GINKGO HEART RETREATS
experience the rapture of feeling alive
Forest Bathing and Nature Healing Wellness Retreats in Costa Rica and Oregon
Ginkgo Heart Retreats are all about the rapture of feeling alive. It is a sensation that emanates from the heart and ripples through every cell in our bodies. It is a phenomenon of awakening, belonging, and uncritical love that weaves us into the world and invites the world to know us as our most vulnerable, true selves. When we learn to live in the rapture of feeling alive, we relinquish the tension of wishing we were someone else and come home to the essence of who we are in the absolute glory of our belongingness. It is in this homecoming that we discover the immense gift that we bring to the world and the conviction that is our sacred responsibility to share it.
What are Ginkgo Heart Retreats?
Ginkgo Heart Retreats are holistic healing journeys in stunning natural settings. In 2024 we have chosen spectacular locations to hold our retreats: Oregon and Costa Rica. The retreats we have designed are based on the heart’s intelligence and tap into our inherent capacity for transformation and healing with the support of nature. Ginkgo Heart Retreats are also thought to tend to wellness and well-being, allowing enough spaciousness to rest and relax and by doing that heal the mind, body and spirit.
What will we do on the retreats?
By listening deeply to our hearts and nature´s wisdom, we tap into a space of compassion, gentleness and freedom, that will unlock our potential for growth and authenticity to become a better version of ourselves.
On our retreats we will be working with different modalities like forest bathing, sound healing, drum circles, story weaving, council and deep listening, as well as journaling and expressive arts in nature, among others, to really open the hearts and the connection to nature and ourselves.
Who are these retreats for?
Anyone who is looking for reconnecting with the heart’s innate wisdom and intelligence. Anyone seeking for relaxation and connection. With themselves, others and nature. No previous experience required. We believe that every single being has its unique beautiful wisdom and we will build on that to learn from and support each other on our individual journeys.
Join us on a journey of reclaiming our belongingness, remembering our aliveness and reconnecting to the wild magic of the wonder-filled nature retreats in Oregon or Costa Rica.
How do these retreats support people in the long term?
Ginkgo Heart Retreats are intentionally designed to be transformative experiences that last. All too often, people go on retreats and accomplish incredible growth and healing, only to have it fade in the months afterwards. To support an enduring process, we have created a set of processes that prepare you in the months before your retreat and also carry your journey forward once the retreat has concluded and you return home.
Before the Retreat
In preparation, we offer a series of calls that invite you to begin telling your story. This process of speaking your story into reality establishes the pathways you will walk during our time together and grounds the direction of your journey. Additionally, we will mail you a personalized hand-decorated journal in which you will begin a deeper process of self-examination and reflection.
After the Retreat
After the retreat is over, you will continue to work through the remainder of your journal in a process of integration and be invited to attend calls throughout the year to check in with the facilitators and others who have taken this journey. By staying connected to this community of healing, growth and transformation, your experience will not end when the retreat is over, and will instead continue to deepen for as long as your desire it to
Ben Page and Manuela Siegfried
We founded Ginkgo Heart Retreats because we saw that what people needed, more than anything, was a place to remember that they belong. In reconnecting people to their own bodies and to the enmeshed reality of belonging to the Earth, we found that something magical was possible: for people to find a sacred gift deep within themselves. These gifts are not all the same, they are as unique as the people they live within. But they are all necessary, they are all critical and needed and deserving of honor. This is reflected back to us by the beings of the More Than Human World. Every being, every tree and rock and river, every animal and insect and bird, every cloud and star and gust of wind, even every grain of sand; it is all necessary, it all belongs and all deserving of honor.
Let us design a
custom retreat for you
Whether it’s for a corporate leadership retreat, a family reunion or a special occasion, we’re excited to design a custom retreat experience just for you.
Looking for a deeper meaning and purpose in your life?
Needing rest and a change of perspective?
Feeling lost and disconnected from yourself and nature?
Hoping to meet like-minded community?
