Jan Phillips doesn’t organize run-of-the-mill retreats. The Beyond Belief: Self-Realization as a Spiritual Practice retreat at The Mariandale Center this June 16-21, with Ms. Phillips as the presenter, will facilitate an experience of connecting with and honoring one’s spiritual power.

“My specialty is to create circles for people who want to go deeper into the probing questions of their spirituality, creativity, and impact in the world,” Ms. Phillips says. “This retreat addresses personal consciousness.”

Through creative exercises, poetry, storytelling, and video, retreatants will connect with God unfolding through them. Ms. Phillips describes the experience as “upgrading our operating systems and de-installing the corrupt software that we all inherited as children.”

“When we’re innocent and vulnerable as children, most of the adults in our lives tell us a big story about religion. People settle for that,” she says. “What we’re doing is recreating God and imaging divinity in whole new ways that are much more accessible. On this retreat, we’re celebrating the imminent divine more than the transcendent divine.”

The clincher is that an “imminent divine” is existent within each of us. God is in those of us who already have a spiritual practice, those who yearn for more from their lives, those who commit to inspired activism, those who are ready to not only search spiritually, but to actually find.

The days of the retreat begin in silence. The mornings will incorporate a creative work (video, poem, music, etc.) and evolve into sharing, either in groups or one-on-one. In the afternoons, there will be downtime to explore the grounds, swim, or reflect away from the group.

“People shouldn’t come if they’re not ready for a big change in their sense of self and their sense of the divine,” Ms. Phillips says. “It’s a retreat for people who are ready to move more toward the mystics and the prophets we were born to be.”

All are welcome on the retreat, and Ms. Phillips hopes for a diversity in ages and backgrounds, as well as a mix of introverts and extroverts. Whoever attends, she says, the room will be “perfect.”

“You don’t have to look upward or outward to be in communion with the divine mystery,” Ms. Phillips continues. “People will walk away with a sense that the Divine Force is within them.”


Jan Phillips is a writer, photographer and activist who connects the dots between evolutionary creativity, spiritual intelligence and social action. She is the author of ten award-winning books on creativity, spirituality and thought leadership. She has three CDs of original music and a YouTube channel of videos she has produced. She is founder and director of the Loving-kindness Foundation and is responsible for the construction of the Livingkindness Learning Centre in Kaduna, Nigeria. Jan has performed with Pete Seeger, taught with Jane Goodall, worked for Mother Teresa, and sung to Gladys Knight. Her presentations incorporate science, humor, research and the arts, keeping the brain and heart connected and engaged.

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