Rocky Mountain

Ecodharma Retreat Center

A Home for Meditation in Nature

RMERC Updates – November 2020

This year has been extraordinarily challenging for everyone, so we are pleased to send you this update on how RMERC is doing today: what’s been accomplished so far, what has happened this year, and our plans for 2021.
 
It’s hard to believe that the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center began just three and a half years ago: the property (a lodge, cabin, and barn, with 180 acres of pristine forest, wildflower-filled meadows, rocky crags, and a babbling creek) was purchased in June 2017. So much has happened since then! Because the lodge was built in 1939, and largely neglected since the 1970s, many renovations have been needed to make it a home for meditation retreats. So we’ve been busy, installing the following systems:

  • all new electric wiring and plumbing, including bathrooms and showers, kitchen and kitchen equipment
  • a complete solar PV system with 8 solar panels and a backup generator for mountain power outages
  • new insulation and air-source heat pumps (there was no heating system before!)
  • two wells, two cisterns, and a larger septic system to meet code
  • a new roof for the lodge (the barn also has a new roof, with the help of a Boulder County matching grant)
  • carpets in rooms and hallways on the upper floors (to reduce noise)
  • renovated first-floor doors and windows for better thermal efficiency
  • the first-floor living room refurbished into a Dharma Hall for meditation and teachings

In addition, lots of work has been done on the land: making and improving trails, removing fallen trees, invasive weeds and accumulated brush (for fire mitigation). This summer the old bridge over the creek, which had become rickety and unstable, was replaced.

New bridge at RMERC! Over St. Vrain Creek
New bridge constructed in summer of 2020. Thanks to our volunteers!

All of this has been possible only because of your love and support, and that of many other people who share the commitment to Ecodharma and nature retreat practice. In addition to many volunteers who have contributed countless hours helping on projects large and small, contributors have donated a total of $810,084. Due to the generosity of the seller, we were able to purchase the property for only … $375,000! The remainder of your donations have gone toward renovations. We still owe $180,000 on the mortgage. 

Ecodharma Leaders at RMERC, 2019
Dharma leaders at the first Front Range Ecodharma Retreat (August 2019).

RMERC in 2019

In 2019 RMERC welcomed over 600 practitioners attending 28 retreats, and the totals for 2018 were about the same.  There were special retreats for women, and two gatherings for local Dharma leaders, to promote the development of a Front Range inter-sangha Ecodharma community. Because of our facilities, the beautiful and accessible location (just 30 minutes from north Boulder), and inexpensive rates (we are a nonprofit, keeping expenses at a minimum), RMERC has become very popular as a retreat venue. Regrettably, we are already unable to accommodate all the teachers and groups that would like to use our facilities: this year the retreat schedule was full, with all weekends and most weekdays reserved. And then Covid happened…  

Buddha in a windstorm
Tree toppled in windstorm misses the lodge and Buddha, sitting serene in the midst of the storm.

RMERC in 2020

Needless to say, our activities this year were much affected by the Covid pandemic. We were forced to cancel almost the entire season. Online Ecodharma retreats in April and October were led by teachers on the RMERC Board, and in the summer we were able to offer a few camping-only retreats with a limited number of people, which were very successful and much appreciated. The land was opened up for Covid-safe hiking, using a reservation system for trails that enabled hundreds of people to enjoy them.

Unfortunately, retreats for women, and a special retreat for women of color and LGBTQIA communities, were among the events that had to be canceled this year. Our support for such events is part of a larger concern to cultivate relationships that will help make RMERC available and attractive to all who wish to attend. We are pleased that, from the beginning, partial or full scholarships have been provided for those who need them, with particular attention to people of color and economically disadvantaged people. (Special thanks to the Lenz Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund for their financial contributions to these scholarship funds.)

Recognizing that ecological concerns cannot be separated from racial, economic, and other social justice issues, we are committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive organization, and we are working to become more aware of our own blind spots. The shocking murder of several Black men and women this summer has deepened our concern to address the connection between ecological crisis and other systems of oppression. To support these efforts, the men on the RMERC Board have been engaged in diversity training and group discussions examining the pernicious influence of white privilege and patriarchy. The Board is also in the process of writing a mission statement that will clarify and formalize this commitment to diversity, equity, and justice at all levels of RMERC operation. We remain open to questions and suggestions, especially from Black, indigenous and other people of color, and other marginalized people, on how to better serve their needs.

