February 16- 22, 2020

The Art Of Befriending Grief; Creativity, Ritual And The Natural World

The reclamation and befriending of grief is a radical act of self-love and a call to transform our understanding of loss within community. In our time together we will reclaim and befriend our relationships to that which we are grieving. The wisdom of our group field, the beauty of nature, the healing energy of La Senda, the expression in our bodies and the creative process of artmaking will help to alchemize your grief into a sacred, reverent gift and become a source of fuel and inspiration in your daily life. And we will give you practices to take home with you in order to tend to your grief.

Your guides will facilitate heart-full sharing, body-centered meditation and movement practices, sacred ritual in tandem with the land and the sea and creative exercises to move and shift our relationships with grief from darkness to lightness, play and joy. You will create an art “Grief Container” to take home, using objects from the beautiful natural environment of La Senda, which will become a sacred talisman infused with the energy of your transformation. You will come away knowing that grief is an emanation of love. The natural setting of La Senda provides us with the opportunity to spend quiet
and playful time in Mother Nature’s embrace to enrich our process. While the experience of grief is heavy, your guides, who are “Grief Warriors” both personally and professionally, will create an environment where we will hold both the sacred and profane, welcoming lightness and play into our experience. Our devotion is to reclaim/reauthor the cultural paradigm of grief from an often misunderstood process to one that is about being fully alive. We invite you to join us in an intimate dive into the raw and wild call of grief so that your soul may be infused with healing and a new understanding of grief that you can bring into the larger circles of your world.


Our Guides:

Merryl Rothaus | LPC, LMHC, ATR-BC, CHT

Earned a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy from Naropa University. She is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Board-Certified Registered Art Therapist, Certified Hakomi Therapist and Trauma and Grief specialist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado since 2001. Through her Buddhist Mindfulness practices, the body and art therapy, Merryl has created “Embodied Art Therapy,” her innovative method of synthesizing somatic psychotherapy and art therapy. Merryl is a Clinical Supervisor for psychotherapists worldwide and an Art Therapy educator; having been Visiting Core Faculty in the Graduate Art Therapy department at Antioch University, Seattle, and Adjunct Faculty in the Graduate Art Therapy department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado since 2001.

She has presented her clinical work nationally at conferences and is a co-author of "Unity in Diversity; Communal Pluralism in the Art Studio and the Classroom” in the book Art therapy and Social Action; Treating the World's Wounds, “Hakomi Body-Centered Therapy and Art Therapy” in the book Expressive Arts Therapies and Mindfulness and the author of “Grief, Art and Ritual in Reconciling Babyloss” in an upcoming book on Childbearing issues and Art Therapy. She is currently writing a book on “Mothers Without Children” informed by her passages with grief and loss having endured multiple miscarriages and having no live children. A Shamanic Practitioner, Merryl offers her integrative skills in individual shamanic healing sessions and as a Ritualist and Ceremonialist she facilitates many rituals and life passages. Merryl’s experience of moving grief is informed by teachers Maildoma Some and the late Sobonfu Some of the West African Dagara tribe. She volunteers within her Jewish tradition for the Chevra Kadisha or Sacred Burial Society engaging in the sacred acts of tahara, the ritual bathing of corpses for burial as well as shmira, the ritual guarding of corpses in prayer prior to burial.

Merryl can be contacted at www.merrylrothaus.com.

Beth Erlander | MA, LPC, ATR

earned a master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy from Naropa University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Art Therapist, Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner, EMDR practitioner and recently acquired a certification in Death and Grief Studies from the Center of Loss and Life Transition. She calls herself “The Grief Freak” after having been initiated into an apprenticeship with grief when her beloved crashed his mountain bike, broke his neck, severed his spinal cord with the result being quadriplegia or paralysis from the neck down.

She lives with grief every day and thus her main passion is to help others find innovative, creative ways to keep grief moving. Beth has a private psychotherapy practice where she focuses on grief, loss and trauma recovery. She also facilitates group work. She has led Grief Walking Pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain and has facilitated numerous grief rituals in the West African, Dagara tradition taught to her by her revered grief mentor, the late Sobonfu Somé. Holding a belief of ritual, art and nature, she walks to her “heart sculpture” on a trail near their home every morning to tend to and keep her grief process moving. Beth lives in Boulder, Colorado with her disabled but full-hearted partner

Beth can be contacted at www.grieffreak.com.

