You hold sacred fire!

This is now. Now is,
all there is. Don’t wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.
— Rumi

Where do you feel the elemental presence of fiery nature?

When we as humans get bogged down into our complex modern work and relational lives, it’s easy to lose track of the passionate essence of our unique human selves, least of all the powerful creative force arising through the volcanic core of this beautiful Earth.

What is ‘your place’ in our Earth community?

Mystery offers each of us a unique soul place, a unique Self to serve this planet. There is so much to learn when we stop and pay attention to how life speaks in each moment, and sometimes in the most difficult seasons, we learn most through fire’s destructive power. Each of us humans, each species of breathing creature, each solid core of rock, we all are imprinted at birth and morphed throughout our lives by the divine force of fire’s creativity.

I call this passionate yearning to belong, to know our place inside and out on this universe –

our sacred soul fire.


photo @Daniel Kortsch

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
— Frederick Douglass
[Collage] Doug Van Houten©

[Collage] Doug Van Houten©


Upcoming Retreats

“May we discover the gift of the fire burning in the inner chamber of our being - burning great and bright…

May we be forgiven for what we have forgotten and blessed with the remembrance of who we really are.”

-From the Terma Collective

©Doug Van Houten

©Doug Van Houten


with Carol Kortsch
Rocky Mountain EcoDharma Retreat Center,

near Boulder, CO
Nov 1-3, 2019

a Courage & Renewal Circle of Trust® for Women

Calling together a woman’s circle for all ages - rediscovering and fanning the sacred fire within that has been forgotten, neglected, and though close to cultural extinction, has always been there!

Our learning will be done together in large group, small group and solitary settings, through poetry, story-telling, and especially wandering the beautiful wild land of the Rocky Mountains.


with Valerie Brown and Carol Kortsch

Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico
November 10-15, 2019

Based on the work of Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, this retreat designed for spiritual directors, explores issues of transition, vocation, relationship, life passion, purpose, and the unfolding stirrings of Spirit. Through reflection and connection, we examine some of our underlying patterns, the ways we live in alignment with our deepest values and the courage to act with integrity and authenticity. We welcome people from diverse faith traditions, racial and ethnic identities, genders, ages, abilities, and spiritual practices to join us for this retreat.


Join Us

For those who wish to stop and listen more deeply to Earth’s ways, to let our lives speak, to continue to grow and change in a circle of trusting companions.



Courage & Renewal

 Our mission is to create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.

Distrust, stress, isolation, and burnout are robbing society of what’s possible when people bring integrity and humanity to the places where they live and work.

As a result, we are losing competent and compassionate individuals in some of society’s most crucial roles—educating children, caring for patients, serving congregations, leading teams and organizations, and fostering civic community. The costs are substantial as once-committed people lose their sense of purpose and passion, grow disillusioned and disengaged, and eventually drop out.

To create a more just and compassionate world—and sustain the leadership we need for such a world — we need more people who can work together to solve pressing, complex problems. Responsibility can no longer rest solely with designated leaders. It requires all of us to claim our leadership roles and responsibilities.

Courage & Renewal programs cultivate the heart and soul of leadership, encouraging people to “lead from within.”

The Center for Courage & Renewal and its growing global network of Courage & Renewal Facilitators help people lead lives of courage and integrity by offering online resources, in-person retreats and personal/professional development programs. Our Facilitators lead programs using the Circle of Trust® approach, based on the work of author and activist Parker J. Palmer.  See more about the Center’s history.


In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
— Albert Schweitzer
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


What is ‘your place’ on this Earth?

This is a difficult question for a global citizen!

If you are anything like me it might be complicated to respond with one word! Instead, here’s a gallery of all those beings that have offered me a living experience of who we are as Earth community, in the web of our interconnected world. Most of these images came from my recent Stonehaven garden in Pennsylvania.

Enjoy this colorful conversation with life as I have experienced it.