Let the world open like a wildflower in Sicily.

October 17-23, 2021

May we step out into the open again, together, and find that our hearts have awoken like the Spring.

As we step out into the world again, may the magical landscape of Sicily be a guide to our re-awakening; a guide to finding that which endures in us. Let us explore and delight in the enchanted landscapes that surround us; let us build a peaceable home in that celestial landscape within us.

Join us for this signature Art of Being retreat as we explore mindfulness practice and contemplative art making in a nurturing and supportive community.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the current pandemic situation, we are offering this 2021 program at limited capacity with a maximum of eight participants. For this reason, early registration is advised. 

Pictureque seaside town of Cefalù

Let us begin in the 17th century labyrinth gardens and surrounding countryside at San Giovanni Sgadari. We will visit the Valley of Temples, the ancient Greek city of Akragas, and the picturesque seaside town of Cefalù. Experience the many layers of Sicily’s history as you explore your own unfolding story and unique place in the world.

Each day you will be guided through mindfulness meditation practices you can take back into your daily life. These practices will be woven together with contemplative art experiences intended to cultivate your innate capacity for artistic expression. No experience in meditation or art required.


  • DAY 1: LANDING | Welcome to San Giovanni Sgadari! Settle in at 5pm for an introduction to mindfulness and an overview of the week ahead as you get to know your co-participants over a welcome dinner.
  • DAY 2: FINDING YOUR LINE | Let go of fear and hesitation as we bring our whole selves to the line on the page in an exploration of mindfulness, line drawing, and mark-making.
  • DAY 3: HARNESSING THE ELEMENTS | The elements of earth, water, air, and fire surround us and flow through us. A variety of meditation and art practices will allow us to tap into each of these elements and give visual expression to our experience of them.
  • DAY 4: A LARGER TAPESTRY | Explore how our lives are woven into a larger tapestry. Our exploration will take us on a day-trip to the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.
  • DAY 5: PICTURES & WORDS | The beautiful seaside town of Cefalù, with its towering Norman cathedral housing some of the world’s finest Byzantine mosaics, will be the setting for an exploration of contemplative photography and poetry.
  • DAY 6: BEING IN THE WORLD | Everything in nature has a way of being. We will see what nature has to tell us about our own way of being in the world. We will explore our path forward, integrating what we have harvested this week and celebrate with a festive meal.
  • DAY 7: DEPARTURE |Enjoy a full breakfast before departing at 10am.


My connection to Sicily begins on a ship, the S.S. Patria, which left the port of Palermo in October 1914.

As a young child, I used to listen to the stories of my great uncle who told me about crossing the ocean on that ship as a boy. He told me of watching a moving picture on the ship, a flickering film of a horse running. He told me about the village of Vallelunga, where our family worked the land for hundreds of years. Vallelunga stayed in my imagination until the day in 2012, when I stepped off a train there and brought that journey of the S.S. Patria full circle.

Our world is in a state of rapid change, flux, and uncertainty. People are on the move today in search of basic needs, just as the family of my grandparents was swept up in a wave of migration in 1914.

It is important that we find a still point in this turbulent world, that we come to know ourselves and tell our story as only we can tell it. It is important that we come to see our individual lives as an integral piece of a much larger human cloth. To do so is to become more fully human, more fully our true selves.  – Michael Anderson


Michael Anderson Hi! I have been teaching art for over twenty years, and I am a certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) instructor. I’m a longtime student and practitioner of Buddhist meditation. I believe that everyone is an artist, that art is an expression of our authentic selves, and that mindfulness creates a space where authentic art making can arise. I’m happy to chat or answer any questions you may have about joining us in Sicily. I hope to see you there! Please feel free to drop me a message!

Sicilian Hospitality

Enjoy the warmth of your Sicilian hosts, delight in the authentic atmosphere of the period architecture and furnishings that surround you, be nurtured by the simple, healthy meals provided by our local chef. Many of the natural ingredients come from the farm itself and the surrounding region. Meals are vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options available. Please let us know of any other dietary restrictions you may have. Rest assured, we will accommodate your needs to ensure your comfort, health, and well-being throughout your stay in Sicily!


Your accommodations will be in beautifully refurbished stone cottages just a few steps down from the main farmhouse and labyrinth gardens. Each communal cottage sleeps four people, two to a room with one shared bathroom. Rates are per person. Those booking individually will be assigned a roommate. Rates include program fee, 6 nights lodging and meals provided by Masseria San Giovanni Sgadari, transport on two trip excursions, and airport shuttle from/to Catania airport on arrival and departure days provided by Autoservizi Nasello. All rates are subject to change. Please see full Terms & Conditions for this retreat.

STANDARD COTTAGE ROOM (Shared) | $990 | Features two twin beds, partitioned by a thick, floor-to-ceiling curtain for privacy. A sunny stone patio awaits for reading, relaxation, or shared conversation with your cottage mates.

SUPERIOR COTTAGE ROOM (Shared) | $1140 | Features two twin beds in an enclosed room with a door, offering additional privacy. A sunny stone patio awaits for reading, relaxation, or shared conversation with your cottage mates.

SINGLE-OCCUPANCY SUPERIOR COTTAGE ROOM | $1440 | Features a double bed in an enclosed room with a door, offering additional privacy. Shared bathroom. A sunny stone patio awaits for reading, relaxation, or shared conversation with your cottage mates. Please note that, due to limited availability on this retreat, single occupancy rooms cannot be guaranteed. Selecting this option constitutes a request, not a guaranteed room assignment. We will make every effort to accommodate your request. Your final amount due will reflect your final room assignment.


  • Airport shuttle from/to Catania (CTA) airport on arrival day (3pm) & departure day (10am)
  • 6 nights accommodation, towel, sheets, and 1 room cleaning per week
  • Fresh Sicilian meals each day, vegetarian / vegan/ gluten-free options
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (juice, tea, coffee) & snacks each day
  • Excursions to Agrigento and Cefalù
  • Guided meditation and arts experiences each day
  • Use of meditation cushions and mats
  • Basic art materials, including dry and wet media, paper, and brushes (please bring any specific materials you wish to work with, as well as a journal or sketchbook)

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance

A Free Gift for You…

Upon booking, you will receive complimentary access to the full three-day SICILY HOME RETREAT Online Program, filmed on location at San Giovanni Sgadari ($99 value). Thinking about joining us in Sicily? Enroll in the SICILY HOME RETREAT and receive a $100 Voucher toward your retreat booking.