Birth & Death Among Us

A WEEKEND RETREAT WITH STEPHEN JENKINSON & KIMBERLY ANN JOHNSON
MARCH 17–19, MT. MADONNA CENTER, WATSONVILLE, CA

Birth & Death Among Us

A WEEKEND RETREAT
WITH STEPHEN JENKINSON
& KIMBERLY ANN JOHNSON

MARCH 17–19,
MT. MADONNA, CA​

Being born and dying are storms.

They are bigger than us, and they are bigger than what we believe, they are deities of a kind. And it seems to me more than clear that they want to be held in some kind of regard, in their own right. And it seems to me that we should be learning their ways, instead of forming opinions about them. 

Being born and dying are storms, and they portion the gravitas of the times. 

– STEPHEN JENKINSON

Join us for the first ever in-person weekend gathering around the topics of Birth + Death with Kimberly Ann Johnson and Stephen Jenkinson at the beautiful Mt. Madonna Center in Northern California.

We will encounter unanswerable questions and make space for the remembering of something we may have never experienced.

If you feel called to wonder about culture making within orphaned traditions and your place in it all, this retreat might be a kind of landing place for you. This time together will make us more human.

"It's like punk rock for somatic conversations on all the things people are afraid to talk about."

Jill Carnay

Birth + Death seem to be where a lot of the torn fabric of the culture makes itself glaringly known.

Birth and Death are bookends of one single life, and yet are they to serve that singularity? Or are they to serve something much larger?

Is the relationship between the two only that they are these bookends or is there a deeper architecture that binds the two?

What do we owe the dead? What do we owe the unborn?

Birth and death are decent places to gather. If there is anything that is universal, they surely are.

My bestselling book is The Fourth Trimester. Stephen Jenkinson’s bestselling book is Die Wise.

I have worked in the birth trade as a doula, medical translator, and trauma educator.
Stephen worked in the death trade accompanying the dying time of thousands of people as well as being the former programme director in a major Canadian hospital and former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school. 

This in-person event is an attempt at eldering in action, of contending with what we are gifted to see.

Can we together, possibly put some pieces together? What does it mean to learn the ways of being born and dying? And how do we hold them in their own right, to reckon with these times?

Join us in-person, March 17–19 at Mt. Madonna. I would love to meet and see you there.

Let's contend with the Gods of Birth and Death, in-person.

The Details:

In-Person Event

Date & Time

Date: Friday, March 17 – Sunday, March 19

Arrival: Friday between 3 and 5pm

Closing: Sunday at noon

Sign Up Below

Please choose from the housing options below.

The prices include accommodation + meals + teaching fee, and exclude your travel cost.

Rooms are in hotel-style buildings (no phones or TVs in rooms, however). Some rooms include a private bathroom with shower. Others have access to nearby shared (but private while in use) bathrooms and showers.

Cabins are in a lovely grove of oak trees and have electricity and heat, but no plumbing. A separate restroom with flush toilets and private shower rooms is nearby. The cabins are a 12-minute walk up the hill above the lake.
If this sounds too rustic for you, please consider asking for a room.

*We do not offer refunds, but you are welcome to find replacement for your spot.

SINGLE ROOM WITH PRIVATE ENSUITE BATHROOM

SOLD OUT

DOUBLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATHROOM NEARBY

$620

CABIN (DOUBLE OCCUPANCY)
a lovely short hike up above the lake, no internet, heated bath house
nearby, 2 beds

$600

SINGLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATHROOM NEARBY

$730

TRIPLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATH

$570

COME WITH YOUR VAN

$380

DOUBLE ROOM WITH PRIVATE ENSUITE BATHROOM

$680

CABIN (PRIVATE OCCUPANCY)
a lovely short hike up above the lake, no internet, heated bath house
nearby

SOLD OUT

COMMUTER FEE

$340

SINGLE ROOM WITH PRIVATE ENSUITE BATHROOM

$840

SINGLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATHROOM NEARBY

$730

DOUBLE ROOM WITH PRIVATE ENSUITE BATHROOM

$680

DOUBLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATHROOM NEARBY

$620

TRIPLE ROOM WITH SHARED BATH

$570

CABIN (PRIVATE OCCUPANCY)
a lovely short hike up above the lake, no internet, heated bath house
nearby

$670

CABIN (DOUBLE OCCUPANCY)
a lovely short hike up above the lake, no internet, heated bath house
nearby, 2 beds

$600

COME WITH YOUR VAN OR TENT

$380

COMMUTER FEE

$340

Follow the payment link above to secure your spot!
We will follow up with you personally within a day for more details.

Email us for questions: chrisandra@gmail.com

Maybe death and birth are like land.
It’s inconceivable that they could belong to anyone.
Maybe they are not our own.
They are entrusted to us for safe keeping.
They should be in better shape when we surrender them than when we assume them.

About Stephen Jenkinson:

Stephen is a worker, author, storyteller, culture activist, and co-founder of the Orphan Wisdom School with his wife Nathalie Roy. The school is a teaching house for skills of deep living and making human culture that are mandatory in endangered, endangering times. He makes books, tends farm and mends broken handles and fences, succumbs to interviews, teaches and performs internationally.

He has Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work). 

Apprenticed to a master storyteller when a young man, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former program director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school.

Stephen Jenkinson is also the subject of the feature length documentary film Griefwalker, a portrait of his work with dying people, and Lost Nation Road, a shorter documentary on the crafting of the Nights of Grief and Mystery tours.

About Kimberly Ann Johnson

Kimberly Johnson is an author, postpartum care activist, trauma educator, structural bodyworker and mother. She graduated Valedictorian from Northwestern University with a BS in Social Policy (‘97).

She studied yoga directly with the three main lineage holders of the Krishnamacharya tradition- Desikachar, BKS Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois and taught yoga full time for 15 years, while also maintaining a Structural Integration practice.

When radically rearranged by childbirth, Kimberly’s life changed shape to attend to the cultural chasm of postpartum care, and as a result she trained in Somatic Experiencing and Sexological Bodywork to be able to help women heal from birth injuries, gynecological surgeries and sexual boundary violations.

She is the author of the recent Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power and Use it for Good published by the feminist imprint HarperWave as well as the early mothering classic, The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality (Shambhala, 2017).

Encounter unanswerable questions and become more human.