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The Art of
Sacred Listening:
A Professional Training Retreat

Chacala, MX | April 2023

​Join Wendy Black Stern for a mindfulness-based, grief focused certification program for healthcare practitioners, caregivers, bodyworkers, coaches, therapists, healers or anyone supporting people through grief and loss.


This retreat-style training blends together the healing, nourishing benefits of a luxurious, all inclusive beachfront retreat center and spa with daily yoga, meditation, community sharing and spaciousness to reflect, be witnessed and listen within.

Learn how to facilitate Community Circles, CSG’s proven, mindfulness-based model of care that offers grief support in a community setting. This retreat will provide you with the experience, skills and training to hold an intimate, safe space for people to feel unconditionally seen, heard, acknowledged and accepted at any phase along their grief journey.

Dates: April 29th - May 6th 2023

Investment: $2,700-$4,100 based on room selection

(includes all meals, accommodations, professional training and airport transfer to and from the resort. Does not include airfare and additional spa treatments and activities)

Our Week-Long Journey will Include:

Introduction to Community Circles 

Breakdown of Primary Skills and Exploration of Grief Through Shadow Work
Deep Listening as a Way of Life  
Grief as a Catalyst for Change
The Business of Leading Community Circles

Closing Ritual & Integration

Listening deeply to another person’s experience is a gift, privilege and responsibility. It is human nature to want to problem solve or offer advice to someone who is struggling. However, a part of deep listening is to hear and feel another person’s experience and reflect it back to them so they can know themselves better and then empower THEM to receive wisdom and guidance from within. When we sharpen our skills of deep listening, it ripples out to touch the lives of the people we love. Our marriages, partnerships, parenting, friendships, professional relationships benefit and even our relationship with ourselves is impacted by learning how to truly listen to another person with acceptance, presence and compassion.

In this training, we will bring awareness and love to our biases, judgments and preconceived ideas about how people should feel, behave and respond to life’s traumas. When we have guidance and space to become aware of our own self limiting beliefs and inherited biases that are often unconscious and bring them into the light to be acknowledged, met with love, forgiven and released, then we can authentically hold an accepting space for others. This is the first step of the Art of Sacred Listening.


This retreat is an all inclusive experience offering daily meals, snacks, state of the art facilities and accommodations, yoga and meditation, break-out group discussions and facilitation training. Together, we will explore the following teachings, themes, philosophies and training to co-create a learning community of professionals who are committed to our own personal growth and development as we learn how to listen deeply and hold a sacred space for others to do the same.

See the full module breakdown by clicking here.

Benefits of Attending The Art of Sacred Listening Professional Training Retreat:
  • Deepen your relationships in your personal and professional lives 

  • Become a more effective listener and space holder for grief and loss

  • Learn how to give and hold a safe space for others without feeling depleted or burnt out

  • Learn how to Guide Centering and Integration Meditations and apply these skills to working with private clients and groups

  • Learn cutting edge techniques in group facilitation from a mindfulness perspective

  • Grow as a practitioner by understanding and releasing self-limiting beliefs, biases and judgments

  • Fall in love with yourself on the pristine beaches of Mexico while being held and supported in a community of like-minded professionals!

Bringing the Work Forward

The Center for Somatic Grieving works in partnership with our sister non-profit organization, Grief Support Network (GSN), to bring Community Circles to people from all walks of life seeking community and grief support on a local, national and global scale. In partnership, GSN and CSG bring our somatic, mindful approach to grieving to underserved communities and offers accessible, compassionate support for people regardless of their race, sexual orientation, income, gender, religion or spiritual beliefs. This training will provide you with grief education from a mindfulness perspective and support you to listen and support others in a way that gives to you or “feeds” you rather than “takes” from you. When we learn how to ground ourselves and become a clear vessel for love and acceptance to flow through us, then we can listen to others effectively without becoming depleted or burnt out. This is true both personally as well as professionally and requires us to cultivate a daily mindfulness practice to be grounded and centered when supporting others.

Our grief is a teacher and catalyst that can catapult us into the next level of our spiritual growth and purpose if we have the opportunity to feel it, express it and have it reflected back to us with total acceptance and love.


We invite you to join one of GSN's weekly Virtual Community Circles to personally experience the work before committing! You can learn more and add one to your calendar by clicking here

30 hour certification to facilitate Mindful Grieving Community Circles. No prerequisites required. All are welcome!!

Mar De Jade Retreat Center

Mar de Jade sits on the shores of Playa Chacala, a small Mexican fishing village with plenty of charm that still retains a traditional way of life. It has easy access to Puerto Vallarta International Airport, just 90 minutes south, yet feels worlds apart from the big tourist developments. The town and surrounding areas have much to offer: from jungle hikes, surfing, boating and ancient petroglyphs, to the simple pleasure of playing on the soft sand and swimming in the year-round warm ocean waters.

