in all activities.  Please intend to participate in the daily hike.  Alternative activities at Wonderwell will not be available.

NOTE:  If this description does not apply to you, please consider other NDF offerings on our calendar this year that will bring you into relationship with nature such as the Rewilding the Soul Dharma Sundays.

Typical Retreat Schedule

(All times are Eastern time zone)

First Day — Opening session begins around 7:00 pm.

Full-Day Schedule — Morning meditation 7:00 am; Breakfast break 8:30-10:00 am; Lunch break 12:00-2:00 pm; Dinner break 5:30-7:00 pm.

Last Day — The closing session typically ends by 12:00 pm.

These times are just for reference. An expanded schedule will be provided in pre-retreat information emailed during the week prior to the event.

Important Covid Information

The NDF Health Committee continues to monitor evolving public health conditions and trends, as we keep the safety of our Sangha at the forefront of our decision-making. At this time, COVID-19 testing is no longer required. Masks are optional and encouraged if you are at higher risk.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge strives to offer retreats in a manner that is inclusive for persons of all means. If the full retreat cost would create an undue financial burden, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. Please visit this page on our website learn more about financial aid.

Depending on the type of work that you do, you may be eligible for a Hemera Contemplative Fellowship. Please click on this link for more information.

Please do not apply for financial assistance until after you have secured a place in Wonderwell for the retreat.

Cancellation Policy

Wonderwell charges a $75 cancellation fee for residential (onsite) retreat cancellations more than 4 weeks before the start of a retreat. Any cancellations between 4 weeks to 11 days prior to the program are charged a $150 cancellation fee. For any cancellations 10 or fewer days prior to the start date of the program, no refunds are offered.

However, if you are feeling ill or feel you might have been exposed to the COVID virus, please cancel your attendance at any Wonderwell retreat even at the last minute. In this case, we will provide a full refund of your payment.

If you decide to transfer from residential to online attendance, any cancellation fee will be determined based on the time remaining before the start of the retreat.

Access to Recordings

NDF offers unlimited access to recordings, which are accessed in your user dashboard (more information about user accounts provided in a pre-retreat letter). If you have a user account, please register with the same email you use to log into your dashboard. If not, an account will be created for you using your registration address.

Availability will vary depending on the type of event and the backlog for our precious resource volunteers. Thank you for your patience.

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge Full Calendar

Oct. 8-14, 2024. Check-in at Wonderwell is between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on the day of arrival. A light lunch may be offered on the last day of the retreat. We ask that people leave Wonderwell by 2:00 pm so staff can finish their work and get home themselves.


A limited number of hearing assistance devices are available at Wonderwell. Please indicate in the comment box on the registration form if you would like to reserve one of these devices. Devices reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Full access to all recordings and retreat materials through your user account.

  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Ensuite Bath - $1,438.00
  • Shared Room w/Ensuite Bath - $997.00
  • Women's Dorm - $787.00
  • Shared Room w/Hall Bath - $924.00
  • Private Room w/Twin Bed & Hall Bath - $1,316.00
  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Hall Bath - $1,316.00
  • Men's Dorm - $787.00
  • Suite/Benefactor - $1,821.00
  • Camping/Self-Contained Vehicle - $608.00
  • As Commuter - $608.00
  • Camping/Tent or Vehicle - $714.00

Register Here

About the Teachers

Lama Liz Monson

Lama, Managing Teacher, Spiritual Co-Director
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Matthew Bellows

Board of Directors, Meditation Teacher, Acting-Chair/Stewardship Committee
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