Institute Programs

Jump to:
Kathleen Dowling Singh
Dennis Kiley
Heather Spring & Duncan Newcomer
Ann Carroll
Frequently Asked Questions
List of Previous Presenters

Northeast Guild programs this year focus on The Spiritual Journey in four key dimensions: the search or inquiry, practice, shadow work, and sacred activism.

Registration for our spring retreat with Kathleen Dowling Singh on June 10-11 at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, is active.

The three summer and fall programs with Guild Associates may be offered in more than one place and time. We will activate registration for these programs when these are finalized.  Presenters in recent years have included Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, Rose Mary Dougherty, John Chryssavgis, Rami Shapiro, Christopher Pramuk, Martin Laird and Richard Rohr.  

The Northeast Guild presents:

Kathleen Dowling Singh:
The Grace in Living: Recognize it, Trust It, Abide In It

June 10-11  Saturday 9 AM – 4 PM and Sunday 9 AM – 12 PM
Dyke Center, Husson University, 1 College Circle, Bangor, Maine

neg singh2017 poster smallThis weekend will be an opportunity to explore our own lives from a radically new perspective--one that allows the recognition of the ever-presence of grace.

As we get a sense of our own spiritual biographies, we have the opportunity to recognize that, although our attention has often been absent from grace, grace has always been with and within us. As we grow in our capacity to trust in it, we can begin to abide in the peace, wisdom, and compassion that characterize our own essential nature.

Through teachings, reflection, group experience, and dialogue, we will come to realize that we are already awakening beings and to hold that recognition with humility, dignity, and gratitude.

Kathleen Dowling Singh is a longtime dharma practitioner and teacher.  She is the author of The Grace in Dying:  How We Are Transformed Spiritually As We Die, The Grace in Aging:  Awaken As You Grow Older, and The Grace in Living.  Her new book, Unbinding: The Path to Grace will be released in October.

She speaks in broad language about spiritual transformation and meditative/contemplative practices, the ever-presence of grace, aging as spiritual opportunity, and the spiritual transformations at the end of life.

Retreat Dates: Saturday, June 10 from 9 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday, June 11 from 9 AM to 12 PM
Costs: $135; Special rate for students $75 (contact us for student rate)

The Guild is hosting Kathleen Dowling Singh in a non-residential retreat at Husson University. Participants may bring lunch on Saturday or purchase lunch for about $10 at the retreat.

For participants in need of overnight accommodations on Saturday, several hotels close to Husson University offer rooms, breakfast and shuttle service at rates between $70-110. Please click this link for nearby hotel information.

For participants traveling by air, Husson University is a ten-minute commute from Bangor International Airport. The Four Points Sheraton offers a special reduced rate of $99 per night for participants of this retreat.


Dennis Kiley:
The Psychology of Spiritual Life & Practice
July 15  Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth, 121 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, ME

In this workshop we will look at how our personal psychology affects our spiritual growth.  Understanding the workings of our minds and hearts is invaluable for self-actualization. Drawing on the teachings of John Welwood, author of The Psychology of Awakening, and John Prendergast, author of In Touch, this daylong retreat will empower you to realize the essence and truth of who you really are. We will develop insights, inspiration and practices that will enhance your ability to live full spiritual lives in a material world.

Dennis Kiley is a spiritual teacher who draws from his backgrounds in Buddhist, Christian, Yogic and other contemplative traditions and practices. In addition to teaching, he is a spiritual counselor, psychotherapist and group facilitator. All his work focuses on supporting people to be more loving, present, awake and free in their lives. Of particular relevance to this workshop is that Dennis is a former student of noted psychologists John Welwood and John Prendergast, who served as his mentors at The Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Retreat Dates: Saturday, July 15 from 10 AM to 4 PM
Cost: $65 (Please bring your lunch)


Heather Spring & Daniel Robinson:
Becoming Conscious: Working with Our Dreams
September 16  Saturday, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
South Congregational Church, UCC, 27 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH

Shadow work is often thought of as the somewhat dubious practice of excavating the unseen parts of ourselves that we might actually rather keep hidden. It is, therefore, approached by many reluctantly, if at all. In this workshop, we will approach “shadow work” simply as an adventure in uncovering aspects of ourselves yet awaiting admission into full consciousness. These attributes may, indeed, be undesirable traits we repress and unconsciously project onto others. They may also be aspects of our “inner gold,” as Robert Johnson would say, that reflect inner spiritual gifts and talents that we simply have not yet recognized or owned. Dream work provides an accessible way for all of us to encounter ourselves at a deeper level and get to know ourselves more fully.

