Deep Rest Retreats: Finding Stillness Amid Disruption
Please note: As of July 15, 2021, we are opening reservations to retreats of three nights or longer. We are moving away from the Deep Rest model of a seven-night minimum, but we will continue to adhere to vigilant safety measures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The exact practices or recommendations below may no longer apply.
As we have all deepened into the “new normal” of a global pandemic, we have also witnessed a renewed uprising around the persistent racial inequality in our nation and in our world. As the GilChrist team reflected on both the need for safety and emotional support during a pandemic and the need for personal renewal to support social change, we have decided to take a break for a period of time from the busyness of short-term retreats to specialize in supporting longer solo retreats called Deep Rest Retreats.
Our cabins are now open for Deep Rest Retreats of seven nights or longer, and we are glad to reserve Deep Rest Retreats through December of 2021.
We will continue to assess the progression of COVID-19, vaccination rates, and new scientific data as it becomes available, and we may adjust our plans accordingly.
In a time of high anxiety and persistent uncertainty, creating space for our guests to enter into longer retreats provides intentional support for the emotional and spiritual work of such times. The ecosystem of land, buildings, and beings at GilChrist has been designed for this kind of support and our team embraces the opportunity to continue offering this gift to our community in this new context with thoughtful precautions for safety and hospitality.
COVID-19 Safety Practices & Expectations
In order to ensure safety during a time of pandemic for both our staff and guests, we will depend to an extremely high degree on mutual trust and accountability. It’s in everyone’s best interests to prevent the spread of infection and the deeper we get into this public health crisis, the more consensus there is for best practices. In this spirit, we ask our guests to commit to:
- Consider what support you need for an extended solo retreat. A week alone in a cabin in the woods can be immensely life-giving, but it can also be a deeply challenging emotional and spiritual experience. Please give some thought to what you need for support, including scheduled times to talk with a friend, therapist, or spiritual guide. Our adapted Deep Rest reservation form will ask you to share if you need any support from our staff for your retreat, including spiritual guidance, meditation support, or casual phone check-ins.
- Retreat by yourself or with someone from your immediate household. The focus of the Deep Rest retreats is to drink deeply from the practice of solitude. For your safety and that of our staff, if you do decide to retreat with another person, please do so only with a member of your immediate household. Guests are welcome to split a week of retreat in a cabin between household members, if shorter solo retreats for each member are desired.
- Prepare to minimize movement. We ask guests to bring all that is needed in order to be able to remain on the GilChrist grounds during retreat, including groceries and personal items. If you’re driving in from a distance, consider purchasing groceries from your home region. If you need assistance acquiring something during your retreat, GilChrist staff may be able to assist you.
- Please bring a mask. Our collective learning over the past months shows that coronavirus transmission is significantly reduced when both parties wear face masks covering their noses and mouths, especially indoors. In case there’s a need for close contact with another person, please bring a homemade cloth or other mask. We will have a few extras on hand if needed.
- Observe safe check-in procedures. Normally, our staff would escort a guest to your cabin with your belongings in a golf cart. In order to maintain physical distancing requirements, a staff person will meet guests in the main parking lot at their designated arrival time to offer instructions and support from a physical distance or by phone. Guests are responsible for transporting your own belongings to and from your cabin with the help of the golf cart or wagon located in the main parking lot. Cabins are a few minutes’ walk from the main parking lot. If mobility issues prevent you from transporting your own belongings, please do let us know and we’ll gladly work with you to come up with a mutually agreeable plan.
- Maintain proper physical distancing. Please leave at least a six-foot distance between yourself and other staff and guests when you encounter others outdoors. At this time, there is no guest access to shared indoor spaces like WindHill or the Yoga Loft. Instead:
- Guest wifi is now available outdoors around WindHill.
- An emergency landline phone is mounted on the outside of the main office by the garage service door.
- An outdoor campfire area is located by the upper pond near WindHill.
- Observe safe check-out procedures. While we ask guests to clean your cabin thoroughly as usual on departure, we request that you leave the bed unmade and do not put out fresh towels at this time. Please leave the green bag with your used laundry on the front porch of your cabin when you depart. We also ask guests to be prepared to transport your own belongings to your vehicle in the main parking lot on departure. If you need assistance due to mobility issues, please let us know and we’ll be glad to work out a helpful, safe process for your departure.
- Pay what you can. Knowing this is a time of financial strain for many, we continue to extend our pay-what-you-can policy. Individuals who choose to do so are welcome to take on an outdoor volunteer project at GilChrist in exchange for their stay.
- Stay home if you are sick or notify us if you become sick. If guests develop signs of illness while on retreat or within two weeks after returning home, we ask that you kindly notify our staff so we can take proper precautions based on the circumstances.
- Hold somewhat loosely to your cabin assignment and reservation. In the event that the infection risk changes at GilChrist or at a county, state, or national level, we may need to cancel reservations. We will notify you as soon as possible of any changes to your reservation.
Safe Practices Commitments from the GilChrist Team
GilChrist staff commits to remain informed and nimble to address issues and questions as they arise with a balance of safety and hospitality. In addition to supporting thoughtful adaptations for our guests, the GilChrist team will continue to practice safety to prevent the spread of infection, including:
- Working from home to the degree possible, with health screening for on-site workers.
- Strictly segregated indoor work spaces, with careful communication and transfer of necessary supplies from one space to another and cloth face masks on the rare occasion necessary work requires sharing indoor space.
- Physical distancing for outdoor work, with cloth face masks on the rare occasion that necessary work requires individuals to be fewer than six feet apart.
- Frequent hand-washing and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.
- Following recommended safety practices for ourselves and our households based on current state and CDC guidelines.
- Observing specific, strategic cleaning practices for cabin turnovers, including one week of down time between guests and thorough sanitizing processes.
- Immediate notification and work stoppage for anyone who shows symptoms or becomes aware of potential exposure.