What Really Matters

Harnessing the Wisdom of Loss to Live a More Fulfilling Life
Oct 15–17, 2021

Claire Bidwell Smith, Alua Arthur, and Dr. Bruce (BJ) Miller, Jr.

Claire Bidwell Smith, Alua Arthur, and Dr. Bruce (BJ) Miller, Jr.

Oct 15–17, 2021
Tuition:
$335
Plus lodging and meals.
Oct 15–17, 2021
Retreat Type
Meditation & MindfulnessMeditation & Mindfulness
Self-DiscoverySelf-Discovery
SpiritualSpiritual
Retreat Goals
Personal DevelopmentPersonal Development
Self-CareSelf-Care

Thrive After Life-Altering Loss

We all suffer loss in our lives. No matter who we are or what our circumstances, it’s likely each of us will encounter challenges dealing with the inner experience of heartbreak, grief, and the sorrow of losing someone close to us. For most of us, this experience is difficult and something we naturally try to avoid. At the same time, facing the impermanence of things around us can actually open doors to our own fulfillment and self-knowledge. This is when the opportunity for transformation occurs and we get down to something that’s much more fundamental or essential.

This program will help you find the courage to embrace loss and as a result discover what really matters to you. Join grief and anxiety expert and author, Claire Bidwell Smith; death doula, attorney, adjunct professor, and ordained minister, Alua Arthur; and physician, author, and Mettle Health founder, Dr. BJ Miller, for a life-changing weekend exploring life, love, and loss.

We’ll explore questions such as

  • How does loss help us create a more meaningful life?
  • How does facing major transition and even death give way to peace and transformation?
  • How do we process all that we learned and all that we grieved in 2020 and turn it around in a way that helps us live more fully?

In this Workshop, You’ll Discover

  • Tools to enable regret-free living and the courage to live your life true to yourself
  • Communication exercises to express what we don’t want to say but need to so we are not haunted by it when we or a loved one dies
  • Practical life-planning tools to ensure you are prepared for the end, but free to live the happiest life possible
  • Lessons from those who have faced death to help you live your life to the fullest.

Through group discussion, journaling, one-on-one sharing, and nature exploration, you will navigate through life-altering loss with grace and courage, and integrate new found inner peace into your life.

Features

A Retreat in the Mountains

During your stay, you have time for personal R & R. Whether you want to explore forest trails and bask in the fresh mountain air, enjoy a pottery or watercolor painting class, release stress with a therapeutic spa treatment—the choice is yours. (Additional fees may apply.)

Make Your Retreat Extra Special

Combine your retreat with authentic Ayurveda for rejuvenation on all levels, body, mind and spirit. The recommended Ayurveda treatment for this retreat is an Abhyanga massage (“Abby” for short), followed by a relaxing steam to further release stress. Pre-requisite: 18 years of age or older.

Presenter

Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief and the author of three books, The Rules of Inheritance, After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go? and Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief. Claire offers numerous experiences with grief, and fueled by her work in hospice and private practice, Claire strives to provide support for all kinds of people experiencing all kinds of grief. …

Alua Arthur is a death doula, recovering attorney, and the founder of Going with Grace, an end-of-life planning and death doula training organization that exists to support people as they answer the question, “What must I do to be at peace with myself so that I may live presently and die gracefully?”

Bruce (BJ) Miller, Jr., MD, is a longtime hospice and palliative medicine physician and educator. He currently sees patients and families via telehealth through Mettle Health, a company he co-founded with the aim to provide personalized, holistic consultations for any patient or caregiver who needs help navigating the practical, emotional and existential issues that come with serious illness and disability.  