In addition to these social challenges, there have been some unexpected physical ones. In the spring a large branch broke off a tree and damaged the northeast corner of the lodge (it was repaired). In September a windstorm brought down the whole tree, but fortunately it fell just north of the lodge, its branches only brushing the stone Buddha that graces the lodge entrance (see photo). In October, the Calwood wildfire north of Jamestown caused a brief evacuation order, but the fire did not spread in our direction and was soon contained.

Buddha statue

RMERC in 2021

Although the retreat schedule for next year was initially decided in March 2020, right now we don’t know what will be possible. If reliable vaccines become available soon enough, it might become feasible to open up the lodge in the fall of 2021, but it looks very likely that some if not all retreats will need to be camping-only (except for retreat staff socially-distancing in the lodge). Of course, not all retreat leaders will be comfortable with that alternative, so we are in the process of communicating with them and helping them decide what to do and how to do it.

Thank you for reading this update, and thank you for your continuing support, because it is you and people like you that make the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center possible. We wish you and your loved ones good health, ease, and peace in the coming year. And we hope to see you at RMERC sometime!

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2024 Retreats

Beginner / Beginner’s Mind Silent Meditation Retreat

With Upasaka Upali and Nicoya Helm (Assistant)

May 2 – 5, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
If you have a meditation practice and have wanted to attend a meditation retreat, this long weekend is an excellent fit for first-time retreat goers. It is also open to anyone wanting time to unplug, enjoy Noble Silence, and deepen their meditation practice. The schedule is devoted almost entirely to silent meditation, but there is also time for hiking, one-on-one teacher support from Upali, and Dharma talks in the evenings. All levels of practice experience are welcome. Upali will teach most readily from a Pragmatic Dharma perspective, utilizing his formal training in Shamatha-Vipassana to teach meditative techniques. He also teaches…

SMS Awakening Activism: A Dharma Response to Gaza RETREAT CANCELED

With Thanissara, Elaine Yeh, Djuna Devereaux and Yong Oh

May 6 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Sacred Mountain Sangha in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Amidst the stark realities of our times, the need for a more resilient, transparent, engaged, and collaborative Dharma culture has been illuminated by the destruction of Gaza. This retreat emerges as a response to this need as a contribution toward its realization. Inspired by the interventions of the Buddha to stop wars and the courageous stands of spiritual movements against political injustices throughout history, we recognize a moral imperative to act and to resist the descent into chaos and the normalization of mass atrocities and extreme violence.cultivate mindful engagement guided by…

Healing, Belonging and Kinning: An Ecodharma Retreat

With Kritee (Kanko), Imtiaz Rangwala and Bianca Acosta

May 14 – 19, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
 Join us at the stunningly pristine and healing Rocky Mountain Ecodharma retreat center for a retreat designed for empowering anyone who cares about the healing and belonging in these wild times of polycrisis (climate, genocidal wars, xenophobia, pollution, rise of fascism and mental health crisis). You could be a community organizer, healer, educator, activist, artist, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working. Through silent meditation, movement/yoga, guided dialogue, a deep grief and rage ceremony, an extended “Solo” time in nature, small affinity group work, and dharma talks by the teachers we will explore how we can deepen our love for…

The Ecology of Self

With Blake Hestir, Sarah Sampson, “Choke” and Alex Julie

May 20 – 25, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
The Ecology of Self is a 6-day, 5-night adventure into deepening our relationship with Mother Earth. Our stories of separation from the Earth and each other are the seeds of the global challenges we face. Together we delve into the dynamic interdependence of self, community, and the living land, framed within a larger conversation about regenerative sustainability, equity, and well-being. Along our journey, we build community, practice nature-centered meditation, explore embodiment practices, enjoy tea ritual and expressive arts, and engage in vibrant discussion. Creating a strong culture of belonging and inclusivity is a crucial part of promoting individual and planetary…

Embracing Eco Dharma as A New Saint

With Lama Rod Owens, Reggie Hubbard, Rashid Hughes and Bhava Jaya

May 25 – 31, 2024
Cal-Wood Retreat Center
In this retreat we will explore themes around climate anxiety, the harm of individual and collective narcissism, connecting to the awakened consciousness of the earth as well as the sky, and developing renewed visions for climate change organizing and activism based on the recognition that all systems of violence intersect with climate change work. We will be relying on Lama Rod’s newest book, The New Saints, along with ancient Buddhist based practices, including mindfulness and tantra, and body-based practices to deepen our understanding of our body’s connection to the earth. This retreat is open to anyone regardless of practice experience.…