In this experiential workshop, we will use practices of sacred reading, sacred seeing, discernment, and labyrinth walking to engage the shadow characters in our dreams. Participants are asked to bring the following to the workshop:

  1. One dream fully written out in first person present tense. [‘I am walking along a deserted stretch of sandy beach at sunrise when suddenly I notice an oversized kangaroo bobbing in the water just off shore…’]
  2. If you want to participate but do not have a dream, you can think of a recent life event that held energy for you and write it up as though it were a dream, again in first person present tense. Include as many details as possible.
  3. Two or three magazines that you are willing to have torn up.
  4. A journal or notebook to write in and some pens or colored pencils.
  5. A bag lunch that you can eat in half an hour and a snack to get you through the morning.
  6. Enough liquid to keep you hydrated throughout the day, including time spent outside.
  7. Suitable clothing, as part of this workshop will take place out of doors, weather permitting.

Heather J. Spring, PhD is a gardener, mixed media artist, spiritual director, and sometimes health science qualitative researcher. All of these practices inform her approach to dream work, as does the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (sacred reading) and its adaptation, Visio Divina (sacred seeing); Ignatian practices of discernment and examen; Jungian perspectives on shadow work; and other practices learned while attending Hayden Institute Summer Dream Programs. Heather’s interest in dream work dates back to her early childhood, and she has been actively recording and reflecting upon her dreams for over 40 years.

Daniel Robinson will be running a labyrinth exercise in the stead of Duncan Newcomer, who is unable to be at this event.

Retreat Dates: Saturday, September 16 from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Cost: $75 (Please bring your lunch)


Ann Carroll:
Active Hope
October 14  Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth, 121 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, ME

This retreat is inspired by the prophetic work of Joanna Macy, the long-time ecological and spiritual advocate and visionary. For more than five decades, she has pioneered working with the pain people experience in times of troubling uncertainty and darkness. Her work challenges us to look into the fears that grip us and, through radical honesty, awaken us to the transforming power of Active Hope.

We will use the process Macy calls “The Spiral of Reflection” to look with honesty at our own fears and how to use that very gift of desperation to engender a genuine sense of hope that helps guide each of us to meaningful action. "The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe." - Joanna Macy.

Ann Carroll is gardener, landscape designer, wood sculptor and practitioner of a wide range of spiritual practices for over 50 years. A serious student of European Philosophy during the post-WWII years, she turned to the practice of Hindu meditation at 27 when she realized that the academic pursuit of Philosophy would not help her learn to be a mother to her newborn son. Her deepening reverence for the Earth as Mother has taken several forms, including her wood sculpture, a large Prayer Wheel Garden and a Navajo labyrinth at her home overlooking the Androscoggin River. The work and mentorship of Joanna Macy, the Buddhist scholar and philosopher of Deep Ecology, has been especially inspiring for Ann’s creative work and teaching in recent years.

Retreat Dates: CANCELLED Saturday, October 14 from 10 AM to 4 PM
Cost: $65 (Please bring your lunch)




Other Associate-Led Programs in 2017

Dennis Kiley:
Openhearted Living: The Path of Spirit - February 4th, 2017

DK follow-your-heart-pathDennis Kiley's program, "Openhearted Living: The Path of Spirit" will be an extraordinary opportunity for all Guild Friends, Associates, and newcomers alike to gather for a truly enlightening, daylong program by an inspired presenter. We hope as many as possible will be able attend. Dennis' inspiration comes from many sources, especially the work of Brother Wayne Teasdale's life and work, including his book, The Mystic Heart. It's a wonderful occasion on which to gather and to glean Dennis' wisdom and energy about living through our awakened hearts.

From Christ to Krishna, the Dalai Lama to Richard Rohr, voices shout the importance of love across diverse spiritual landscapes.  Living from the heart is a unifying thread of our many religious traditions; it is the path, practice and outcome.  Love is at the center of the sacred and scary, the divine and ordinary.  Kindness is the source of our healing and holiness; it is our path to spiritual living in a material world. Living from the heart is the way through fear and loss, and the doorway to peace, unity and meaning.  In our uncertain and conflicted world, never has this been more important.

This daylong workshop provides a contemplative, communal and experiential engagement with openhearted living.  We will have times of silence, reflection, spiritual readings, mindful movement and sharing all with the intention of bringing us closer to each other, ourselves and our heart.

This is a brown bag (bring your own lunch) event.

Dennis Kiley is a spiritual teacher with backgrounds in Buddhism, Christianity, Yoga and other contemplative practices. In addition to teaching, he is a spiritual counselor, psychotherapist and group facilitator.  All of his work is focused on supporting people to be more loving, present, awake and free in their life. Of particular interest and central to this workshop is how to lead spiritual lives in a material world.

Retreat Dates: Friday, May 15, at 1 pm.
Costs: Tuition (to Dennis Kiley) $65, scholarships available. Please contact Dennis directly ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 207-317-618) to register or for more information.
Directions: The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth is one mile north of downtown Ellsworth on Rt. 1. Click here for its location via Google Maps.
Event flyer: Click here to download and print a flyer for this event.