Reviews

Meaning & Magic
Maria Shriver
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“With wisdom and grace, Claire Bidwell Smith navigates the mysteries of grief to show us that there is great meaning and even magic to be found in exploring the unknown.”
Life-Changer
Anonymous
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"This program is a life-changer. It is so full of heart and reflection and vulnerability and care. Meeting like-minded and like-hearted others and learning from Alua and her team was such a gift and I will carry it with me until my dying day. I'm so, so grateful."
More Confident
Marion
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"BJ helped our family immensely to know and understand what lies before us. Knowing that there is someone out there who can provide insight into the trials and tribulations that come when treatment options are limited has been earth shattering - I feel more confident about practical decision making."
Life Beyond Loss
Krystal
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"I feel connected to a sisterhood and ‘heard’ with regards to my grief. Claire is a warm and intuitive counselor who not only provides comfort and encouragement but also a sense of hope that there is life beyond loss."
Essential for Healthcare Workers
Anonymous
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"I work at a Hospice and this information was great to hear from a woman of color. This course should be taken by all Heathcare workers. Thank you so much."
Grief Articulated
The Herald Sun
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“Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows grief, but few articulate it like Claire Bidwell Smith.”
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Rooms & Pricing

All options include daily vegetarian meals from dinner on the night of check-in through lunch on the day of checkout. (Rates below are per person.)

Private Hotel Room

|

$333/Night/Per Person
  • King bed or two full beds
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Private Bath
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Delicious Vegetarian Meals
  • Complimentary Tea/Coffee & Fresh Fruit
  • Daily Yoga & Meditation Classes
  • Access to Grounds and Facilities, including Gym & Steam Rooms

Private Retreat Room

|

$244/Night/Per Person
  • Two Twin Beds
  • Private Bath
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Delicious Vegetarian Meals
  • Complimentary Tea/Coffee & Fresh Fruit
  • Daily Yoga & Meditation Classes
  • Access to Grounds and Facilities, including Gym & Steam Rooms

Schedule

WHAT REALLY MATTERS
October 15–17, 2021

Subject to change.

Friday 7:30–9:00 pm
Saturday 9:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:00–4:00 pm
Sunday 9:30–11:30 am  Room checkout is 11:00 am; luggage may be held at Reception.

General Information

All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST) unless otherwise noted.

Arrival Day
4:00 pm Check-in begins; Rooms are ready by 4:00 pm, but if you arrive early we will hold your luggage at Reception.
6:00–7:00 pm Dinner
7:00–7:20 pm Guest Orientation Session (Venue: Dining Hall)

Dining Hours Purna Dining Hall
7:30–9:30 am Breakfast
12:00–1:30 pm Lunch
6:00–7:30 pm Dinner

Optional Activities

Apart from the activities in your program schedule, we offer the following optional complementary activities. (Please join only if your program schedule permits.)

9:45–10:45 am  Yoga | Sattva Studio | Thu–Sun
11:00 am–12:00 pm  Mind & Meditation | Sattva Studio |  Thu–Sun
1:30–2:15 pm  Guided Hike | Assemble at Shankara Reception | Sat
2:30–3:45 pm  Ayurveda Cooking Class* | Tulsi Kitchen
     Thu: Sweet Treats • Sat: Chef’s Seasonal Recipe
4:15–5:15 pm Yoga | Sattva Studio | Wed–Sat
5:30–6:00 pm  Guided Meditation | Sattva Studio | Wed–Sat
7:30–8:15 pm  Meditative Chants/Kirtan | Sattva Studio | Wed–Sat
     Saturday kirtan is outdoor by the bonfire; weather permitting.

*Included with Wellness Escapes and R&R; Other participants: $35.00/per person

Clay Studio
10:00 am–6:00 pm Saturday
     Clay Handbuilding $30.00 (1 hour) 
     Throwing Wheel $45.00 (2 hours) 

Shankara Ayurveda Wellness Appointments (Additional Cost)

Hours: 9:00 am–6:30 pm daily
We invite you to also make reservations for consultations, therapies, and treatments at our award-winning Shankara Ayurveda Wellness prior to arrival in order to ensure availability. Please call 828-264-8382 for details.

