Our Story

 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

 Howard Thurman

We met in the mountains of Alajuela, Costa Rica in 2018 at a forest therapy training intensive. After the training ended, we took a drive up the Irazu volcano and we have been adventuring together ever since. We’ve co-facilitated trainings and retreats all over Manuela’s home of Costa Rica, as well as in British Columbia, Oregon, Chicago, Minnesota, Northern California and Ben’s home of Los Angeles. After working together for so many years, we realized that we are not only incredibly compatible co-facilitators but also the best of friends. Thinking back on it, perhaps that was actually what made us such good colleagues in the first place.

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.

About Us

 

Manuela Siegfried

Manuela Siegfried

(bio by Ben)

Manuela is among the most extraordinary people I have ever met in my entire life. She is far too humble to ever admit it, but she is brilliant, dedicated, compassionate, gentle, wise and most of all, genuinely selfless. I believe the service she was incarnated to provide is exactly what she brings to the retreat space: an ability to shine the light of her heart into the darkest corners of the human experience in such a way that reveals the beauty of being fully alive. Manuela inspires me to be fearless and open my heart wider every time we hang out and even though I mentored her in Forest Therapy, she has been one of my greatest teachers in the practice of kindness. She is constantly exploring new practices in the most fearless fashion, from Wim Hof, to drum circle facilitation to breathwork, in the search of her own understanding of what it means to be alive. Manuela loves dogs, adventures, rescuing baby squirrels who fall out of trees, blindfolded dinners, swimming, her friends and family, and perhaps most of all, the spirit of the land and sea, the mysterious lifeforce this planet that we are a part of. 

Manuela Siegfried is trained in forest therapy, sound healing, percussion circles and is an Add Heart facilitator at the Heart Math Institute. She worked for many years in the tourism field and has a degree in Hotel Administration.
Her deep heart centered relationship with nature has supported her throughout her life, and she is convinced that there is a great need to support people to remember their own relationship with nature for the well-being of not only humans but also the planet.

Ben Page

Ben Page

(bio written by Manuela)

Who is Ben Page? This is a difficult question to answer succinctly because he is so many things. He is deep and complex and is one of the most amazing human beings, a rare combination of an extraordinary mind and a tender heart. Ben is wonderfully eloquent when he shares his ideas and effortlessly captures the attention of those who listen. Challenging the status quo is part of his nature and in doing so, he supports people in their growth in ways I had never seen before. He is probably the best listener I have ever encountered and through that listening, he makes it safe enough for people to be brave in their own vulnerability. Despite his depth, he can be funny and silly and brings an ease and lightness that makes it easy to smile and fall in love with life. Ben loves cats, adventures, and music; he is now exploring a new passion of DJ’ing as a modality for supporting people in somatic awakening and rediscovering the joy of life. His heart and deep reverence for this planet has taught me patiently what it means to love unconditionally, and this has cracked my own heart open time and again.

Ben Page is a Forest Therapy Guide, council carrier, DJ, creator of Story Weaving and the author of Healing Trees: A Pocket Guide to Forest Bathing, The Wild Garden and The World In My Pocket. His work focuses on the philosophical ethic of non-striving and self-love as a gateway to inner peace and compassionate action. Ben holds a B.A. in religious studies from Carleton College and an M.A. in human development and social change from Pacific Oaks College.

“There are no prescriptive solutions, no grand designs for grand problems. Life’s solutions lie in minute particulars involving more and more individual people doing to create their own life and art, daring to listen to the voice within their deepest original nature, and deeper still, the voice within the earth.”

– Stephen Nachmanovitch

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Ginkgo Retreats

Nature wellness and forest bathing therapy retreats in Costa Rica and Oregon. Healing therapies, awakening and restoration retreats in amazing locations.