Release - Awaken - Shine
The Coming Home Retreat
May 17 - 21, 2023
If you’re reading this, you're likely feeling empty, alone, and a bit lost in life...or you may have been walking a spiritual path for many years, yearning for that deep "aha" experience that will open you to an established connection to the wisdom and serenity within.
The thing is, even for us seekers sometimes life is just plain hard.
It’s full of beauty and wonderful things - but it’s also full of heartbreak.
Life feeds us but it can also break us.
So, how do we deal with it?
Well if you’ve got a few minutes I’d like to share with you a different path to deeper fulfillment you may not have tried (or even considered).
A Different Path to the Real You
A lot of people I speak with secretly wish they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace... the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of. They want to feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They want to reside in a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.
But my guess is that you have been broken down a little or a lot by life (maybe slowly over the years or maybe all at once) to a point where you know you need to dig deeper. But there’s a good chance you feel lost as to how to go about that.
Sometimes you can feel like an actor wearing a mask on a long treadmill. You walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. At the end of the week, sometimes you stare into the TV watching more actors and wondering “Is there more to life than this?” or “What happened to the person I thought I'd be when I was younger?”
You might notice a restlessness as if something is shifting or fragmenting under your feet. You may not know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Something deep inside is calling the real you to come out but you feel trapped in the way you are supposed to be.
The emptiness can be downright painful. You might hide it well but it’s deep...slowly eating your soul.
As Stephen Jenkinson said, “It’s in the nature of being human to forget how to be one on occasion.” But what happens when we forget for a long time?" And how do we remember? Many of the people I have worked with are in the midst of the forgetting and don’t know how to get themselves back.
And it’s not for a lack of trying.
I know this all too well
In my twenties I spent 10 years trying to be happier, exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library.
I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. I tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they didn’t do the trick. They actually made me more confused. The whole guru/follower thing literally gave me a rash so I tried being an independent seeker for awhile. But I got lost and felt incredibly lonely.
My head was so in the clouds with ideas I was no earthly good. One day, something very important occurred to me - that the easiest way to avoid meditation... is to read books about meditation. A wise Hawai'ian Kahuna once said, 'The shadow side of knowledge isn't ignorance. It's theory.'
I sadly realized that all my "great" concepts were just theory.
I threw away my books. I decided to find the truth for myself. It was then I discovered a method of paired self-inquiry with others that changed my life on a retreat called the Enlightenment Intensive. I broke through the lonely shell of my mind and experienced the magnificence of my true self.
What I Discovered is: 'You Have to Do it by Yourself and You Don't Have to Do it Alone'
That awakening experience inspired me to train in this method used on the Enlightenment Intensive. I have now changed the name of the retreat to something that I felt more true to what my experience of it was: 'Coming Home' I have been so impressed with the consistent transformation in people's lives that I have led over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.
I have found the practice of Coming Home to be an invaluable experience along the journey of discovery. I more or less stumbled on my first one, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. However, it has had a lasting effect on my daily life. I feel a greater sense of confidence, equanimity and, surprisingly…wonder. The methodology combines a form of Zen koan practice with Western relational psychology, though it is not aligned with any theoretical or philosophical school. The format is simple and demanding. To discover the truth of ourselves and of existence, we must necessarily move beyond the numerous and ingenious devices we employ to avoid its raw reality. For some people, the search for that truth is the only really meaningful activity of life. I would recommend the practice to anyone who falls into that category. When I emerged from the retreat . . .all of my worries about the future and my resentments about past hurts seemed, in that moment, very small when compared to the vastness that is both what I am and the reality in which I participate.
THE INVITATION by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. (c) 1999 published by Harper San Francisco. All rights reserved. Edited and presented with permission of the author
Find Your True Self on the Coming Home Retreat
Coming Home (also known as the enlightenment intensive) is a beautiful
process that weaves together silent contemplation on a key question such as: "Who am I?" with authentic communication and empathetic listening with another participant. After 5 minutes the roles reverse for 40 minutes. There is a schedule of walks, meals, exercise periods and rest all in silence.
