Mexico Retreat including the Day of the Deadwith Reena Lazar and Michelle Pante
Our 2018 retreat is rescheduled for 2019.
And be notified when registration opens for WILLOW’s 2019 Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills Retreat and experience Dia de Muertos.
October 30 to November 5th, 2019
Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills Retreat
El Encanto Inn
San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
This retreat will make a difference to the richness of your life now.
At WILLOW, our goal is to transform end of life planning into a rich opportunity for personal growth and community connections. Our tools and resources help you check things off your to-do list and support your to clarify who and what matter most.
Michelle Pante and Reena Lazar are pragmatic and heart-centered end of life planning coaches, workshop facilitators, and presenters. With extensive training in deathcare—Michelle as a licenced funeral director and former hospice volunteer, and Reena in all aspects of community-led deathcare—they share a passion for using the conversation around death as a pathway to growth and healing for individuals, communities and the planet.
“Legacy, Love Letters + Heart Wills was groundbreaking, transformative and essential reflection for the soul.”
— Helena Cynamon
Watch this short video to hear Reena and Iris chat about what motivated Iris to register for this retreat:
Sometimes it takes stepping away from the day-to-day to deeply ponder what it means to be living this precious, finite life. WILLOW’s six-day, reflection retreat includes a beautiful balance of facilitated workshops, personal writing time and curated, local, cultural activities, the highlight being a guided cemetery experience of the Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos.
During this retreat you’ll learn about and get into action writing lasting messages for those you love and for future generations.
Your Love Letters and Heart Will will capture your wisdom, stories and wishes for sharing at, or before the end of your life. The process will guide you to reflect on your life, consider the legacy you’ll leave behind and enrich, energize and connect you with who and what matter most.
Guided by Reena + Michelle, you will:
~ Explore the reality of your mortality and make sense of life and death.
~ Clarify who and what matter most.
~ Consider the legacy you’re creating – intentionally or unintentionally.
~ Reflect on your life and how you want to be remembered.
~ Write Love Letters to important people in your life to be shared at or before the end of your life.
~ Craft a Heart Will with your wisdom and stories to be read at your end-or-life ritual or to leave to those you love and future generations.
~ Get inspired to make shifts in the way you live your life now.
Imagine being at peace knowing that you’ve expressed and recorded your most important life learnings and written important messages to those you love.
Imagine having the time, space and support to really dig into this work without interruption—unless it’s a dip in the pool, a blissful siesta, or a stroll on the beach or through the charming streets of San Jose del Cabo.
Let’s warm each other up with the power of exploring together.
Why should you RSVP now?
RSVP now because when you consciously contemplate and connect with others around the reality of your mortality, it will change how you die—and how you live, right here, right now, and for the rest of your life.
RSVP and register your interest now because it’s first come, first served and space is limited.
The retreat opens with tropical cocktails and a welcome fiesta on Day 1 and wraps up with a sacred closing circle the morning of Day 7. Though subject to change, our basic itinerary looks like this:
|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5||DAY 6||DAY 7|
@ El Encanto
|Lunch||hosted||hosted @ |
|Afternoon||WORKSHOP||WORKSHOP||Small group coaching + poolside writing time @ Acre Baja||Day of the Dead |
Guided Cemetery Tour
|Dinner||hosted Welcome Fiesta||hosted Farewell Fiesta|
|Evening||Halloween in the Plaza||Public Plaza|
~ 7 facilitated sessions + small-group coaching including all materials and supplies (attendance expected at all workshops)
~ Group accommodation at the locally owned and operated, charming boutique hotel, El Encanto Inn
~ Transfer shuttles to and from Los Cabos International Airport to El Encanto Inn in San Jose del Cabo
~ Local guided cemetery tour on the Day of the Dead
~ Local guided historic walking tour
~ The inside scoop on the Public Plaza Art Walk, San Jose Organic Market, local restaurants, attractions and support to organize any optional activities that spark your interest
~ Most meals including: all breakfasts (unless you choose off-site accommodation) prepared and served at Cascabel, the house restaurant at El Encanto, 3 of 5 lunches (one at the award-winning Acre Baja, transportation included), 3 of 6 dinners including a Welcome and Farewell Fiesta. You cover your own bar drinks!
(not included in retreat fee)
~ Reiki, massage and space treatments available at local spas and wellness centres
~ Early morning or evening beach walks
~ Drop-in Bikram yoga, Hatha yoga, and Pilates studios
~ Tarot-card reading
~ Mexican cooking classes
~ Hire a guide/driver to visit any one of many attractions in and around San Jose del Cabo including glass bottom boat tours and day trips to Cabo San Lucas pre or post retreat.
Michelle Pante is energized by death, dying and grief as pathways to healing. She is a licensed Funeral Director in the province of British Columbia. She apprenticed with a corporately-owned funeral home and with KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony, a pioneering locally-owned and operated funeral provider. Prior to co-founding WILLOW, Michelle was a key player in the launch of the Green Burial Society of Canada, and volunteered with a children’s bereavement program at a local hospice.