Ready to tap into your inner wisdom and listen to your heart?
that retreats change the world at the pace of nature, slowly and gently. We see that in every person, there exists the potential for immense love, and that when an individual embodies this innate potential, the impact ripples far and wide. We’re dedicated to holding space for this awakening, remembering and reclaiming of our heart’s potential because we believe that kindness is a gift that benefits the giver as much as the receiver. Our work is to support individuals in finding pathways to express this kindness, first to themselves, and then to others and the more than human world as well.
Click on the icons below to learn more about the modalities we work with on our retreats
Experience forest bathing
“If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” -Alan Watts
Forest Bathing is a guided immersion in nature where we will slow down, connect to our sensate bodies and cultivate relationships with the beings of the More Than Human World. This practice not only benefits our physical health by lowering stress, boosting our innate immune systems and restoring our attention, but also supports us in opening our hearts to receive the wisdom and gifts of nature. In offering our attention to the beings of nature, we may come to witness ourselves and know, deep in our hearts, that we are of the Earth and that we belong.
Immerse in sound healing
“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein
Allow the vibration of different sound healing instruments, like handmade Tibetan bowls, gong, koshi, and drums relax your body and mind as they guide you into a deep inner journey. Sound vibrations penetrate deep into the tissue of the body, improving blood circulation and metabolism, regulating muscle tension and deeply stimulating the tissue. Some of the benefits of Sound Healing include less chronic pain, better sleep patterns, reduced anger and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as an overall sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
Practice story weaving
“We are the weavers, we are the woven ones. We are the dreamers, we are the dream.” – Lorna Kohler
Story Weaving is a community-building practice wherein people learn to harvest and incorporate the wisdom found in the stories of others. Story Weaving represents an interwoven inward and outward journey, connecting us more deeply to ourselves by helping us recognize our fundamental interconnectedness.
Join drum circles
“Whenever people gather to play the drum, the world is a better place.” – Babtunde Olatunji
Find your inner rhythm, trust your own beat. Drum circles are not about knowing how to drum; you don’t have to be a professional percussionist! It is about connecting to yourself, your natural inner rhythm and your heart, while also connecting to others in the circle and communicating beyond words to create unique, spontaneous music. Drumming is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve self-confidence, self-esteem and empowerment, and cultivate a sense of belonging within a community.
Share in the way of council
“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” – Maya Angelou
To speak our stories is to offer our medicine to the world and to listen deeply is perhaps the greatest act of love we can offer to another being. Council is a listening practice that invites us to listen from the heart and make space to simply receive without the need for response, judgment or agreement. It is a space of radical hospitality, where each person has a chance to share in a spontaneous, heartfelt way. Within this circle, there is no right or wrong; together, our stories come to represent a way of seeing the world beyond the limitations of our subjective perspectives.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky, conscious breathing is my anchor. ” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathwork brings together the Mind, Body and Heart. Remembering how to breathe has powerful effects on our overall wellbeing.
It nourishes our physical body by oxygenating our cells, promoting healing, and boosting our immune system. Simultaneously, it calms our minds, quieting the incessant chatter and allowing us to tap into a state of deep relaxation and peace.
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the heartbeat of the Universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell
The Heart coherence meditation is a simple, short and very effective way to bring heart and brain into coherence. It is an easy-to-learn and powerful tool that you can do anywhere. When we are in a coherent state, there is a sense of stillness and harmony. Benefits of this practice include improved decisión-making and clarity of thought, reduced stress levels and improved sleep quality.
Engage in Mirroring
“Nature often holds up a mirror, so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and transformation in our lives.” – Mary Ann Brussart
Nature holds all of life’s processes. Birth, death, change, resilience, strength, collaboration, competition, obstacles, flow, the list is endless. By holding the intention to witness ourselves mirrored in the processes of the natural world, we may become more attuned to our own natural cycles. Through this process, we cultivate a sense of self-love and self-acceptance, as well as foster a more holistic vision of who and what we fundamentally are.
Enjoy expressive arts in nature
“Beauty lies in nature and reveals, once the artist has perceived it, its own expressive power.” – Gustave Courbet
Create in partnership with nature, leaves, sticks, flowers, seeds, rocks, sand…. Create freely with no specific outcome in mind – without the burden of needing it to be a certain way. Perhaps one of the most ancient modalities, expressive arts has fostered healing through self-expression for thousands of years. Today, we understand that this practice can improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self esteem and self awareness, promote insight and cultivate emotional resilience.