Chacala is the most pristine and picturesque bay in the Riviera Nayarit, with golden sand, coconut trees, and palapa (thatched-roof) restaurants along the shore, surrounded by tropical jungle mountainsides. Home to approximately 400 residents, the town’s unhurried lifestyle is complemented by the welcoming and friendly attitude of locals.

Take a dip in their large swimming pool, wading pool, or Jacuzzi nestled amidst banana trees, bougainvillea flowers, and palm trees. Watch the sunset over the ocean from a reclining beach chair or take a nap in a hammock under the shade of their thatched-roof palapa. Wander on the paths lining their tropical hotel grounds and visit our herb garden, then step right onto Chacala Beach for swimming, paddle-boarding, or kayaking.

On the Spa’s ground level amidst an exotic and quiet garden there is a large outdoor Jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool and chaise lounge chairs. On the second level, they have private treatment rooms with gorgeous jungle views where you can feel pampered with a relaxing massage. Therapeutic massage services include a variety of styles: Swedish, deep tissue, Thai-yoga, reflexology, among others. Their spa also offers beauty treatments including facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures.

Follow a secret path through palm trees to visit their Temazcal, an ancient Aztec sweat lodge, for a guided ceremony. This Mexican tradition has been kept alive since pre-Hispanic times as a means to purify the body and mind. The ceremony takes you through four puertas, or doors, representing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

Explore Chacala’s exuberant natural surroundings and immerse yourself in Mexico’s vibrant culture. Take advantage of the many opportunities for adventure, exploration, and learning available. Mar de Jad'es front desk staff will be happy to assist in planning your activities and excursions with local guides and co-ops.

"I have found the virtual community circle surprisingly potent for grief support. The format is simple and supports embodied participation and deep reflection. Often participants say that their friends and family no longer wish to hear about their loss; in this circle it is well understood that grief has no timeframe and tears of love spring often and unbidden.  Here we practice bearing witness to one another's experience and life force, and healing takes root. " - Julie Dolin, MA, LPC, Mindful Grieving Facilitator

Meet the Retreat Team
Wendy Stern_edited.jpg

Wendy Stern

Nancy Gruskay

Founder, Host + Lead Facilitator

Wendy Stern is the CEO of the Center for Somatic Grieving, founder of the Grief Support Network and certified yoga therapist residing in  Boulder CO with her husband and two daughters. She has a passion for travel, deep human connection and live music, which have offered a container for her to be present with herself through life’s joys and hardships.  Wendy believes that grief can serve as a powerful catalyst for personal growth and change if we are willing. Her work helps people to know their resilience - to feel their emotions in their bodies - to learn to trust in their inner knowing and receive the guidance that can only come from within.


Wendy has been a student and teacher of yoga for over 25 years, but it wasn’t until she went through a life shattering event that she came to know the importance of her practice. She lost her son, Noah, when he was 9 months old. This tragedy led her on a journey of self discovery and sparked a fire within her to create a movement that would bring people together to grieve in community creating greater connection, authenticity and support. Thus began the birth of the Grief Support Network and the Center for Somatic Grieving.


Before Wendy lost Noah , she had spent years helping others to explore, express and integrate experiences through the practices of yoga and body/mind exploration. In her private practice as a yoga therapist and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy faculty member, she witnessed the ways that thoughts, emotions and life traumas manifest through our bodies. With  a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, certification in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy,  500 + hours of yoga teacher training, reiki levels one and two and training to faciliate yoga therapy groups for grief support and self-empowerment, she had gathered the tools that would later support her to move through her grief and support others to do the same. Wendy's work has been informed and inspired by the teachings of Ram Dass, Shiva Rea, Twee Merrigan, Shannon Paige and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, interweaving personal reflection and group sharing into a grief focused, somatic curriculum. In 2007, when Noah passed away, Wendy's grief propelled her into a process of profound transformation, which has taught her to live with more joy and gratitude in her life.

Nancy’s passion is supporting young people in realizing their strengths and navigating life’s challenges. A dedicated Waldorf educator for 30 years, her gift has been developing deep and meaningful relationships with students and their families. With mastery of the developmental phases from birth to 17, her career also included educating and counseling parents on how to support their children and teens in school and at home.

Nancy got a crash course in grief and self-care when she, her mother and sister received cancer diagnoses the same year. She was presented with the challenge of taking care of her two young children, showing up for students, and being present for her sister and her mother who were also beginning cancer treatment. In time, Nancy lost her mother and sister to cancer; her father passed not long after. With little time to recover between losses, grief became a daily part of her life.

Nancy was grateful to find Awakening Through Grief, a six week yoga therapy program, which offered an embodied practice of feeling and staying in the moment. Grieving with others brought her closer to herself and the healing power of presence. She participated in GSN’s 9 month course, From Grief to Gratitude. Nancy completed the 200 hour RYT through Shambhava Yoga and completed GSN’s Mindful Grieving 200 Hour Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Program. She is honored to be a GSN Yoga Therapy Facilitator, helping others find peace through the journey of transformation. Her compassion, wisdom, and ability to listen deeply from the heart, make Nancy a trustworthy guide on the journey from grief to gratitude.


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