The Big Listen

The Big Listen

Retreat Dates: 4th - 10th November 2018

Location: Oikia Karapanou, Aegina Island, Greece

Tuition Costs: Euros 350, Early Bird Rate Euros 300. Bursaries available for Greek participants

We called this The Big Listen because to really listen has magic and by doing so we are able to find our True North.

Whether it's listening for the call of the forest or for the myths of our lives, giving our full attention to each other, and then not forgetting ourselves, "being at home when you call, not having somewhere to rush off to, sitting and letting your anxious hands settle against your quivering body, breathing in the green all around, even in the city..."

This programme weaves together Wilderness Practices including The Fours Shields, Way of Council and solo time in nature (The Medicine Walk) with mindfulness and heart practices from the Buddhist tradition. This will all be held within our emphasis of embodiment which values the importance of relaxing, down-time and play. To be embodied suggests to 'be at home', to be present and alive to our felt experience, to both the 'heart' and the 'guts' of us.

There is little doubt that many of us long for a deeper sense of community and belonging to our the world. Spending solo time on the land is a time honoured tradition passed down from all our ancestors. These practices open us to the deep wisdom of nature, often-times profoundly affects our sense of belonging and planting seeds of awe and wonder in our hearts. What happens there does not belong to rationality but instead to the world of myth, dream, poetry and archetype. And what can we do when we are there?

In the words of Martin Shaw we, "Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Listen. Go for a walk. Let in. Then you fight like a lion for what you can affect, and you surrender the rest".

The Big Listen will be facilitated by two experienced and dedicated wilderness guides, Werner Pilz and Natasha Lythgoe.

Natasha also goes by the name Nagadipa, this is a Buddhist name given to her when she was ordained five years ago. It means 'light in the depths'.


A window into our time together...

We'll begin each morning with meditation or mindful bodywork. Mid mornings will be set aside for soulful story telling, making time to listen to what has purchase on our hearts, using the Way of Council model.

The afternoons will involve working with nature-based practices in the beautiful landscapes surrounding Oikia Karapanou. These tools and techniques alongside supporting contemplative self reflection, invite a deeper conversation between our most authentic selves and the wisdom found in nature.

The evenings will be set aside for integrating the threads of our days. To support this we will explore creativity and play through night swimming, dancing, walking with the full moon and other activities.

At the heart of the process there will be an opportunity to be alone with your own true self and wild nature, on the beautiful Moni Island (the Dragon Island as Gigi Coyle named it). The ‘solo’ is a rich and often unforgettable experience practiced by peoples throughout time.

Landmarks of this journey will be nature connection activities, meditations, way of council, the 4 shields of human nature, mirror of nature, body awareness, dance and a constant flow of exploration surrounded by clear blue Aegean sea, olive groves and volcanic rock.

If you'd like to know more do feel free to get in touch. We're both happy to have a conversation about the details of this programme and our approach.

Travel & Accommodation

Only an hour by boat from Athens, Oikia Karapanou is a beautiful 19th century mansion, surrounded by a huge garden close to the sea. It has ben restored to provide an atmosphere of peace and inspiration.

Oikia Karapanou offers Half Board Accommodation (Breakfast & Supper) at 48 Euros per night.

Please note that accommodation is costed separately from the tuition fees.

Travel to and from Oikia Karapanou is very straight forward. From the Port of Piraeus in Athens you catch a ferry to the Island of Aegina and from here you can choose to walk, take a bus or a taxi.

Werner Pilz is a Vision Quest guide and Wilderness Facilitator. He trained with the School of Lost Borders and has been guiding Vision Quests and facilitating Way of Council for ten years. He is a member of the German Speaking Wilderness Guides Network and has been working within this organisation for approximately twelve years. He is also a proud father of two twenty year old blossoming women.

For more information about Werner please check out his website:


Natasha Lythgoe/Nagadipa is a professionally trained teacher, a Post Graduate Fine Artist, an ordained Buddhist and a Mindfulness teacher. She has worked as a prison Buddhist chaplain and co-led many retreats. She has been guiding groups and individuals in arts/mindfulness since 2004, and in the great outdoors as a nature based facilitator and guide since 2013.

She will be forever grateful to Annie Bloom (former lead guide at Animas Valley Institute) with whom she trained for wilderness guiding. She has a passion for workshops that explore deepening relationships and authenticity – with our selves and each other in response to the landscape: transforming our understanding of community and the places where we live (sometimes resulting in radically shifting how we choose to walk through this world, whether that is to live and work quietly in small arenas or very publicly on grand stages). She loves to do this outdoors through experiencing play, engaging the deep imagination, mindfulness and embodiment practices.

Nagadipa is her given Buddhist name. It means light in the depths.

  • "Re-wilding the Artist's Way" has been fundamentally the most soul nourishing thing I have ever done for myself. It has led me on a journey of self-discovery, self-appreciation and courage. I long for being in the wilderness like never before, and notice the peace and feeling of being alive that it brings me. Natasha is patient, encouraging and very human in the way she leads this course and I am forever grateful to her.
  • It's great to have quality teaching which is accessible and close to home. Natasha is obviously a gifted facilitator. She ran the session creatively with a varied tempo which held my attention and seemed to draw from a wide range of teachings. In just a few hours, I feel re-inspired with my own practice and wanting more of this kind of thing.
  • Thank you for a wonderful evening. The part with the trees in the darkness was amazing! It which gave me a much needed nature boost, and a new relationship - with tree. Natasha was knowledgeable, but also relaxed, caring and playful. She held the space and the group with a good mix of strength and flexibility. I have learnt to appreciate Stanmer Park (my local wild space) in a new and deeper way. The feeling and new awareness from this event will stay with me. Thank you
  • Natasha's incredible skills in transformative learning, using a gentle-and-yet-strong approach are so rare, I feel very lucky to have experienced this.
  • It's completely different to anything I have ever done - and I can't believe it. Nature, I feel is an integral place to creativity and with so much busyness around and everywhere, it is amazing and vital to restore myself through being out and exploring creativity outdoors in the wild.
  • There's a peace and openness that you get from studying outdoors that I haven't experienced before. Thanks Natasha
  • I know that participating in this course is me being in exactly the right place at the right time
  • Natasha is amazing at what she does. She manages to combine fun with all kinds of ways of seeing into you and getting you to keep your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds, and follow your dreams.
  • Thanks for this evening. Even though it was freezing cold, it was a magical evening.
  • Natasha brings a light touch and embodied wisdom to the serious work of transformation.
  • Thanks for EVERYTHING. You've been a truly inspiring, loving, and supportive mentor.  Don't ever stop doing what you do so well.
  • Natasha is an absolute mistress of holding space. She holds space really really well. She’s very intuitive in the sense of not having a rigid structure for what we are going to do but just feels what everybody needs in the groups session and comes up with the most perfect exercises just when they are needed.
  • Natasha's course is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with our creative selves and our natural surroundings at the same time.  Being outside gave the space, for self-expansion needed, to be able to reconnect with my creativity.