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 whole days? How is this different from shorter Touch Drawing workshops or retreats?

A five-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 to the airport at the end?

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.

Registration begins at 3pm on opening day. Dinner is served at 5:30 and our opening session is at 7pm.

Here are arrival options if you are flying in:
• Arrive Seatac by 11:45, catch 12:45 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 2:20.
• Arrive Seatac by 1:45, catch 2:45 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 4:20.
• Arrive Seatac by 3:45, catch 4:45 shuttle. Arrive on Whidbey Island at the Langley stop by 6:20. 

Here are departure options if you are flying out:
The closing session Friday morning is a vital part of the experience. Please do not plan to leave us before noon. We hope you can enjoy a relaxed lunch at noon. You are also invited to extend your stay through Friday. Explore the beautiful seaside town of Langley or the beach Friday afternoon and join us for a front-porch pizza dinner at Deborah’s house in the evening. This year, you can add an extra night’s stay at the retreat center. 

• Leave retreat center after lunch and catch the 1:10pm shuttle that gets you to the airport by 2:30pm. Earliest recommended flight departure 4:00pm.
• If you stay for the pizza dinner, we can drive you to the 8:10pm shuttle. It arrives at the airport at 9:30pm. You can take a red-eye or arrange for the shuttle to drop you at hotel near the airport and take an early flight out.
• Join us for the front-porch pizza dinner and stay overnight in a Langley B&B or motel. You can take a local cab to a Saturday morning shuttle. We will send further details to help you find the shuttle, as well as driving directions to the retreat center when we confirm your registration.

What is lodging like for Gathering?

The atmosphere is homey and comfortable. Most bedrooms are double occupancy. Many are small, quite unlike a hotel room along the freeways. All bedrooms have shared bathrooms. We have three cabins with bath houses that are shared with the campers. 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 100 pristine acres and do not share the dining room with any other group. More about the sleeping accommodations. 

What is the weather like for Gathering?

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.


Here is a map
of the retreat center, showing trails
& lodging locations.

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