The goal of the retreat is to awaken to your true self beyond the social persona that traps you in loneliness, emptiness and pain and to bring you back to an experience of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness of being. It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself.
What I see on just the first day of the 4 day retreat are people with their eyes widening, broad smiles, tears of joy and their bodies melting as the thousand stresses caused by the expectations of who they think they need to be, evaporate from their bodies.
By the 4th day they are shining, alive, deeply in touch with their true nature and so grateful that they have met other authentic seekers, like themselves. They have re-claimed their lost selves by themselves but they did not have to do it alone.
After a Coming Home Retreat Participants Commonly Report Feeling:
- More authentic
- Peace, contentment and vitality permeating their body
- More centered and grounded
- Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
- Greater self-acceptance
- Psychologically whole
- More inner strength and inner resolve
- Freer to express themselves around others
- Improved intuitive ability
- Enhanced and balanced energy levels
And Have a Greater Capacity to:
- Be open and authentic in relationships
- Persist and accomplish personal goals
- Face and overcome problems and difficulties
- Fully experience love, joy and happiness
- Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
- Achieve greater mutual understanding with others
- Be assertive and communicate their needs
- Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
- Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth
My realization was a complete and utter knowing of the Truth. I saw myself exactly AS I AM. The beauty of it was beyond anything I could describe. I came to know that there is no beginning and no end to my being and that everything is always exactly as it should be. I felt that every single thing I did was being done for the first time. I wanted absolutely everyone in the world to experience what I had experienced! My experience at the retreat certainly was profound and came at a huge turning point in my life. Because of this sense of deep meaning and connection, I know that the human spirit has infinite possibility. What I became aware of on Russell's retreat has touched every aspect of my life. The depth of my gratitude has no words.
Brenda McMorrow – Recording Artist, Guelph, Ontario
Features of the Retreat
- Zen-style self-inquiry with questions such as"who am I?" or "what is life?" practiced in a paired format with others to free you from layers of false beliefs so that you can awaken to the expansive aliveness of your true self.
- Authentic communication and deep listening combined with silent contemplation to help you be seen, heard, understood, and let go of years of suffering and access a deeper state of joy, self-acceptance, and wholeness.
- Agreements of non-judgment, non-interruption, and confidentiality to help you bypass the subtle suppressions of "normal" relating that have socialized you to deny being yourself.
- Structured schedule of contemplation, walks, sitting, meals and rest to keep you focused to overcome the barriers that would stop you if you tried doing this by yourself.
- Invaluable training in communication and empathetic listening reinforced over 3 days that can improve your relationships after the retreat
- A religious and philosophy free environment so that you can directly experience the truth for yourself without the impediment of dogma
- Gentle guidance from trained staff available at any time all day during the retreat
The power of my self-discovery was enormous in my life and it has carried me through many struggles since. The place in my heart that was closed is now open and alive with the knowledge that I am me. There is no need for anything else. I am fulfilled with this gift. And I am thrilled to be me. I don’t know how else I could have ever come to the understanding that I am this infinite, completely perfect spirit. There is nothing more beautiful in life than the recognition of who you actually are!
Cheryl Laird, Counsellor, Guelph, Ontario
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this retreat for me?
It could be if:
- You resonate with what you've read here so far and are feeling alone on the spiritual path.
- You want to live a deeper more engaged life, more connected with others.
- You are feeling empty and you want to feel whole and complete again.
- You are looking back on your life and want to find “the meaning of it all.”
- You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time, almost given-up and want to have the big“AHA”experience
- You are a seeker and not interested in taking on more religious beliefs and you want to awaken to the truth for yourself
- You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family
The Retreat is not for you if:
- You follow a religious belief system and are satisfied you know what the "Truth" is.
- You just want to go to a spa or a relaxation get-away and have a vacation.
- You are not motivated to delve into the deeper questions like: "Who am I?", "What is my purpose?", "What is life?" or "What are others?"
