A Week of Meditation & Contemplative Arts
The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things hide, and when properly looked upon, reveal.”
– Joseph Campbell
Come to the magical island of Sicily for a week-long journey of personal discovery, connection, and transformation through contemplative arts and meditation.
For Bookings, please complete form at bottom of page. Program flyer: AOB Sicily Flyer
Join us for a week of creative expression, stillness, and discovery at the 17th century masseria (farmhouse) of San Giovani Sgadari in the heart of Sicily, a working organic farm where olive oil, wheat, wine, fruit and vegetables are still produced today. Savor the sights, sounds, aromas and flavors of this gentle and timeless landscape. Be nourished by the simple and healthy Sicilian dishes prepared for you by the farm’s kitchen staff using the best natural, local ingredients. End each day beneath a vast summer night sky.
Our journey will take us through the Masseria’s 17th century labyrinth gardens and surrounding countryside, to the Valley of Temples in the ruins of 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 arts experiences intended to cultivate your innate capacity for artistic expression. No experience in meditation or art required.
Day 1 – Welcome Dinner and Opening Session: Guided introduction to meditation and the week ahead. Settle in for a week of creative expression and discovery.
Day 2 – Finding your Line and Walking the Labyrinth: Give wings to the inner artist and let go of the inner critic through an introductory exploration of line and mark-making. A guided labyrinth walk will form a beginning and ending ritual to our week’s journey.
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 – The Hero’s Journey in the Valley of Temples: We will travel to the Valley of Temples, the ancient Greek city of Akragas in modern-day Agrigento. The temples here are some of the best preserved in all of the ancient Greek world. We will explore Greek myth and the archetype of the hero’s journey through theatre and visual arts.
Day 5 – Your Life is the Artwork: Charting a Map of Curiosities: Exploring the questions that captivate our curiosity and wonder brings insight into what makes us come alive as a unique human being. We will use the art of map-making to chart these curiosities and continue our exploration of the hero’s journey.
Day 6 – Cefalù: Snapshots of Reality: What does it mean to see the world as it is, with fresh eyes? 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, as we seek to capture the essential qualities and true nature of the world around us.
Day 7 – Looking Back and Forward: In our last full day we will walk the labyrinth one last time as we reflect back on our journey and integrate our experiences into our life’s path forward. We will celebrate the end of our journey together with a festive meal beneath the stars.
Day 8 – Breakfast and Departure
FINDING STILLNESS IN A TURBULENT WORLD
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
MEET THE TEAM
Michael Anderson (Program Leader) has been teaching art for twenty years, and is a certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) instructor. He is a longtime student and practitioner of meditation in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. He lives in Vienna.
Teresa Hernández (Photography & Poetry) teaches Journalism and Photojournalism at Central Michigan University. She studied Photojournalism at Syracuse University and worked as a staff photographer at The Grand Rapids Press for nine years. She is a longtime student and practitioner of meditation in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and has completed the Shambhala Arts Teacher Program. She writes and studies poetry as a contemplative practice.
Christa Eleftherakis (Theatre Arts) is a PhD candidate and Theatre teacher with ten years of experience. Her personal exploration and practice of mindfulness has helped deepen both her personal and professional life. She currently lives in Buenos Aires.
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 with us in Sicily!
RATES AND PACKAGES
Choose from a range of accommodation packages*. Rooms in the main Masseria house and adjoining cottages feature beautiful Sicilian furnishings with private or shared bath. All rates are per person, and include seven nights lodging, meals, and excursions: (*Payment can be made in either EUR or USD)
Double or Twin Room w/ Shared Bath 950 EUR
Rooms can be fitted with one large double bed or two separate twin beds. You will share with your co-registrant, or we will assign a roommate of the same gender. Bathroom is shared with 1-3 other guests.
Double or Twin Room w/ Private Bath 1,050 EUR
Rooms can be fitted with one large double bed or two separate twin beds. You will share room and private bath with your co-registrant.
Single Room w/ Shared Bath 1,250 EUR
Room includes one large double bed for one person. You will share an adjoining bathroom with 1-3 other guests.
Single Room w/ Private Bath 1,350 EUR
Room includes one large double bed for one person and private bath.
Included in Package Rate:
- 7 nights accommodation, towel, sheets, and 1 room cleaning per week
- 3 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 activities each day
- 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)
- Airport transfer (Transfers may be booked for additional 50 EUR each way)
Reservation & Cancellation Policy
A non-refundable 350 EUR DEPOSIT (per person) is required at time of reservation. Payment instructions will be sent with registration confirmation. BALANCE payment is due February 1, 2021. All payments are non-refundable. Cancellation is permissible (minus the deposit) until February 1, 2021, after which no cancellations are allowed.
The Masseria / Sicilian Spirit is located approximately two hours from both Palermo (PMO) and Catania (CTA) airports. Catania is recommended, as flights are often cheaper and more direct, and ground access to the Masseria is more direct. Airport transfers from Cantania (CTA) or Palermo (PMO) can be arranged for an additional 50 EUR each way on arrival/departure days for flights arriving no later than 15:00 on April 17, and departing no earlier than 13:00 on April 24. Please indicate on your registration form.
Space is limited to 12 participants and expected to fill quickly. Early bookings are advised. Please complete the following form to book your space. Upon receipt of booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation and payment instructions within 24 hours. Receipt of deposit payment will secure your place. Please use the comment field to let us know of any special needs you may have so that we can ensure your comfort, health, and well-being. We are excited to have you join us and look forward to seeing you in Sicily!