Awakening the Heart to the Other: Practices of Beauty and Compassion

“What is most fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”
– Lupita Nyong’o

As public discourse becomes more troubling, many thirst for ways to nourish their capacity to remain open to the beauty of all beings and to respond to suffering and injustice with courage and care. This retreat will explore heart-centered practices that nourish our ability to dwell in beauty and to sustain radical compassion with greater peacefulness and creativity. Different models for compassion practice, one drawn from Buddhist and one from Christian sources, will be offered together with practices for enhancing our capacity to awake to the beauty around us. The retreat will intersperse periods of guided meditations and group discussions with silent periods for individual rest, walking, journaling, labyrinth walk, art. In the evenings, we will have time for chant or song, worship, or contemplative movement.

The retreat is appropriate for people who interested in spiritual direction, people who are weary from working on the front lines, religious exiles, activists, pastors, trans-religious and deeply Christian – all are welcome.

Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM to Thursday, July 20 at 11:00 AM
Susanna Baird Retreat Center at San Francisco Theological Seminary

Retreat Fee (includes program, materials, meals):
Early Bird (before April 1 registration): $490.00
Regular Registration (after April 1): $550.00

Up to four nights lodging in Baird Hall:
Single Room: $360.00
Shared Room: $200.00

Wendy Farley, Professor and Director of Christian Spirituality at SFTS. Dr. Farley taught theology and ethics for 28 years at Emory University before coming to SFTS and has led a number of retreats focusing on heart opening practices. She has written extensively in the areas of Christian theology and spirituality.

Brooke Lavelle is the Co-Founder and President of the Courage of Care Coalition and Senior Education Consultation at Mind and Life Organization. She holds a PhD from Emory University in Religious Studies and Cognitive Psychology. She has been lead instructor in studies of Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT), which she adapted for school children and adolescents in foster care. She has also taught yoga and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and is a consultant at the Center for Compassion and Altruism research and Education at Stanford University. She is a sought after retreat and workshop leader in the United States and abroad.

This retreat provides credit toward the SFTS Diploma or Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Please contact Wendy Farley at if you’d like to utilize this option.