Awake in the Wild – Cultivating Awareness, Wisdom and Love in Nature

With Mark Coleman

May 26 – June 1, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Like the Buddha, people for millennia have sought refuge, clarity and wisdom in nature. In this silent, fully outdoor nature retreat, you will meditate in the serenity and beauty of mountains and meadows, while cultivating potent yet accessible sensory awareness practices that open you to insight, interconnection and well-being. This nature immersion provide the perfect antidote to our busy, digital and stressed lives. During the retreat, you will cultivate a receptive, embodied quality of mindful attention. This awareness supports learning from nature’s wisdom teachings on change, letting go, equanimity and sensing intimately ones inter-connection with all life. You will also…

Finding our True Nature in Nature

With Jon Aaron and Ben Connelly

June 3 – 9, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Within the beautiful surroundings of RMERC, and with the power of meditating in nature, we may discover our true nature. Let us cultivate a joy that supports facing the uncertainties of this world and the arising of appropriate response. This retreat brings together different traditions of Buddhist practice, integrating Insight and early Mahayana practices by drawing deeply from Yogacara’s Three Natures teachings. Held by the mountains, forest, and stream, supported by the container of noble silence, we will spend most of our time outside in the meadows and forests of the center.

Natural Awareness and Wisdom:Exploring Mindfulness in Nature

With Dave Smith

June 10 – 17, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
During this retreat we will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness with an emphasis on developing continuity of wise awareness as taught by Burmese master Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Instructions will emphasize the Buddha’s teachings on view, attitude and qualities of mind that support a relaxed and alert awareness throughout all activities. Through the development of a sustained and kind awareness we come to meet ourselves and the world with presence, ease and wisdom, naturally establishing the clear seeing and collectedness of mind that are the hallmarks of liberating insight. The retreat will be conducted in noble silence and will follow…

Belonging to Each Other: Falling in Love with Mother Earth Together – An Ecodharma Retreat for People of Color

With Kritee (Kanko), Kaira Jewel Lingo, Imtiaz Rangwala, Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Bianca Acosta and Asia Whitlock

June 18 – 23, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Join us at the stunningly pristine and healing Rocky Mountain Ecodharma retreat center for a retreat designed for empowering anyone who cares about the healing and belonging in these wild times of polycrisis (climate, genocidal wars, xenophobia, pollution, rise of fascism and mental health crisis). You could be a community organizer, healer, educator, activist, artist, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working on climate and social justice. Through silent meditation, movement/yoga, guided dialogue, a deep grief and rage ceremony, an extended “Solo” time in nature, small affinity group work, and dharma talks by the teachers we will explore how we…

Meditation, Embodiment and Awakening in Nature

With Peter Williams and Carla Brennan

June 24 – 30, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
This retreat explores the rejuvenating power of deep connection with nature through meditation. When we connect with the simplicity of our senses in outdoor meditation, our minds get quiet and we marvel at the ordinary wonders around us – the spray of colors in a field of mountain flowers, a dewdrop on the tip of an aspen leaf, clouds scudding across the high peaks. Practicing in nature connects us with our care for the world. As a group, we will explore our gratitude for the natural world, our grief for our impact on it, and how to make engaging with…

Pachamama Medicina: An Ecodharma Retreat for Indigenous-descendant Womxn

With Bianca Acosta, Andrea Valeska and Kritee (Kanko)

July 3 – 7, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
In Indigenous cosmology, womxn are at the center of the healing of people and land. By healing the womxn, we heal families, communities and our sacred lands.  This four day retreat for womxn descendants of indigenous peoples will provide space for participants to gather, share and practice Earth-based ancestral ways of healing. The leaders of this retreat believe in Land rematriation as a powerful way to heal our hearts and land from centuries of colonization. They view rematriation as a return to our Mother Earth, a restoration of symbiotic balance among all living things, and a return to Indigenous ways…

Exploring Ecodharma: a Deep Experience in Nature

With Johann Robbins, David Loy, Rochelle Calvert and Cornelia Santschi

July 19 – 28, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $105.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 4, 2024.
This ten day retreat is a deep dive into being, in nature, abiding silently, joining inner nature with outer nature, and dissolving separation. Each day includes plentiful time for sitting, hiking/walking meditation, as well as meditation instruction, dharma talks, and small group ecodharma exploration. There will be a two night solo opportunity during the retreat, which is an incredible highlight. The overall intention is for deep silence, practice, and the joy and healing that comes with a profound connection with nature. This will be supported by instruction in a variety of nature meditation practices. There will be nightly campfire dharma…

