Category Archives: Compassion

Retreat with Mark Yaconelli and Anne Lamott

Practicing Compassion: A Personal Retreat is for anyone who wants to deepen their capacity to respond to difficult people, divisive issues, and destructive emotions from a more grounded and graceful place. The event will be led by author and veteran retreat leader Mark Yaconelli, based on his work as co-founder of the Center for Engaged Compassion. The day will include a combination of presentation, contemplative exercises, and group discussion. The retreat will feature a morning conversation with author Anne Lamott on the inner work of compassion.

Retreat participants will increase their ability to receive compassion, cultivate skills for practicing self-compassion, and learn how to identify and transform difficult emotions. The event is ideal for parents, teachers, spouses, social workers, nonprofit leaders, activists, and anyone who wants to increase their capacity to heal suffering in self, others, and the world.

Sponsored by United Way of Jackson County and Rogue Valley Manor and part of The Finding Our Way Conference.

Date & Time: 9:00-4:00pm Saturday, April 28 (12:00-1:00pm lunch break)

Venue: Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Cost: $45 workshop fee

Tickets available at



Finding Our Way: A Community Exploration of Compassion featuring Anne Lamott April 26-28

The Hearth presents three days of public workshops, facilitated discussions, and story gatherings focused on practicing compassion-based skills within our personal and public life. The featured attraction of the conference will be a Friday evening talk and Saturday morning conversation with celebrated author Anne Lamott. For full schedule and tickets go here.

The Hearth presents “The Kindness of Strangers.” Six local residents will share a true tale of transformation inspired by kindness. Tellers include Bill Rauch, Marjorie Trueblood-Gamble, and others. Hosted by Mark Yaconelli. 7:00-9pm at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, OR. $5 donation to benefit the Ashland Food Bank.

9:00-10:30am “Finding Our Way with Racial Differences.” A community conversation on race in Southern Oregon facilitated by Adam Davis of Oregon Humanities and Marjorie Trueblood-Gamble from Southern Oregon University. Held at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Ashland, OR. FREE

11:00am-12:30pm “Finding Our Way with the Unhoused.” A community conversation on homelessness, transciency, the housed and unhoused in Southern Oregon. Facilitated by Oregon Humanities. Held at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Ashland, OR. FREE

2:00-5:00pm. Various workshops around the city of Ashland on the practice of compassion. Locations and workshops TBA. FREE

7:30-9:00pm. “Rediscovering Mercy: An Evening with Anne Lamott.” Celebrated author Anne Lamott will give a talk based on her latest book Hallelujah Anyways followed with Q & A and book signing. Held at the SOU Music Recital Hall in Ashland, OR. $25 general admission. $35 reserved seating. Tickets available at and Bloomsbury Books in Ashland beginning February 1.

9:00am to 4:00pm. “Practicing Compassion: A Practical Retreat.” Led by Mark Yaconelli including a morning conversation with Anne Lamott on the inner work of compassion. $45. Held at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Ashland, OR. Tickets available through and at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland beginning February 1.

Blues Pilgrimage February 18-20

I run a community storytelling project here in Ashland, Oregon. Next month we will travel to Portland, Oregon to explore our experiences of loss through storytelling and blues music. There is still space available. The event happens Wednesday, February 18 (beginning with dinner) and ends Friday, Februry 20th at lunch. The trip will be a mixture of beautiful settings, soulful music, good food, and sharing stories of grief and loss within a safe and compassionate group. If you would like to go send an email (“I’m going!”) to by January 30th. Space is limited. The rest of the information is below.

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The Global Gathering in Mexico

global gathering

My wife and I went on our first Mexico house-building trip with Amor Ministries as college students in 1985. The trip opened my eyes to the suffering of families who live on the Mexican side of the California/Mexico border. Many of these families have traveled north not only to find better opportunities for their families, but also to escape oppressive and violent governments within their home countries  ( Guatemala, Honduras. El Salvador). On that first trip my wife and I made friends with Victoria, a woman in her mid-sixties who was raising her grand-kids in a chicken-wire, cardboard, and blue tarp shack while her daughter and son-in-law picked strawberries in California. That trip taught me about the economic and global injustice of our present world, as well as the beauty, creativity, and resiliency of Mexican and Central American people. Mostly, I remember feeling the similarities between the families I met in shanty towns along the Mexican border. These were families with parents who loved their children just as much as families in the U.S., families who were seeking a better life for their children, just like any family would in the U.S.

I am so ashamed of the anger, resentment, and vitriol directed toward immigrants seeking a better life in America just as my immigrant Italian and Scottish ancestors did. Particularly, when this latest surge of immigrants involves high numbers of children.