- You cannot take the allotted time away from family or work.
Had I not attended your retreat back in the spring, I would not now have the unshakeable strength of knowing deeply who and what I am, which sustains me on a moment-to-moment basis in a quiet, steadfast, joyful way. I don’t know why nor can I explain it but I continue to wake up happy every day, thankful every day, and smiling at work even though I’m in an impossible situation. I have more energy now than I’ve ever had.
Gail Buss, Retired Office Manager, Philadelphia, Penn
Can I talk to someone to find out if the retreat is a fit, without a big "sales pitch"?
I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minute suitability interview with me before the retreat. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat.
I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about doing the retreat by zoom and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques.
I only want people on zoom retreat who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone and for the staff. If you decide it is not a fit, I'll suggest something else.
or call: 519-829-4149
I am still in awe of my experience at your retreat. I can definitely say it was one of the most powerful, beautiful and expansive experiences I have ever had. And now that I am back home in 'the real world' I am still enjoying the benefits. My experience of the Truth has so much more depth to it. I feel a renewal of energy and passion on my journey. I am ready to experience more and to share more of Who I Really Am. I am blessed by this retreat. Dianne Yeo, Meditation Teacher, London, ON
Because of the profound nature of the spiritual experiences participants have on the retreat, it is important that participants receive support after the retreat. Included in the cost of the retreat is a 6-week follow-up program once a week by zoom, a check-in call with the facilitator and a downloadable guided meditation CD to help you integrate your life, into the experience of the retreat.
A $300 value included in the tuition.
Click on this link to watch a 20 Minute video explaining the inquiry technique used on the retreat and its life transforming benefits. The video presents the retreat as an Enlightenment Intensive, however it has been renamed as the Coming Home Retreat: https://youtu.be/eG9oWy6E3QM
So, that’s it. Thank you for staying with me. Remember, whether it’s this retreat or someone else’s:
You have to do it by yourself ... and you don’t have to do it alone.
I pray that you find the perfect support, here or elsewhere, for this challenging, beautiful and wonderful journey of coming home.
and if this retreat is calling you and you want to jump right in, the details are below:
Location: The Ecology Retreat Centre, near Orangeville Ontario
Dates for Retreat: Wednesday, May 17 (5 pm) to Sunday, May 21 (2 pm)
Meals and Accommodation (12 meals and 4 nights) includes a portion of staffing fees
and a 6 week follow-up program $700
Tuition (includes the follow-up program) 450
Plus Hst of $150.00
You can guarantee your spot by registering with a $100 deposit. (Deposit is non-refundable or transferable to another retreat or service)
Time payments are available ($375 plus Hst x 3 months) plus a few *scholarships* for those on a limited income.
*Scholarships - participants agree to pay for their meals and accommodation and leave a donation at the end for the facilitation costs (the tuition). Donation can be a one time donation or extended over a few months. You can apply for scholarships at the e-mail below.
Words are so inadequate when I try to describe the immense gratitude I feel. I am now moving through my life with new eyes, new ears, and a new voice; and feeling so much more peaceful, alive, and present in this world. Thank you for holding the retreat space in such a patient, gentle, loving, and compassionate way.
Sekoiaa Lake, Peterborough, ON
Hi. This is me, Russell Scott. I am one of the new generations of "no dogma teachers" and the author of the acclaimed book: "Awaken the Guru in You". I've led over 300 retreats in Canada and the USA for the past 35 years. Many years ago I left the corporate world as a successful enrollment director for a national scholarship foundation to work as a counselor in a treatment center in Northern Ontario and then moved on to own the Ecology Retreat Centre business near Orangeville where I pioneered programs in green building, sustainable living and spiritual awakening. As an “Awakening facilitator” I've helped 1000’s of people in my one-to-one and group programs break through past limitations so that they can walk in the beauty, honesty and magnificence of who they really are. I have to say that my greatest joy in life is watching people fall off their seats in fits of laughter when they realize their true nature.