August 2016 Retreat Information

Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Retreat - August 25 to 28, 2016 Ecology Centre

Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Retreat with Bill Gayner

Thursday August 25 to Sunday August 28

Ecology Retreat Centre


This four-day silent retreat will introduce newer meditators to a meditation practice that is gentle and open from the outset, as well as support experienced meditators in bringing more awareness, interest, and compassion to their inner world.

Emotion-Focused Mindfulness (EFM) is a way of developing self-compassionate awareness through mindfulness. This mindfulness approach uses Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) to integrate Recollective Awareness Meditation and emotional processes. EFM enhances mindfulness teachers’ therapeutic presence including their ability to follow and facilitate meditators’ emotional processes when they are reporting their meditation practice. It also enriches the meditators’ own experience and process of navigating difficult thoughts and emotions in meditation and life. For example, you will learn how we can enhance our ability to experience and respond to emotions by reflecting on our bodily experience and on how and what we are thinking about. In other meditation practices, you actually interrupt emotional processes when putting thoughts aside to concentrate on bodily sensations.

Recollective Awareness Meditation is grounded in the Theravada Buddhist Vipassana tradition, the tradition that inspired Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, the most popular forms of clinical mindfulness. Vipassana emphasizes being present with the breath and other bodily sensations, especially at the outset. Recollective Awareness Meditation, however, emphasizes learning ways of being with and exploring thoughts and emotions, as well as bodily experience.

Emotion-Focused Mindfulness highlights how Recollective Awareness can help us better navigate emotions in meditation, decreasing suffering, increasing happiness, and empowering us to live more deeply valued lives. Rather than feeling better, the emphasis is on getting better at feeling, so that our feelings help us better navigate our lives.

Recollecting your meditative experiences after the meditation sittings is an important aspect of the Recollective Awareness approach, and journaling is encouraged, but not required. The meditation practice is done in silence, it is not guided. There is full permission to practice other forms of meditation, as well as coaching in how to loosen up around meditation instructions by cultivating self-compassion and exploring what works for you based on your experience in meditation.

There will be several meditation sittings a day, ranging from 20 to 40 minutes long, with time for journaling afterward. Bill will be giving one talk in the morning and another each afternoon, and there will be two discussion periods each day. He will provide small group interviews, as well as opportunities for individual interviews about your meditation practice.

Additional small group and individual interviews will be provided by four mental health professionals Bill has trained and supervised in leading Emotion-Focused Mindfulness groups: Cleo Haber, Rodelyn Wisco and Justina Zatzman are social workers and Paul Uy has just completed his psychiatric residency.

Bill G Photo 2Bill Gayner, BSW, MSW, RSW, has practiced meditation for over 30 years. He had been teaching and researching mindfulness-based approaches for about a decade when he encountered Recollective Awareness Meditation in 2010. Jason Siff trained and mentored him as a Recollective Awareness teacher for over five years. Bill transposed this learning and exploration into a psychological context, developing a new psychotherapeutic modality, Emotion-Focused Mindfulness.

Bill teaches mindfulness to hospital patients and staff and mental health professionals. He is a clinical social worker at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto; an Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto; and the course director for Mindful Psychotherapy in the Mount Sinai Psychotherapy Institute.    Click here for more information.


Thursday August 25, 2016 4pm  to Sunday August 28, 2016 1pm


Ecology Retreat Centre


308046 Hockley Road Mono, Ontario L9W 6N2

Retreat Centre Website:


a) Teachings:

The teachings are offered on a donation basis.

b) Room and meal fees (Retreat fees):

Retreat fees include accommodation and snacks and meals.  There will be three meals on both Friday and Saturday, dinner on Thursday evening and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

  • Single room $525CAD ($400USD)   *SINGLES ARE NOW SOLD OUT  – You can request to be put on the waitlist for a single room and if one becomes available it will be offered to you.   
  • Shared room $400CAD per person ($300USD per person)
  • Reduced Rate can be requested for those in financial hardship.

Your Retreat Contacts and Organizers


Pre-Retreat Management will be conducted by Kami and Justina Zatzman.  Kami is taking your registration requests, updates our retreat website and is working with Ecology Retreat Centre staff to ensure our retreat needs are met.  Justina will be following up with retreatants on special needs identified, dietary restrictions, organizing rides for those who need them and helping ensure our group needs are met.  Please contact Kami at and Justina at

The On-Site Retreat Manger will be Cleo Haber.  Cleo will take care of all of your needs during the four days of the retreat at the Ecology Retreat Centre.  Cleo is in close contact with the pre-retreat managers to ensure she remains aware of your needs identified during the registration process.  During the meditation retreat Cleo will be available to meet with you to help address any of your questions and concerns regarding accommodations, supplies, scheduling or any identified aspect of the meditation retreat experience.  Cleo will also be working closely with the Ecology Retreat Centre staff to support the group through the four day retreat experience.

The Retreat Teacher will be Bill Gayner.  Bill will be giving meditation talks during the retreat, conducting group meetings and also available for one on one meetings during the retreat.   If you would like to contact Bill in advance of the retreat please reach him at