Outline of Retreat


  • 1:00 - 6:00 Arrival/Check-In/Greet The Land And Settle In
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • 7:30 Orientation And Brief Introductions To Each Other And To “Grief Work”


  • 8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Check-In/Embodiment Practice/Somatic Meditation
  • 10:00 - 12:30 Longer Introductions To Each Other, Our Personal Grief Stories And More About Our Time Together.
  • 12:30 - 2:00 Lunch, Rest And Free Time
  • 2:00 - 5:00 Art, Ritual, And Labyrinth Time
  • 5:00 Tour Of Organic Vegetable Garden With “Ways Of Seeing” Meditation Practice
  • 6:00 6:00 Farm To Table Dinner Prepared By The Chef Of Cala Luna Boutique Hotel (www.Calaluna.Com)


  • 8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Check-In/ Embodiment Practice/Somatic Meditation
  • 10:00 - 12:30 “Grief Time:” Labyrinth, Somatic Meditation, Writing, Art- Making
  • 12:30 - 2:00
  • 12:30-2:00 Lunch, Rest And Self-Care/Free Time
  • 2:00 - 5:00 Shuttle To Tamarindo
  • 5:30 Sunset Playtime And Movement On The Beach
  • 6:30 Dinner In Tamarindo Of Your Choice
  • 8:30 Pick-Up Shuttle In Tamarindo


  • 8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Check-In/ Embodiment Practice/Somatic Meditation
  • 10:00 - 12:30 Labyrinth Time, Writing And Art-Making
  • 12:30 - 2:00 Lunch, Rest And Self-Care Free Time
  • 2:00 - 5:00 Connecting As A Group
  • 5:30 Sunset Meditation, Devotion And Playtime
  • 6:30 Dinner


  • 8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Check-In/ Embodiment Practice/Somatic Meditation
  • 12:30 - 2:30 Lunch, Rest And Self-Care/Free Time
  • 2:30 - 5:00 Explanation Of Ritual And “Bundle”
  • 5:30 Sunset Playtime
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • 7:30 Evening Drum Circle


  • 8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Check-In/ Embodiment Practice/Somatic Meditation
  • 10:00 - 12:30 Completion Of Bundle And Container, Love Notes To Fellow Grief Warriors
  • 12:30 - 2:00 Lunch, Rest And Self-Care/Free Time
  • 2:00 - 5:00 Grief Ritual With The Sea
  • 5:30 Sunset Playtime And Final Circle By The Sea
  • 6:30 Celebration, Drum Circle And Dance Party


  • 9:00 Breakfast And Farewell
  • 11:00 Check Out



  • Daily Practices To Nourish And Strengthen The Heartroot Of Your Belonging
  • A Day-Trip To The Ocean In Tamarindo (Lunch In Tamarindo Not Included)
  • 3 Organic Healthy Meals Daily (Vegetarian Options Available)
  • Freshly Made Juices
  • Drum Circle
  • Walking The World’s Largest Labyrinth Daily & Repatterning The Sacred Imprint Of Your Heart, Body, & Mind
  • Daily Guided Meditations & Journaling Prompts
  • Walking the world’s largest labyrinth daily & repatterning the sacred imprint of your heart, body, & mind
  • A Griefing Container Created By You
  • Workshops In The Morning And Afternoon With Plenty Of Free-Time To Explore, Rest, And Relax
  • Farm-To-Table Organic Dinner With Hotel Cala Luna Chef (calaluna.com)
  • Our Own Alive Well Water
  • Monkey Visits
  • Lodging In Newly Constructed Bungalows With Private Bathroom And Outdoor Shower In The Middle Of The Jungle Surrounded By Nature

Pricing per person: 

Single: $1950 (limited availability)

Double: $1530

Triple (if enough interest): $1350

Airfare and transfers not included.


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