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Chronic Pain and Illness as a Wisdom Journey

Friday, July 28, 2017 - Sunday, July 30, 2017

Edgewood College - Madison, WI

July 28-30, 2017
Fri. 3 pm to Sun. 2 pm

Edgewood College
Madison, Wisconsin

$225 for commuters
$365 for double rooms
$485 for single rooms
(all rates include meals and materials)

Click to register now

Register by June 30th

Do you long for a group where you can be seen and known, where you will be inspired to ask yourself new questions and discern new pathways on your journey with chronic pain or illness?

If so, this Wisdom Journey retreat may be an answer to your longing.  As part of a group of 10-20 people, you will be gently led by two facilitators who have been prepared by the Center for Courage and Renewal. The retreat will begin with personal and group reflection, using poetry and metaphor, on how you are shaping and being shaped by the rich and varied experiences of your life. Using the Principles and Practices of a Circle of Trust approach, we will create trustworthy space for greater awareness, nurture our own and one another’s wholeness and summon the courage to act on hard earned wisdom.

This retreat is based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and focuses on using our inner wisdom to renew our lives even in the midst of challenging life situations.   The lovely natural environment of Edgewood will be available as a way to reconnect participants with their core values and what brings them meaning. We will use rich metaphors of nature, reflections on personal stories, poetry, and insights from various wisdom traditions to support our individual and collective journeys toward greater awareness of the doorways that are opening and closing along our life paths.

Some of the key ‘touchstones’ or guiding principles of this process include:

  • Honest and Open questions are questions that aren’t veiled advice or that don’t have a desired answer.  A good question can unlock insight and awareness in a way that pat answers and well intentioned counsel could never do.
  • An appreciation of paradox leads us to understand that our experience is seldom all or nothing, this or that. When we cultivate a “both-and,” perspective, we can find nourishing ways to live with the paradox in our lives.
  • Everyone has an inner teacher. Often our most profound wisdom is from within; space and time helps us recover our deepest way of knowing ourselves.
  • A ‘hidden wholeness’ underlies our lives. Our lives can become fragmented and divided for countless reasons. We are at peace and experience deep joy when heart, mind, body and soul are aligned.

Our time together will be structured and spacious. By intention, you will have ample opportunity for personal reflection and relaxation, time alone but in community, time interacting and engaging with others in the group.



Photo by JamesJen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Meet Your Facilitators

Barbara HummelAfter a 20-year consulting practice, Barbara Hummel is semi-retired, choosing to continue offering one-on-one leadership coaching and facilitating Courage retreats. Since 2002 she has co-facilitated both Courage to Teach® and Courage to Lead® retreats, largely in the Midwest.  Prior work included serving as executive director of a business network as well as a decade of partnering with people to enable them to live as fully and independently as possible. Barb has a master’s degree in counseling and lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rebecca Zambrano has been teaching and learning from students of all ages– from pre-K through graduate school—for the past 25 years.  In addition to teaching, she has been recognized for outstanding contributions to educational and social justice advocacy with youth and families. She has been incorporating the principles and practices of Courage to Teach® in educational settings for the past 15 years, and leading efforts to create more mindful, integral approaches to teaching and learning. She finds meaning in the daily work of asking questions that call forth the inner wisdom of her students, colleagues and friends.
Courage and renewal work has transformed all aspects of Rebecca’s life, including her personal journey with chronic pain and illness.

About Our Venue

Edgewood College is a Catholic College in the Dominican Tradition.  We will be nourished by the beautiful grounds of Edgewood, nestled beside Lake Wingra in Madison, Wisconsin.  Sacred Native American burial mounds are found on the grounds. Lakeside paths lead to boardwalks and quiet places for reflection and renewal.

Registration, Fees, and Other Info

Cost: $225 for commuters. $365 for double rooms. $485 for single rooms. Please note, the cost includes Friday dinner, Saturday all meals, Sunday breakfast and lunch, and retreat materials.

Registration: Please email Rebecca Zambrano at to register.

Participation:  The retreat will be limited to 20 individuals.

Physical Requirements and Considerations for Wisdom Journey Retreat Participants:   Group sessions will include extended periods of sitting.  All aspects of the retreat are invitational, so participants are welcome to stand, move or change positions to support their comfort and well-being.  Participants may choose to skip a session to attend to their needs as they choose, as all portions of the retreat are by invitation.

The dorms where we sleep are about a city block away from our meeting room and dining area.

Participants will be invited (but not required) to walk on the lovely grounds of Edgewood College during portions of the retreat.

There is a wheel chair accessible elevator leading to our meeting room, accessible bathrooms and accessible dorm rooms at your request.

Please feel free to contact us with other questions regarding physical requirements as they relate to the retreat schedule and location.

Questions about this retreat?  Please contact….

Rebecca Zambrano at

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