Through Poetry and Movement

with John Brehm & Alice Boyd

5pm August 11 – Noon August 14
Alton L. Collins Retreat Center
Eagle Creek, OR



How can we feel a sense of gratitude even in the midst of difficulties? What would it be like to experience gratitude not as an occasional, short-lived feeling but as our basic orientation toward life? As with everything, awareness is key. Without awareness, we remain locked in negative patterns and beliefs, consumed with our problems and immune to the blessings of life that are always right in front of us. Every new national outrage or personal setback knocks us into reactivity. But if we can bring the light of awareness to our most basic experience of life—to how we think, feel, and move—we can create the inner conditions that make gratitude more likely to arise. 


In this four-day retreat, we’ll explore three related practices—Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons, sitting meditation, and mindful poetry discussions—to cultivate a more balanced, embodied, and appreciative way of being in the world.


In this retreat, you’ll learn: 

—how to move with greater awareness and ease
—how to come more fully into the present moment 
—how to approach poetry as a spiritual practice
—how to deepen and savor positive experiences 
—and more 



In addition to our practice sessions, we’ll have ample free time for walking in the old growth forest that surrounds the center and for quiet reflection/integration. The food at Alton Collins is excellent—healthy, fresh, and delicious—and the staff goes above and beyond to accommodate all dietary restrictions and preferences. Meals are served family style, which allows us to get to know each other more and feel the sense of connection and community that makes these retreats so special.


No previous experience with poetry, meditation, or Feldenkrais is necessary.
Registration is limited to 14 participants.



Fees: (9 meals & 3 nights’ lodging):
– Single room $500
– Double room $400 per person

– Teacher fees are by donation



“A masterful combination of mindfulness practices and such a joy to have such camaraderie together.”
– Annette T.




Registration for this retreat is closed. Email to be added to the waitlist.

Cultivating Mindfulness…
In The Jungle!

Feb 7-12, 2020
Tailwind Jungle Lodge
near San Pancho (San Francisco), Mexico



John and I are SO excited to announce that we have – at long last – found what we think will be the ideal winter location for our mindfulness retreat: Tailwind Jungle Lodge


Tailwind has everything we hoped for in a retreat center: beautiful natural setting, warm weather in winter, great location (fly into Puerta Vallarta), perfect size (limited to 16), consciously built and managed, very reasonably priced, lots of optional activities to participate in—sea kayaking, surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, hiking, etc. 


We’re estimating that the cost for room and board for five nights will range from $450 – $750 (depending on the room). This includes three meals a day. As you can see on the website, there is a variety of room configurations and we’re expecting that most will be shared. As with past retreats, our teaching fees will be by donation (Dāna).


The theme of this retreat will be Cultivating Mindfulness and will draw on Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® Lessons, sitting and walking meditation, and mindful poetry discussions. And there will be plenty of open time so we can all enjoy the many wonders of this amazing setting!




August 12th – 15th, 2018
Alton L. Collins Retreat Center, Eagle Creek, OR
“Cultivating Reverence Through Poetry & Movement”



August 13th – 16th, 2017
Alton L. Collins Retreat CenterEagle Creek, OR
Another stellar group!

Group Pic


July 28th – 31st, 2016
Alton L. Collins Retreat CenterEagle Creek, OR
A beautiful time with a beautiful group!



“The natural fit of three parts in our morning and afternoon sessions fell together seamlessly: an unusually nuanced awareness of movement, then meditation and a thoughtful participation in teasing open the riches of carefully selected poems.  This is a mindful weekend but far from somber.  A perfect retreat.” – Cal H.

I enjoyed the retreat! All facets of it. the three focuses, meditation, feldenkrais, poetry. I especially enjoyed the poetry. It was a new experience and yet it felt familiar. Everything else, the setting, accomodations, food, your teaching, and the group experience made for a lovely experience.” – Katharine D.

“‘Impermanence, Mindfulness and Joy’: I went to a retreat Alice and John put together on this theme. This is also the title of an anthology of poetry (soon to be published) spanning many centuries, scores of poets, and multiple continents, from which selections were chosen for reading and discussion at the four-day event.  The introduction to the book is marvelous.
The format of the retreat was a mix of Feldenkrais , poetry and meditation.  John even read a few poems during several of the meditations….perfect.
In the end, what made this beautiful for me was personal characteristics John and Alice share; calm, kind, open, and intelligent. 
Mealtime conversation was enhanced by the delicious, healthy, gourmet food!” – Teri L.


October 11th – 13th, 2015
Sunrise Ranch, Loveland, CO
Another rich, rewarding retreat—and a wonderful group of participants at sunny Sunrise Ranch!

Mindfulness retreat 1Mindfulness retreat 2


I am relishing the wonderfully nourishing time we all had together! Thank you all for your dear friendship. And to Alice and John, my gratitude to you both for your profound and creative gifts you gave us at Sunrise Ranch. Your retreat truly rejuvenated me in many ways.” – Susan C.

My heart goes out to you and to everyone in our wonderful group for creating such a memorable time together.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  We are forever changed.  It was a masterful combination of mindfulness practices and such a joy to have such camaraderie together.” – Annette T.

Thanks…to all for your splendid and inspirational company! And great baskets of gratitude to you, John and Alice, for everything you put into making this a wonderful experience. My body is loose, my mind is settled (a relative term) and poetry runs through my head in an endless stream…” – Kirsten M.

“The Feldenkrais lessons, meditative practice, and poetry segments were a perfect three-ply braid of quiet wisdom throughout this retreat. Each lesson was its own small epiphany in mindful awareness and connectedness. John and Alice are sensitive teachers and facilitators who effectively balance explanation, demonstration, practice, and time for consolidation of concepts and techniques. I left the retreat with a new set of tools to support a holistic habit of awareness.” – Connie Z.


August 2nd – 4th, 2015
Alton L. Collins Retreat Center, Eagle Creek, OR
Our inaugural retreat was a smashing success! We couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous group or a more beautiful setting… Thank you, everyone!

ALCRC group


“I liked the warm welcome, the feeling always of inclusion, respect and caring. I was amazed at the way the meditation, poetry and movement were seamless in both practice and affect. The most surprising element of the experience is that I did not have to leave it all behind when I left the Center. I can still enjoy the poetry, the meditation voice and Alice’s instructions here at home.” – Mary B.

“John Brehm’s and Alice Boyd’s retreat was a magical combination of movement, meditation and poetry.  I have to confess that the wild card in this combination was, for me, the poetry.  I am, in general, not a confident reader of poetry and I certainly have no talent for or interest in learning how to write poems. Therefore my decision to attend the retreat was for the Feldenkrais movement lessons and the mindfulness meditation.  I specifically went in spite of the poetry. Much to my surprise and delight, the poetry turned out to be my favorite part of the retreat.  John is a very talented writer and teacher of poetry. The poems he and Alice chose for us to read and discuss ranged from ancient to contemporary, all illuminating the essential nature of the path of mindfulness.” – Marla G.

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