Frequently Asked Questions about the Gathering

Do I need to have already done Touch Drawing or other art forms to attend the Gathering?

You do not have to have experienced Touch Drawing to attend. We always begin the week with a basic introduction to the process. You do not need any artistic experience or even confidence to attend. But if you are an artist, it could open you to deeper sources in your work. Touch Drawing is not JUST an art technique, it is a transformative creative process. The Gathering attracts people with emotional maturity and spiritual openness, as well as willingness to engage in a range of creative and spiritual processes.

Is the Gathering a Facilitator Training?

Though not designed explicitly as facilitator training, the depth of the experience gives you a strong foundation upon which to integrate the process into your work. The Gathering empowers you to facilitate Touch Drawing in your own context. Small group meetings and lunchtime discussions will focus on areas of interest and issues of facilitation. Deborah is available for one-on-one conversation at mealtimes. Touch Drawing has powerful applications in a range of fields. If you are a therapist, educator, counselor, artist, social worker, intuitive, health practitioner, hospice worker, body worker, spiritual director, art teacher, healer, life coach, expressive arts facilitator or student in these fields, you are encouraged to attend. You may arrange for continuing education credit on your own through your professional affiliations.

How many people attend the Gathering?

We keep the number of participants below 30. A group this size can sit in a circle and see each other’s faces. This ‘circle’ experience contributes to the sense of wholeness of the retreat community. Small groups and partner sharing complement whole group interactions. Deborah is available for personal conversation at all breaks and mealtimes. Our drawing studio in Thomas Berry Hall is much more expansive than rooms used for most 30-person workshops. It offers ample psychic space for inward focus.

How do you do Touch Drawing for five and a half days? How is this different from shorter Touch Drawing workshops or retreats?

A six-day format allows participants to explore many aspects of Touch Drawing not possible in a shorter retreat or workshop. The program builds through a range of Touch Drawing experiences: We begin with deeply private and personal drawing and reflection. We then open to relational Touch Drawing practices, like drawing intuitively for a partner. Much of one day is spent in silence, communing with nature through Touch Drawing. Later in the week we draw in the labyrinth and invoke a more expansive transpersonal and planetary focus. Other sacred expressive art forms such as movement, music, writing and ritual help open channels of expression and integrate our images. There is time to color and mount drawings. We pack a lot in. Read a more in depth description of the facets of the Gathering here.

Why would I return to Gathering?

Many who return to Gathering say the experience becomes richer and deeper each time. Whether or not you’ve continued to practice Touch Drawing on your own, nothing compares to the experience within the sacred space of Gathering. Deborah is continually refining her facilitation skills and tends her own personal spiritual development; each year she offers new depth and insight. You’ll also appreciate a joyous sense of reunion with kindred souls who notice and celebrate each other’s growth and transformations. The bonding between participants is profound and very special. Some people return year after year, forming a core of Touch Drawing “elders” who generously share their varied expertise. Others return now and then for renewed inspiration.

If I am flying in, how do I get from the airport to the center and back?

Whidbey Island is about 40 miles north of the airport with a twenty-minute ferry ride to the Island. Reserve a flight to SEATAC International Airport near Seattle in Washington State. We’ll connect you to a shuttle service that takes you from the airport, onto the ferry, and to a stop near the retreat center. We’ll pick you up there. See the full Seatac Shuttle schedule. Also check out the new Everett PAE Airport, 10 minutes from the Mukilteo Ferry. Registration open at 1pm on opening day. Dinner is served at 6pm and our opening session is at 7pm. Please arrive having had lunch. Coffee, tea and nnacks will be available.

Here are arrival options if you are flying into Seatac:

• Arrive Seatac by 9:30, catch 10:30 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 12:20.
• Arrive Seatac by 11:30, catch 12:30 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 2:20.
• Arrive Seatac by 1:30, catch 2:30 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 4:20.

Here are departure options if you are flying out:
The closing session Saturday  afternoon is a vital part of the experience. Please do not plan to leave us before 3pm. We hope stay for our glorious sunset dinner at the beach. You could squeak on to a 7:15 shuttle if you have to get to a red eye flight. You also have the option to extend your stay through Sunday, and come to Deborah’s front porch for breakfast. Explore the beautiful seaside town of Langley or the beach before departing. 
You can take a local cab to a Saturday shuttle. We will send further details when we confirm your registration.

What is lodging like for Gathering?

The atmosphere is homey and comfortable. Private and double rooms are small. All bedrooms have shared bathrooms. We have cabins with beautiful shared baths, and other cabins with walk-to bath houses. There are two main lodging facilities: the Farmhouse is near to the main meeting hall, a 2-minute walk on graveled path. “Granny’s” is a converted home a lovely 1/4 mile walk or drive away. It has rooms on the ground floor. The rooms in Granny’s are larger and the accommodations quieter than the Farmhouse. None of the buildings have air conditioning. Evenings are rarely hot but electric fans cool us nicely when needed. We are on 106 pristine acres and do not share the dining room with any other group. More about the sleeping accommodations.

What is the weather like?

In July on Whidbey Island, temperatures may range from 65F to 85F. You’ll notice 2010 pictures on the website show people in layers of fleece, but in 2009 we had a rare heat wave with temps in the 90’s. We were running through sprinklers! We never know, so bring layers to be prepared for all weather.

Map of retreat center, trails
& lodging locations.

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