This coming January, Amor is hosting it’s first Global Gathering for college-age young people who are seeking to begin working to create a different world. Young people will gather from across the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to not only talk about a new world, but actually begin building.  I hope you can join us. The motto for this event is: “Bringing Young People Together to Disrupt The World.” I have the opportunity to lead contemplative prayer at morning and evening gatherings. To learn more go here.

The Power of Personal Storytelling


I will be leading a three day workshop on “The Power and Practice of Personal Storytelling” at Austin Theological Seminary, October 6-8. We’ll look at strategies for creating public storytelling events based on The Hearth here in Ashland, Oregon. On the evening of October 7th we’ve rented out Austin’s historic live music restaurant/dive Threadgills where participants will tell stories around the theme “Love Hurts.” Hope you can make it to the training or the public storytelling event.  More information here

Compassion Retreat in Ashland, Oregon April 11-13

The Story of Compassion is a two day retreat exploring our experience and practice of compassion. Sponsored by The Hearth, space is limited to 10 people up on the Greensprings (30 minutes outside of Ashland, Oregon) with private rooms, simple meals, silence, meditation, and exercises in compassionate living. Program, food, and housing is $360. This is an inter-religious (including no religion) retreat. All the info is below. Hope you can join us. Email me if you are interested.


On April 11-13, The Hearth will hold a 2 day retreat on the 500 wooded acres of the Oregon Extension on the  Greensprings (30 minutes outside of Ashland, Oregon) with private rooms, simple meals, silence, and exercises that invite you to explore your lifestory in a way that helps you deepen your capacity for compassionate living. Program, food, and housing is $360. This retreat will involve a series of narrative, reflective,  and contemplative exercises. All the info is below. Space is limited. Hope you can join us. Email Mark at if you are interested.


The Story of Compassion is for people who want to grow in their understanding, experience, and practice of compassion. Based on research at the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont Lincoln University, the retreat is designed to be transformative, but simultaneously pragmatic in teaching concrete skills–learnable processes, practices, and perspectives for individuals, social justice activists, parents, spouses, organizational leaders, and anyone else who wants to grow and deepen their experience of engaged compassion. This is an inter-religious (including non-religious, agnostic) program.

The retreat will be a mixture of presentation, practice, and discussion. Participants will:

*Enlarge their capacity for receiving compassion

*Cultivate skills for practicing self-compassion

*Learn how to the story of their own difficult emotions (rage, depression, fear, etc.)

*Discover stories that free their capacity to heal suffering in self, others, and institutions.

The retreat will be led by author, retreat leader, and Co-Founder of the Center for Engaged Compassion Mark Yaconelli. Mark is the founder and director of The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks, a community-building project produced in Ashland, Oregon, in which a diverse group of community members tell true stories around a particular theme.

Where: The Oregon Extension on the Greensprings (twenty miles east of Ashland, Oregon on hwy 66). Surrounded by 500 acres of pristine Cascade wilderness

When: The retreat begins 5pm, Friday, April 11th and ends at 12pm, Sunday, April 13th.

Housing: Private rooms double occupancy cabin with woodstove, bathroom, and kitchen.

Food: Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, and Saturday dinner are included in the price. Participants will be responsible for their own breakfasts (full kitchen is provided). Coffee and tea will be available.

Cost: Price is $360 per person and includes two nights housing, meals listed above, retreat program and one private session of one-on-one consultation. There is a sliding scale available as well as opportunities to help work at the retreat to offset costs. Email Mark for more information (see below).

To Register: Email Mark Yaconelli at

Radical Compassion in Preston, Lancashire UK

Here is the information/flyer for the May 11th workshop I’ll lead in Preston. I don’t know what “taster” means in British-speak. I’ve received word that musician David Lamotte will be joining me. Hope you can make it.


Mark Yaconelli in Preston – 11 May 2014

Mark Yaconelli is hosting a one-day taster session of his Radical Compassion Course in Preston this May.
In 2012, two Greenbelters Rev Bryony Davis and Andy Pratt joined Mark in California at the Claremont School of Theology to take part in the full course, which seeks to heal broken people and communities through contemplation, creativity and compassion.
The one-day taster session starts with a church service, featuring a talk from Mark, followed by lunch, and then a series of exercises to “help participants develop their capacity to be radically compassionate”.
Here’s more on the workshop:

The workshop is ideal for ministers, organisational leaders, social justice activists, teachers, parents, and anyone who seeks practical training in compassionate living. Individuals who attend the workshop will: Develop skills for self-compassion; Learn how to identify and transform difficult emotions; Develop techniques for relating to colleagues, clients, friends, family members, and even enemies with genuine compassion; Understand how to participate in social actions that confront injustice from a grounded place of truth rather than reactive anger.

The cost of the day is £25, including food and refreshments. For more information and to book a place, contact Andrew Pratt at