Actual schedules and venues may vary; please confirm with Front Desk upon check-in.

On-Campus Program FAQs

For room reservations, Ayurveda Wellness Retreats, and Art of Living Retreat Center (AOLRC) signature retreats, we have the following cancellation policy:

  • Refunds are available (less a $50 processing fee) up to eight days before your program or stay.
  • Nonrefundable credit toward a future AOLRC program or stay (less a $50 processing fee) is available if you give notice between seven and one day(s) before your program or stay. Credit may be applied to any AOLRC program or stay for one year following date of issue.
  • No credit or refund is available if you cancel on the arrival day, if you do not show up, or if you leave an event early for any reason. No refund will be available if you attend a program and are dissatisfied with its presentation or content.  AOLRC reserves the right to cancel a program at any time. If AOLRC cancels a program, you will receive a full refund.  Some programs may have special cancellation policies; see individual workshop descriptions.  For all other retreats, please be sure to check the registration page specific to that retreat.

To encourage a healthy environment we ask that guest to not consume alcohol or meat in our public spaces, however, guests may enjoy these items in their rooms.

Our property is always smoke-free.

Yes, we ask that guests with food allergies simply inform us so we can communicate those needs to our chef. Typically, we label potential allergens such as gluten, dairy, and nuts.

Location

639 Whispering Hills Rd, Boone, North Carolina 28607

Discover deep rest and rejuvenation in a pristine natural setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina. Set amidst 380 acres of pristine forest high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a tranquil sanctuary.

Talk to an Ayurveda Specialist

Tuition
$335
Plus lodging and meals.

Art of Living Retreat Center

Google Reviews

144 Reviews
4.9/5
- Leslie E.
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"If you want to relax, recharge, and find yourself again, this is the place!"
- Vasily T.
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"A magnificent place for a refreshing retreat. So peaceful and close to nature as it can be."
- Becca N.
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"Excellent food, spa, tons of activities outside of program warm environment for growth Thank you!"
- Rob H.
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"The techniques I learned here have literally transformed my life."
- Michelle L.
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"Excellent program, beautiful surroundings. Wonderful setting for deep connection & reset."
- Dan V.
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"I did not know what to expect. I am very pleased with what I have learned and excited to bring back home."
- Bonnie M.
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"Beautiful grounds with wonderful, genuinely loving instructors. This was a life changing experience!"
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Related Events

Weekend of Creativity​

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING

  • Plan your special day over a delicious whole-foods breakfast.
  • Walk our beautiful labyrinth or hike one of our scenic nature trails and reconnect with your inner self.
  • Express your creativity and have some fun playing with and shaping clay in your pottery class.

AFTERNOON

  • Mingle with like-minded visitors over lunch in the Dining Hall.
  • Cook up something new together in our Ayurveda cooking class or get clever on the canvas in a painting class.
  • Unwind with a relaxing spa treatment. Choose from a warm oil massage, energizing facial, or rejuvenating Netra Tarpana treatment and let our professional therapists pamper you. (Additional spa treatments available here.)
  • Recharge in the sauna.

EVENING

  • Browse our shop for crystals, jewelry, scarves, and more.
  • Nourish your body with a healthy dinner.
  • Take in the spectacular sunset or join the fireside concert.

Restart Getaway

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING

  • Energize your mind, body, and spirit with morning yoga or meditation class.
  • Savor a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
  • Self-reflect as you leisurely walk our beautiful labyrinth.
  • Rest, replenish and rejuvenate with Abhyanga therapy—a detoxifying warm oil Ayurveda massage that incorporates warm, aromatic oils, rhythmically massaged into your body, cleansing, relaxing, and re-energizing the body and mind.

AFTERNOON

  • Grab some delicious chai and relax in our cafe or take in the majestic views on our deck.
  • Plan your afternoon over a nourishing lunch.
  • Connect with nature while hiking or walking one of our many breathtaking mountain trails.
  • Return to the spa for a Basti session to rejuvenate your joints! Stiff joints are bathed in warm medicated oil and massaged to deepen the therapeutic effects that increase lubrication and promote smooth flexibility and mobility.