Reena Lazar is fuelled by her passion for developing programs around personal growth and transformation. She graduated from the BEyond Yonder Virtual School of Community Deathcaring in Canada, a twelve-week course covering such topics as grief, disposition, rituals, body care, advance planning, being with the dying, and funeral alternatives. Prior to co-founding WILLOW, she created and led an award-winning peace building program for Middle East youth, and taught conflict resolution at a local College.
Barb Bates gets her energy from the sea and sunshine, writing and storytelling, and finds strength in being of service to others. When she first looked out at the Sea of Cortez almost ten years ago it was an unexpected emotional experience. Now that she lives in San Jose del Cabo, she loves to lure others to this quaint and sunny town, steeped in culture and history. It was Barb who first envisioned a WILLOW workshop there. Attending WILLOW workshops in Vancouver last year helped her live her life more purposefully and mindfully. She says, “We all have a story to tell about our life and wisdom to share.”
Javier Posadas our personal hotel concierge and Manager at El Encanto, is passionate about customer service and gets filled up when his guests go home with an amazing experience of Mexico. He also loves American football, F1 car races, video games, and his three cats. He was born in Acapulco, and grew up in Cancun and worked in the hotel business for six years. As for his love for San jose del Cabo, he says, “ It has a really special vibe. You must be here to experience it.” He can’t wait to get to know all the people who will take part in the WILLOW retreat.
Accommodation Options + Pricing
Calle Morelos #133, San Jose del Cabo
Baja California Sur, Mexico
Our retreat site is the El Encanto Inn, located in the quaint San Jose del Cabo Art District. WILLOW has secured preferred pricing with El Encanto Inn and rooms are reserved to accommodate the whole retreat group; use the buttons below to register for the retreat and to book your El Encanto Inn accommodation. If you prefer to arrange your own off-site accommodations, please register for the retreat using the link below inside Pricing Essentials.
The Inn is made up of two separate buildings. The main building includes our meeting room, the restaurant and terraces, a swimming pool, and the pool-side suites.
The majority of the rooms (the Standard Suites and the Junior Suites) are a few steps across the street from the main building.
Our meeting space is one-floor up and unfortunately, not accessible by elevator or ramp.
Pricing Essentials ~ 2019 pricing TBC ~
~ The accommodation pricing includes the full retreat program, most meals, airport transfers, guided local tours etc. as listed above in “What’s Included.” Airfare or any transportation to and from San Jose del Cabo is not included in the pricing.
~ All pricing is per person, in US dollars and include taxes.
~ If you live locally or you choose off-site accommodation, the full Retreat Program Pricing is approximately, $1,200. This pricing includes all the workshops, three (out of five) lunches, three (out of six) dinners and all “hosted” group activities. Airport transfers and breakfast are not included with off-site accommodation. Retreat registration for off-site accommodations here.
~ If you travel with a companion who is NOT participating in the workshop, they may share your El Encanto room at no extra cost. Breakfasts will be included for them but not any of the other meals or activities. If this is your situation, please select the “single” option when you choose your Standard, Junior or Poolside Suite.
Choose Your Suite Below
~ 2019 pricing TBC ~ Located a few steps across the street from the main building, each Standard Suite includes two double beds, a private bathroom, outdoor-terrace sitting area, television/cable, wifi, air conditioning, coffee maker, plus a hair dryer.
Single: approx $1,800
Double: approx $1,500 per person if shared with one other person
Note: If you want to share with a stranger of the same gender, let us know and we’ll try to make a match. If we cannot make a match, then this option won’t be available.
~ 2019 pricing TBC ~ Located a few steps across the street from the main building, each Junior Suite includes a spacious room with a king-size bed, living room area with daybed, walk-in closet, a hair dryer, kitchenette, a private bathroom, coffee maker, dining space, television/cable, wifi, air conditioning, mini bar, and outdoor-terrace seating area.
Single: approx $1,900
Double: approx $1,600 per person if shared with one other person
Triple: approx $1,500 per person if shared with two other people
Note: There is only one king-size bed and daybed. If sharing this room, both/all participants must register at the same time.
~ 2019 pricing TBC ~ Located in the main building each Pool Suite includes a king-size bed, living room, tv, air conditioning, wifi, coffee maker, mini bar, and a hair dryer, and outdoor garden terrace sitting area overlooking the pool.
Single: approx $2,000
Double: apporx $1,600 per person if shared with one other person
Triple: approx $1,500 per person is shared with two other people
Note: There is one king-size bed and a roll bed is possible for a third person. If sharing this room, both/all participants must register at the same time.
RSVP now to be notified when 2019 retreat registration opens.
You’ll also receive WILLOW’s free How to Write your Heart Will Guide and a thoughtful newsletter every few weeks with insights, inspiration and stories to help you explore the reality of your mortality.
Cancellation + Refund Policy
We sure hope that once your reserve your spot for this retreat you’ll be able to attend! However, if for some reason you have to cancel your reservation, here’s what will happen:
- If you cancel your reservation by September 1st WILLOW will refund you in full, less a US$50 processing fee.
- If you cancel after September 1st, WILLOW will keep half of your fee unless we can find a person to fill your spot, in which case WILLOW will only keep $100 processing fee and return the balance to you.
- If WILLOW must cancel the program you will receive 2 weeks notice, and a full refund. Please check with your airline about its cancellation policy.
- WILLOW is NOT responsible for travel reservations booked to attend cancelled programs.