NEW!! Transformation in Nature: a Supported Solo Retreat

With Johann Robbins and Cornelia Santschi

July 30 – August 3, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $45.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 8, 2024.
If you have been wanting to do a longer solo retreat in nature, but were daunted by the logistics, or uncertain about how to spend your time or what to bring, this retreat makes all of that simple. Solo nature practice is an incredibly powerful way to realize who we truly are, to touch into being, and the reality of non-separation that brings. When we hang out in a beautiful spot for days, being aware, peaceful, and still, this calms and reassures the wildlife that usually try and avoid humans, and they come and visit, sometimes for hours. This opens…

Nonduality in Nature: The Direct Path of Beauty and Love

With Johann Robbins and Caverly Morgan

August 4 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $70.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until May 20, 2024.
Our true being is awareness and love. This peace and happiness, which we all long for, underlies the ceaseless striving of the limited sense of self, or ego. Being in nature allows us to easily relax, and come into presence with the beauty around us, and the appreciation, gratitude and love that arises in response. Being in the mountains in the soft gentle time of high summer, with green meadows, alive forests, abundant wildflowers, high peaks adorned with snowy caps, the running creek, and all the birds, moose, deer, elk, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and others, is an ideal place and…

Touching the Earth

With Susie Harrington and Denise Ackert

August 12 – 19, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Do you long to embody the ease, freedom, and aliveness that is your true home? To do so, the Buddha implored us to “go to the forest, to the foot of a tree” as an onward leading condition for awakening to our true nature. In this home of spruce forests, alpine meadows, birdsong, and wandering moose, we practice immersed in the natural world. And we explore opening ourselves to the beauty, inter-connectedness, and preciousness of our true nature. During this retreat, we’ll be encouraged to look out and around, as well as inward, and to delight in what we see.…

Deepen Your Connection to the Web of Life

With Rochelle Calvert and Piero Falci

August 20 – 25, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $50.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 5, 2024.
Gain a profound understanding of your inner connection to the natural world through insightful dharma teachings, immersive nature experiences and heartfelt reflective inquiry. This is an opportunity to explore the understanding of deep ecology, foster a sense of reverence for the Earth and empower yourself to become an active participant in its healing and preservation. Through the profound power of nature-centered mindfulness and somatic healing this retreat is designed to awaken vitality with life and rekindle your connection to the world around you. Through a harmonious blend of guided practices, mindful explorations of nature, and gentle somatic healing techniques, you…

Gratitude, Joy and Deep Belonging

With Peter Williams and Dave Smith

August 26 – September 1, 2024
Book now and get $65.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 11, 2024.
This retreat emphasizes the ability of meditation in nature to ease the mind into silence, happiness, and deep belonging. With much of the retreat happening outdoors, participants will become aware of all their senses and learn to appreciate the simple joys the earth is always offering. Gratitude becomes a natural state of mind. As practice deepens, one will gain insight into the fundamental truths, such as impermanence and interdependence, that lead to inner peace. The retreat will be held in silence with periods of sitting and walking meditation, movement practices, as well as mindful hiking on the stunning land of…

Deepening Your Practice: A Meditation Retreat for Experienced Practitioners

With David Chernikoff

September 2 – 8, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $60.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 18, 2024.
This retreat is for those who want to deepen their practice and to listen to what the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah called “the one who knows.” Ultimately, spiritual maturation involves learning to trust our own inner guidance and resting in the felt realization that we already have what we seek and we already are what we wish to become. In a caring, supportive environment, we’ll practice sitting and walking meditation in silence. There will be dharma talks on the retreat theme as well as guided meditations and some interactive exercises that highlight the transformative power of the teachings. This retreat is designed for…

SoulFire Murmuration

With Carol Kortsch and Jade Sherer

September 11 – 15, 2024
Rocky Mountain Eco-dharma Retreat Center
Book now and get $45.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jun 27, 2024.
This retreat is intentionally intergenerational for all women who identify with the Earth community and are open to exploring your true essence through your connection with Mother Nature.  We are calling you personally back to the circle.  We welcome all those who have attended our SoulFire gatherings or other nature-based retreats and who long for more opportunity to listen deeply. We intend to create a murmuration in our unity, growing our individual and collective strength.  Thus, discovering an emergent wisdom so needed in the world.  Studies of murmuration have shown that a single starling responds to seven of its closest…

