Dancing with Despair

To Rediscover Hope


A Weekend Retreat


Do you feel a deep love for the Earth and a concern for our ecological future?

Join us for a deeply nature-connected weekend honoring our love for the world in ways that transform despair into creative energy. This program is based on the work of Joanna Macy, which blends theory and practice drawn from Deep Ecology, Systems Theory, and Spiritual Traditions. These engaging practices encourage profound truth-telling, allowing us to access our collective courage and creative potential.

Experiential practices, poetry, ritual, music, movement, yoga, and silence will guide our journey through the four stages of the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects.  These practices help us experience first hand that we are larger, stronger, deeper,and more creative than we have believed.  Leave with a renewed sense of Active Hope!


“The central purpose of The Work That Reconnects is to help people uncover and experience their innate connections with each other and with the systemic, self-healing powers of the web of life, so that they may be enlivened and motivated to play their part in creating a sustainable civilization ”  - Joanna Macy



Friday 7-9pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

Wholesome lunch provided on Saturday and Sunday

Camping and yome stays available

This weekend is for people who have attended a previous event in The Work That Reconnects, or who have read Joanna Macy's books: World as Lover, World as Self, or Active Hope and wish to deepen their understanding.  If you're unfamiliar with the work, read the first 60 pages of Coming Back to Life as preparatory reading.

About the Instructors

Meg Toben and her husband, Tim, co-created the Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain as a sanctuary for nature connection, renewal, and healing the human-Earth relationship.  Meg has twenty years of experience as an environmental educator, and ten as an executive director, during which time she has learned useful techniques for cultivating balance while keeping a holistic level of awareness.  Meg knows and loves the land here deeply, having raised her family on it for the past twelve years.  In 2015, Meg was honored with the Piedmont Environmental Leadership Award.  Her love for art, ritual, Earth, and humanity inspire her to offer healing space of deep renewal to all who are working to heal our world.

Hope Horton, DMA, MS, has a background in music, writing, counseling, teaching, organizational management and facilitation.  As the co-founder of Sound Accord, Hope and her colleague created and led weekend workshops in sound and energy healing for fifteen years.  In the fall of 2011, Hope attended two workshops with Joanna Macy and then collaborated with a small group of people to bring Joanna to North Carolina for eleven days in June of 2012.  This deep engagement with Joanna and the Work that Reconnects motivated Hope to participate in founding Hart’s Mill Ecovillage and Farm, a forming intentional community near Hillsborough, NC, organized around sustainability (hartsmill.org).  Hope has been most active in governance, introducing and implementing sociocracy as a powerful system for community development and decision-making.  She has also been led to serve on the board of Timberlake Earth Sanctuary and the advisory council for the Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain.