Residential – Gesture of Awareness

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Residential – Gesture of Awareness

Camille Hykes, Deborah Jai Levy, Jane Moss
April 20, 2023 - April 23, 2023

This retreat is residential only.

In simplicity and gentleness, Gesture of Awareness invites us to experience timeless embodied freedom through body-heart-mind. Exploring however we are in the body, whether moving or still, we open ourselves to a world freshly experienced without concepts, free from the fictions we make of our reality. We can’t experience unconditional freedom if we don’t notice our immediate experience, and recognize its nature in all its magical display, or question the way we see the world. Gesture of Awareness invites us, from deep within, into this wide-open lovingkind inquiry. “The key is in present awareness,” the great meditation master Jigme Lingpa sang, “with no possibility for confusion.”

Rooted in the Satipattana Sutta and Sensory Awareness practice, and developed over decades in collaboration with students in the U.S. and Europe, Gesture of Awareness is Charles Genoud’s* translation of Mahamudra, which is one’s naked ordinary mind resting in unfabricated naturalness. In Gesture, students explore individually and in groups of two, three, or more the nature of simple, “ordinary” activities such as walking, standing, giving and receiving; we explore the nature of all sensory experience, including touch. A sense of revelation and wonder may unfold as we discover for ourselves that we don’t need to cling to anything in our immediate experience, not even our thoughts and feelings. How amazing!

Together, in the spiritual context of this retreat, in the natural setting of Wonderwell, we may discover an openness in letting go of concepts and beliefs that bind us…to step more freely, to play—to dance with our life.

We use concepts to create the illusion of a stable unchanging world even as it flows and changes ceaselessly, like a great river. Seeking security in a world that offers neither, we cannot be fully alive, fully here. In this retreat, we will open to experiencing impermanence as a freedom, a freedom that lies within the very nature of flow and change.

Gesture of Awareness is appropriate for all levels of meditation experience. Please join senior teachers of this work, Camille Hykes, Deborah Jai Levy, and Jane Moss, for this joyful, embodied, and profound exploration—a pilgrimage into the heart of life.

*(Charles Genoud is co-founder of the Vimalakirti Center for Meditation in Geneva, Switzerland. He has conducted meditation retreats in Europe, the United States, Brazil, and the Middle East. A practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism since 1970, Charles was a student of, and translator for, Venerable Geshe Rabten for over ten years. Charles went on to study closely with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and other teachers of the Dzogchen tradition. He is the author of two books, Gesture of Awareness and Beyond Tranquility: Buddhist Meditations in Essay and Verse.


SCHEDULE – Subject to change

Thursday, April 20
3:00–5:00 pm             Check in
5:30–6:00 pm             Dinner served
7:00–7:15 pm             Wonderwell Orientation
7:15–8:30 pm             Welcome session

Friday & Saturday, April 21 & 22
7:00–7:45 am             Meditation
8:00–8:30 am             Breakfast served
10:00–11:30 am         Gesture of Awareness
11:45 am–12:30 pm   Gesture of Awareness in Nature (weather permitting)
12:30–1:00 pm           Lunch served
2:30–4:00 pm             Gesture of Awareness
4:15–5:00 pm             Meditation
5:15–6:00 pm             Small Group Sessions
6:00–6:30 pm             Dinner served
7:30–8:15 pm             Meditation

Sunday, April 23
7:00–7:45 am             Meditation
8:00–8:30 am             Breakfast served
10:00–11:00 am         Gesture of Awareness
11:15–11:45 am         Small Group Sessions
11:45 am–12:15 pm   Final Session
12:15 pm                    Lunch



Information about pandemic safety protocols in place can be found on this page of our website. For details about Wonderwell itself, registration procedures, pricing, cancellation policy, and other FAQs, please use this link.

SHARED ROOMS: If you register for a shared room, you are agreeing that you accept that you may be sharing it with someone you don’t know. If you are not willing to make that agreement, please do not register for a shared room.  Note:  Men and women who don’t know each other will never be assigned to the same room.

Retreatants may always register for a shared double room with someone they know, as long as space is available. There is a box on the registration to indicate who you’d like for a roommate, and we’ll do the best we can. You may want to consider registering for the commuter option instead. Scroll down on this page for information about nearby accommodations. 

VACCINATION REQUIRED: All onsite retreatants must be *fully vaccinated* and will need to present proof of vaccination at check-in. We cannot admit you to Wonderwell without this proof. Per CDC guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. In addition, NDF defines “fully vaccinated” as 2 weeks after having received an eligible booster shot. We will accept your original COVID card or a a photo as proof of vaccination.

TESTING: A negative COVID-19 test result is required before admittance to the retreat. Please test within 24 hours prior to your expected arrival at Wonderwell, using either a PCR test or a rapid (at-home) test kit. We will ask you about the result when you arrive and take your word for it. Please bring a rapid test kit with you to Wonderwell. We will have a limited number of test kits available for during-retreat testing.

MASK REQUIREMENTS: We are continuing to monitor this ever-changing situation and will adjust our mask policy accordingly. For the time being, we require that all retreatants and staff wear masks, preferably K(N)95, indoors during all programs. Masks must be worn in all public areas of the building, including the meditation hall. Exceptions: when retreatants are in their room or when actively eating or drinking. Teachers can be unmasked while on the teacher’s seat, as long as they can maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from retreatants.



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.



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.



The user account feature of our website provides a secure place where materials from your retreats can be posted and accessed. If you don’t have an account already, you’ll want to set one up as soon as you register.

  • If you haven’t already created an NDF user account, please visit our website to Create an account as soon as possible.
  • User accounts are manually synced after the retreat. Please be aware that this does not happen automatically with registration. It is a separate, manual operation.
  • Resources and Recordings: The retreat resources and recordings will be available in your user account. Recordings must be edited before they are posted. We appreciate your patience! You will receive an email letting you know they are available in your dashboard. If you have any questions about resources and recordings, please email

Please visit the Technical FAQ page on our website for useful information about user accounts, helpful tutorials, as well as answers to many other questions. You can contact with questions about your user account.


Wonderwell Mountain Refuge Full Calendar

April 20-23, 2023. Check-in at Wonderwell is between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on the day of arrival. The retreat ends at noon on the final day and a light lunch may be offered. We ask that people leave Wonderwell by 2:00 pm so staff can finish their work and get home themselves.

[email protected]

  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Ensuite Bath - $702.00
  • Shared Room w/Ensuite Bath - $486.00
  • Shared Room w/Hall Bath - $447.00
  • Private Room w/Twin Bed & Hall Bath - $639.00
  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Hall Bath - $639.00
  • As Commuter - $264.00

If the type of room you require is sold out or no rooms at all are available at Wonderwell, you can email [email protected] to be placed on a waiting list in case there are cancellations.

Please indicate in the Comments section of the registration form if you will need special seating or assistive hearing devices.

Register Here

About the Teachers

Camille Hykes

Dharma Teacher, Margha Program Director, Mitra
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Deborah Jai Levy

Meditation Teacher, Drupon
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Jane Moss

Meditation Teacher
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