Cultivating the Courageous Heart

With Jean Leonard and Sarah Heffron

September 17 – 22, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 3, 2024.
Daily we are faced with our growing vulnerability and the challenges of being alive in this complex world, as well as possibilities for transformation, personally and collectively.  More than ever, we are seeing our common humanity and how interdependent we are with each other and the more than human world. This is an opportunity to meet the moment, ourselves, and one another with care, clarity and compassion. Courage is described as “the ability to do something that frightens one” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.”   Cultivating the Brahma Viharas – the heart qualities of kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity – develops the…

Silence, Stillness and Concentration

With Barry Gillespie

September 23 – 29, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 9, 2024.
A traditional Theravada silent mindfulness retreat with emphasis on stillness, concentration and continuity of practice, leading participants to a spacious stillness of mind, a radiant calm. There will be regular seated and walking practice, daily meditation instruction, evening dharma talks, an optional daily gentle yoga class, individual practice meetings and time every day to hike/walk in the beautiful natural world surrounding the retreat center. All of the teachings will be based directly on the Buddha’s teachings found in the Pali Canon, in particular in the Satipatthana Sutta.

ArtLife – Awakening Original Creativity

With Jane Seaton

October 2 – 6, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
It is becoming ever more urgent to break free from the old paradigms strangling our world.  How are we each called to contribute, from our hearts and with our myriad skills, to no less than radically heal and evolve beyond this fractured reality?  Whether as contemplatives, healers, visionaries or social activists, our natural creative gifts support fulfilling our true life purpose. During this retreat, we’ll go on intuitively guided and sometimes marvelously surprising creative adventures. No prior art making experience is needed to engage with and be nourished by participating in this program. The kind of creativity that we will…

Zen and Ecodharma Retreat (Sesshin)

With Kritee (Kanko) and Imtiaz Rangwala

October 8 – 13, 2024
This silent retreat is for participants who want to learn about Zen tradition and deepen their surrender to the “Enlightened Mind”. Our sangha takes a trauma informed approach to healing, awakening and changemaking. As a result, at our retreats, we combine practices from the ancient tradition of Rinzai Zen with our current understanding of what individuals need to face and release our trauma. Each day will include indoor zazen (seated meditation), outdoor meditation (by trees, bonfire or flowing water), kinhin (group walking meditation), deep abdominal chanting, opportunities to share our experience with other participants, a talk at the interface of…

Deepening Kinship: Exploring the Intersections of Queerness, Ecology & Dharma

With Kirsten Rudestam, Emerson James and Jean Leonard

October 15 – 20, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $55.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Jul 31, 2024.
As practices, kinship and queer ecology can help us get in closer touch with the truth of who we truly are, as well as strengthen our inherent connection with the more-than-human world. In queer ecology, at the scale of the individual, to be queer is to be mutable; queerness signifies that which is unfixed and in a constant process of becoming. At the scale of the collective, queerness is relational, symbiotic and supportive.* In this retreat we apply these lenses of kinship and queer ecology to explore the paramitas, a set of 10 qualities or perfections of character, that, once…

The Body of Stars: Exploring Embodiment, Earth & Purpose through Astrology

With Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Renee Sills and Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish

October 24 – 27, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
PRIVATE RETREAT Exploring to Embodiment, Earth & Purpose through Astrology Astrology is a symbolic language that helps us attune with our intuition, open the gates of our imagination and live with a sense of inspiration, presence and purpose. As a model for complex systems thinking and mind-body coherence and integration that predates and underlies many forms of science and psychology, astrology goes far beyond the simplicity of “sun signs.” In this retreat, participants will explore astrology as a spiritual and contemplative method. We’ll engage with charts, signs and symbolism, to develop greater self and relational awareness; connect with our physical…

Awakening the Heart of Love; Walking the Path of the Bodhisattva

With Heidi Bourne and Laurie Cousins

November 5 – 10, 2024
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center (RMERC)
Book now and get $60.00 off listed prices. Offer valid until Aug 21, 2024.
The path of the Bodhisattva asks us to dedicate ourselves to the well-being of all sentient beings – to show up as best as we can for ourselves, each other, and the natural world with a quality of no-matter-whatness. It’s an impossible though necessary task. Drawing on the teachings of the Buddha, our retreat focuses on cultivating the capacity to skillfully navigate our everyday lives with a steady receptive mind and a courageous wise heart. Held in peaceful noble silence throughout the retreat, our practices include foundational and transformative guidance on lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Please join us as…

GREEN BARS SHOW EXISTING RESERVATIONS

NOTE: The first and last days of back-to-back bookings overlap by one day.

That is, you can check in the same day as another party is checking out, or you can check out the same day as another party is checking in. Check-out time is 11 AM, and check-in time is 1 PM (disregard times on the calendar).

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