Retreat FAQ

Frequently asked questions about our annual, summer Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Retreat.

Registration FAQ

A bee in the Ecology Retreat Centre’s garden

How do I register and pay for the retreat fees?
You register for the retreat by filling out the form at the bottom of the Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Summer Retreat 2019 page on this website; you can click here to do that. The registration process asks you questions about you, your needs, preferences and meditation experience to better support your retreat experience. The registration links you to pay via PayPal or by emailing Bill the payment through Interac. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. We will send you an email containing your registration confirmation and receipt for payment. Our Pre-Retreat Manager, Justina, will follow up with emails about the next steps.

If you have any questions or difficulties with the registration or payment process, contact or

What is included in the retreat fees?
The retreat cost includes your room, meals, and faculty fees. Our retreat centre is located in the Hockley Valley near Mono, Ontario, in beautiful, forested rolling hills with lovely, potable spring-fed creeks. The retreat includes delicious organic and locally sourced meals and exclusive access to all the centre’s amenities such as the outdoor swimming pool, a labyrinth for walking meditation, open fields, a garden and fruit trees, hiking trails that connect with the Bruce Trail, and nightly campfire circles. The sound of trickling water from streams and ponds can be heard throughout the Centre including from our meditation hall.

Bill Gayner will give talks and lead whole group discussions. There will be opportunities to deepen your meditation practice through sharing and exploring your meditation experience in small groups or one-on-one meetings with Bill or one of the other faculty.

Participants have the option to attend daily yoga classes taught by certified yoga teachers on our faculty, Cleo Haber and Justina Zatzman.

Our retreat organization team provides a warm and personalized approach throughout the registration process right up to and including your on-site meditation retreat experience. We work to to ensure the most beneficial meditation experience for our retreatants, such as working with the chef to meet your food restriction and allergy needs and arrange transportation if needed.

How many people are in a shared room?
There will be a two-person maximum in each shared room.

Do you have a refund policy?
The amount we will refund depends on the date of your refund request and our ability to pay the Ecology Retreat Centre costs, part of which are non-refundable.

An 85% refund will be available up to June 19, 2019. Payments of $1100 will be refunded $935.5 and payments of $830 will be refunded $705.50.

Cancelations after June 20, 2019, will be refunded after the retreat and will depend on our ability to meet the minimum payments required in our contract with the Ecology Retreat Centre. We will refund as much as we can, up to 85% of payment.

If cancelations are made within two weeks of the retreat start date, and funds are permitting, we will refund up to 40% of the payment, depending on our ability to meet the minimum payments required in our contract with the ERC. Payments of $1100 CAD would be refunded up to $440 CAD, payments of $830CAD would be refunded up to $332 CAD.

Refunds on the reduced rate amount will be processed with the same dates and percentages as those listed in the previous three statements in this refund policy.

Retreat Centre Facilities FAQ

I have allergies or food sensitivities, can the retreat centre accomodate me?
If you have any environmental allergies or food sensitivies please include this information when you fill out the registration form or email Justina at with the details and we will coordinate with the retreat centre. Persons with food allergies and special diets will have different options at meal time.

Is the retreat centre accessible?
There are some accessibility considerations in place at the retreat centre including wheelchair ramps. It is a good idea to email our pre-retreat manager, Justina, with details about your needs so she can coordinate with the retreat centre staff to clarify specifics for you.

What is the best driving route to the Ecology Retreat Centre?
Please use the links and maps provided here to help you plan the best route.

Format & Schedule FAQ

Will there be any talking during this silent retreat?
Yes, there will be. There will be two meditation talks with discussion and Q&A periods each day. You will also have the opportunity to attend small group meetings to share and explore your meditation experience with Bill and other faculty. You can also arrange to meet individually with Bill, other faculty, or the onsite retreat manager if you have any questions or anything you would like to discuss.

I have not been to a meditation retreat before, what if I can’t do all the sittings?
Emotion-focused mindfulness is a gentle and open practice and this retreat is meant to support you in your practice wherever you are. While there are scheduled meditations throughout the day and a yoga session scheduled daily, the only required sessions are the two talks Bill gives each day. You are free to schedule your day whatever way best suits you. We encourage you to come to those meditation sittings that feel comfortable to you and to know that it is okay to rest and take a break when you need it. We also encourage you to talk to Bill or other faculty about your experience. They are available for one-on-one meetings to discuss your practice or any questions that might arise during the retreat.

I don’t practice emotion-focused mindfulness but I would like to attend your retreat, will I fit in?
If you are intrigued by some aspect of emotion-focused mindfulness and have some familiarity with meditation already, we think you will. We encourage meditators to practice in a way that is comfortable for them. We also support meditators to follow their curiosity and interests in meditation in a way that deepens their experiencing. We will talk more about this at the retreat, but if you would like to talk in advance of the retreat or before you register, we welcome the opportunity and encourage you to email Bill at We also recommend you explore the rest of the website and sign up for Bill’s weekly blog here to learn more about this approach.

I don’t meditate, would this retreat be a good way to learn to meditate?
Unfortunately, no, our experience has shown us that this retreat tends to be best suited to mental health professionals who have some familiarity with meditation, even if they don’t have a regular meditation practice. For an introduction to meditation, you would be better attending a non-residential EFMT workshop or course. You could sign up to receive Bill’s weekly newsletter by clicking here and you will be notified as soon as any of these kinds of events or courses are posted, or you could email Bill at to discuss this with him.

Packing and Preparing FAQ

I have not attended a meditation retreat before, what do I bring with me?
Details on both your personal packing list and a meditation supply packing list can be found here.

Please bring a combination of clothes and personal hygiene products as you would for a short trip away from home. Chairs will be provided, but you could bring a meditation pillow or mat or back support. In this style of meditation we journal the practice, so bring writing supplies such as a notebook or pad of paper and pens. (Some people use a digital device to journal. If you do that, just make sure you are able to do so silently.) For the retreat centre facilities, you may want to bring a bathing suit and towel for the outdoor pool, hiking boots for the trails, and bug spray for walks and nighttime fire circles. Indoor shoes or slippers are required for the dining hall.

What is supplied by the retreat centre and you do NOT need to bring: bath towel for the shower, bed linens, pillows, bed sheets, pillow covers and blankets.

Can I bring books and art supplies and other things to work on while I’m on retreat?
Yes, bring whatever you feel will support you while you are on this meditation retreat. Please put all electronic devices on silent (choose “silent” and not “vibrate”) to support your fellow retreatants in their meditation process. If you want to listen to something on an electronic device, a pair of headphones must be used to support the silent format of the retreat.

Art supplies, journals, writing, knitting, yoga can all be helpful and beneficial to supporting your retreat experience.

I need to bring my cellphone, is that okay?
Yes, certainly. Our only request is that you do not talk on your cell phone within ear shot of the other retreatants so as to support their meditation process. This means we would respectfully ask that you take a walk a distance from all the buildings, common areas, or frequently used pathways on the property to use your cell phone and also not use it in your bedroom at any time. The walls are thin and we will be in a peaceful natural environment where voice conversations can travel easily.

Otherwise, you are welcome to use digital devices for texting, taking notes and journalling, as long as all sound including vibrating is turned off and the sound of the keyboarding does not disturb others. Journalling is done in silence. If you are going to use a laptop to journal, and your keyboarding makes sounds, it would be helpful to step outside the hall so that the sound does not disturb others.