EVENING

  • Get creative and have fun in our painting studio or kitchen.
  • Refuel your body with a tasty and healthy dinner.

Restore Getaway

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING

  • Gaze at the sunrise while filling your lungs with fresh mountain air and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.
  • Sow a new level of calm and balance into your life with a Yoga or meditation class.
  • Enjoy a delicious whole-foods breakfast.
  • Cleanse your soul with a leisurely walk on one of our beautiful nature trails.

AFTERNOON

  • Nourish your body with a healthy and nutritious lunch.
  • Make a new memory with a cooking, painting, or pottery* class (*additional cost).
  • Choose from the widest selection of Ayurvedic therapies in the US for whole-body nourishment and renewal and let our professional therapists do all the work while you relax and rejuvenate.
  • Unwind in the sauna.

EVENING

  • Stop by our bookstore and explore our collection of new and classic self-care and spiritual resources.
  • Grab a fresh, calming herbal tea and curl up with a good book in your cozy room.

Mother & Daughter Getaway

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING
  • Plan your special day over a delicious whole-foods breakfast.
  • Retreat into relaxation with a mother-daughter spa treatment. Choose from a warm oil massage, energizing facial, or rejuvenating Netra Tarpana treatment and let our professional therapists pamper you. (Additional spa treatments available here.)
  • Recharge in the sauna.
AFTERNOON
  • Enjoy a decadent Mexican hot chocolate and reminisce in our cozy cafe.
  • Browse our shop for crystals, jewelry, scarves, and more.
  • Mingle with like-minded visitors over lunch in the Dining Hall.
  • Explore our captivating campus or head out on one of our guided mountain trail hikes.
  • Cook up something new together in our Ayurveda cooking class.
  • Self-reflect as you leisurely walk our beautiful labyrinth.
EVENING
  • Feed your body with a healthy dinner.
  • Take in the spectacular sunset or join the fireside concert.

Girlfriends Getaway

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING
  • Energize your mind, body, and spirit together with morning yoga or meditation class.
  • Catch up over a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
  • Connect with nature and reminisce while hiking one of our many mountain trails.
AFTERNOON
  • Plan your afternoon over a nourishing lunch.
  • De-stress with a girlfriends spa treatment, like our relaxing signature massage, hydrating facial, or energizing Marma session, and let our therapists work their magic. (Additional spa treatments available here.)
  • Get creative and have fun in our painting studio or Ayurveda food kitchen.
  • Grab some delicious chai and relax in our cafe or take in the majestic views on our deck.
EVENING
  • Plenty of time for bonding during a dinner.
  • Visit our shop and grab some souvenirs, rejuvenating herbal supplements, and restorative health products from Shankara’s all-natural beauty line.
  • Dance and sing at Kirtan.

Couples Getaway

(Sample Schedule)

MORNING

  • Gaze at the sunrise while filling your lungs with fresh mountain air and reminisce on the moments that connected you.
  • Bring a new level of calm and balance to your relationship with a Yoga or Meditation class.
  • Enjoy a delicious whole-foods breakfast together.
  • Walk or hike one of our beautiful nature trails and reconnect with each other, nature, and oneself.

AFTERNOON

  • Share a healthy and nutritious lunch.
  • Make a new memory by taking a workshop or educational class, or create a new experience together with a pottery*, watercolor painting, or cooking class (*additional cost).
  • Reduce tension and stress with a couple’s or individual Ayurveda spa treatment. Choose from the widest selection of Ayurvedic therapies in the US for whole-body nourishment and renewal.
  • Unwind in the sauna together.

EVENING

  • Stop by our bookstore and explore our collection of self-care and spiritual resources or spend time reading in the cafe.