2018 Vallombrosa Workshop

Presence as a Way of Life

National West Coast Sensory Awareness Retreat
Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park, California.

June 1 – 3, 2018

The possibility of being deeply and thoroughly present is available to each of us.  Yet we often fall into a life of habit and routine, our senses dulled, our sense of wonder intermittent at best.  Sensory Awareness offers explorations by which we can reclaim presence – alert and vitally connected with life.  

Sensory Awareness is a remarkably simple approach to reconnecting with the living moment. Everyday movements rather than exercises, playful explorations, quiet attentiveness rather than effort, take us to a place of renewed engagement with an ever-evolving world.  

Presence to one’s own self is fundamental to a life fully lived.  Experiencing more fully the presence of others, and our own sense of presence when we are with them can deepen our relationships in surprising ways.  Even the busy world of tasks and obligations can be renewed as we bring appropriate presence to all our encounters, even the briefest.  

Join us for these days of exploration and renewal, and discover a more profound sense of Presence as a Way of Life.

Overview of the Sessions

The workshop begins on Friday evening with dinner at 6:00 pm.
Check-in between 3 and 6 pm.

The workshop ends after lunch on Sunday.

Detailed schedule & Information on the session Leaders (will be available soon)

Friday Evening                     From Distraction to Presence

What typically stands in the way, keeping us from being present?  Can we give room to becoming more aware of that experience? From there, how do we arrive in the current moment, moving from being scattered to being present?  Can that shift be more clearly experienced and cultivated?

Stefan Laeng-Gilliatt

Early Mornings                     Experiencing Deep Stability

Quiet Meditation

Sitting in meditation is cultivating a wakeful attitude of equanimity toward whatever life presents. Rather than freezing in the perfect position, we cultivate a presence that is respectful of the living, breathing, responsive being we are.

led by
a seasoned meditation practitioner, TBD

Saturday Morning                 Present with Myself

How can a comfortable presence with oneself be fostered? Can awareness of our own sensations – and of our responses to the invitations and demands of the moment – open us to ourselves?


Parallel Classes (choose one)

Marlene Zweig
Michael Richter

Saturday Noon                     Eating with Our Senses Wide Open

Pausing, we let ourselves be filled with the crunch of a carrot; the purple of a beet; the smell of a soup simmering; the burn of black pepper on our tongue. We may be struck with how our teeth and lips and the magic of saliva are all working in concert to keep us alive; how many people have made this meal possible. No matter how separate we may feel when we begin, bringing the practice of Sensory Awareness to the table can help us discover the connection we’re truly hungry for.

Sara Bragin

Saturday Afternoon              Presence with Others

Having a better sense of our own experience, is it possible to become deeply aware of another? What helps us be more present with others? How does being with others affect the experience of ourselves?

Parallel Classes (choose one)

Vanessa Meade
Len & Anna Shemin


Saturday Evening                 Presence & Expression

Pat Baxter
How do we express ourselves through movement? Following what the rhythm of life offers we are asked to be present and to respond. How does my image of what “should “ be prevent my being present for being moved? Can we let ourselves explore new options of expression both internally and in our contact with others?

Connie Smith-Siegel
How do we express ourselves through colors and drawing? Drawing is a gift we all possess. When not hindered, it flows naturally from our sensations of being alive. Through a wakeful connection with what we see and touch, the inner world is expanded as we discover our perceptual differences and unique points of view. 

Parallel Classes (choose one)

Sunday Morning                   Present in the World

Is it possible to be present and responsive in the midst of a world filled with many tasks to complete, many routes to follow? How can we answer the calls of our world and take care of ourselves?

Lee Klinger Lesser

Register Online Now

or contact Deanna Campbell at (415) 634 5595.

Prices are all-inclusive.

Members of the Sensory Awareness Foundation receive a $50 discount on the tuition.
Learn more and become a member. 

Directions to the Vallombrosa Center

are for tuition, lodging, and meals.

Tuition Scholarships: There are some tuition scholarships available.
Contact Deanna Campbell at 415.634.5595 for more information.

Accommodations will be available on a first come first served basis. 
Space is limited, so please reserve early.          

Continuing Education: 10 CEs potentially available.

We are approved to offer 10 CEs by the California State Board of Nursing and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Many states recognize these CEs.

Please let us know in advance:

  • If your state accepts these CEs, you are a Nursing or Bodywork professional and you want to receive official CE credit. 
  • You would like a Certificate of Attendance (which some states accept for Behavioral Health professionals as well.)

Fee for CEs: $25. Contact us at 415.634.5595 to register.


Cancellation Policy

Refund minus $50 administrative fee when canceling prior to fourteen days before the workshop. No refund within fourteen days of the event.