Spend time Journaling
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth
Start writing, keep writing, don’t worry about style or making sense. Let it flow, let whatever is inside your heart and mind come out onto the paper. You might just be surprised by what emerges. Journaling has proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress, and help you with gaining clarity about your inner processes.
“Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood.” – Pablo Neruda
The three intentions of ceremony are intention, attention and attitude. In this aspect, everything can be a ceremony if we intend it to be. Ceremonies mark essential moments in our lives and create bonds of commitment we make with ourselves and with our communities. Whatever is done during a ceremony, be it poetry, a procession, something symbolic, becomes emotionally embedded and imprinted into our memories and our hearts. Ceremonies act as a threshold that allows us to move from one phase of our lives to the next with ease, grace and steadfast commitment.
“The Energy between Manuela and Ben is contagious– They hold a space for their participants that is open, Heartfelt, fluid, and harmonious. As seasoned Guides, they have finely honed their abilities to invite participants into the present moment, and into interconnection with all of the Life that surrounds us. It is Truly a relief to share a forest journey with Manuela and Ben; as they guide participants via the somatic and the sensory, in cooperation with the thriving World we live in.”
– Ryan Redmond
“I was privileged to spend nearly 5 full days with both, Ben and Manuela, at an ANFT immersion training, this summer in Buckhorn Springs, Oregon. Their welcoming and kind leadership as well as knowledge and expertise in Forest Bathing, guiding groups and responding to individual questions in a natural environment was remarkable. I especially appreciated the pace they established, how they allowed for participants to take in new information and their clever, creative responses to questions. As a team, they balanced responsibilities and presented information clearly and with heart. I will always remember the synergy they created together, the joy they expressed and the depth of knowledge they both hold. I would enthusiastically join them on future forest therapy walks, workshops and trainings. How lucky I feel to have chosen an immersion with them as the trainers and look forward to spending time with them on future forest therapy trainings.”
– Diane Doster
“Manuela and Ben as guides of Forest Therapy are such a lovely pair. They truly embody what it means to guide and allow the forest to be the therapist. I felt so safe to express my true authentic self and to explore the more-than-human-world when I was with them. I have never felt more seen than when I am in a space with them. I felt calm and able to let go of any idea of what I might have thought should happen because they allowed our time to be
carried by the wind and our hearts to be moved by the trees. I always feel that everything is truly as it should be when I am with them. They are vessels for which the Earth is able to spread her wisdom and healing power. I am so grateful to have shared our joy and love for the more-than-human-world together.”
– Jess Rodriguez
“Ben and Manuela facilitated a four-day forest bathing immersion in Buckhorn Springs, Oregon, catalyzing one of the most freeing experiences I’ve had in life. They complemented each other very well: two old souls, wise while young at heart. As a forest conservation practitioner, I found my time with them very healing and highly recommend a retreat with them for anyone curious. They tapped into their intimate connection with nature to co-create experiences with us and the more-than-human. I appreciated their creative use of language, games, song, and dance – often simple but potent. I was nourished at many levels: breaking away from the stresses of daily life, slowing down, speaking without fear of judgment, learning best practices for forest bathing, and connecting with nature on its own terms without threat.”
– Daphne Yin
“I am in awe of Ben and Manuela. Their skill in weaving a perfect container for our Forest Therapy Guide Immersion was beautiful to watch and magical to inhabit.
Over the course of four days, in a Guide’s masterclass in less-is-more, they curated an exploration of our individual and collective place in nature, allowing us to deepen our sense of kinship and community.”
– Miles Batchelder, Olympic Forest Bathing
“My experience with Ben and Manuela was life changing. They create an atmosphere that nourishes your spirit and encourages positive well-being. By incorporating gratitude for the natural world, mindfulness, and a sense of community, they help you to feel a deeper connection to all living beings and to yourself. The experience is a powerful one and leaves you feeling loved, seen, heard, and understood. It’s truly a journey of discovery and one I highly recommend!”
– Jeanne Bonanno
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Nature wellness and forest bathing therapy retreats in Costa Rica and Oregon. Healing therapies, awakening and restoration retreats in amazing locations.