The Midlife Passage


Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:00am to Sun, 07/30/2017 - 3:00pm

Join us in a 5-day retreat to answer the call to step of the treadmill of life and reconnect with the purpose and meaning of your life. Led by TOF co-executive directors Miriam and Adam, together with ceremonial leader Erika Gagnon, the retreat continues a 40-year tradition of rite of passage programs at The Ojai Foundation.

Click here to make your reservation and deposit.

Answer the call to step off the treadmill of life, to feel the ground beneath you, to breathe, and to re-connect with purpose and meaning.


What is the midlife passage?

It is a period of intense personal transformation experienced at some point in your life. This period is marked by the passing of youth, coupled with a growing awareness of our own mortality. Our culture today has lost the mythic road map that helps locate a person in a larger context.  Lost are the ancient ceremonies that once ushered a person safely through transition, across the threshold of “what was” and into the space of “what might be.”

What needs to die inside of you to create space for something new to emerge?

We all hold on to ideologies, habits, attachments, and dependencies that pacify the anxieties of adulthood. The transit of this passage often results in a fiery clash between the demands of the socialized self (who you’ve become) and the desires of your authentic, true self. That is why it is necessary to mark, honor, and experience this transition—to get closer to your authentic potential and to earn the wisdom of mature aging.


This is not a “retreat” from life, but a deep dive into who you’ve been, who you are, and who you may become.

During this week you will confront your fears without the distraction of everyday life and take full responsibility for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Yes, during the middle passage we will still have obligations… But we must take time for ourselves in order to find that person who is at the heart of our life.

Through the practice of council, the core offering of The Ojai Foundation, we will engage in heartfelt and mindful group discussion with the support of experienced facilitators in order to discover what is present within each individual. The fundamental result of the middle passage is humble, deep listening… out of this experience comes new life.

“The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world,
but to fully belong to it.”

-Bill Plotkin

What to Expect:

·       The practice of council—listening and speaking from the heart

·       Embodiment practices including yoga and meditation

·       Wheel of Life (medicine wheel) teachings with TOF elder Lola Rae Long

·       Samu—the practice of mindful service on the land

·       Solo time in nature

·       Retreat time for writing

·      Community building through shared meals and evening activities such as
       music, talks and fire ceremony

·      A short wilderness fast followed by a TOF sweat ceremony

·      Accommodations and vegetarian meals on our 40-acre land sanctuary

Reservations and Pricing

We want to make this program available to all who feel called. In the spirit of a gifting economy, pricing for this retreat is based on a sliding scale of $1,450-$1,950 with an $800 deposit to secure your spot. Please contribute what you can.

Click here to make your $800 deposit. The remainder of your contribution will be due two weeks prior to the program start date.

Questions? Email or call us at 805-646-8343.

Read about the experience of being on the land and participating in council here.


This event is also held in support of Carol Grojean’s PhD research exploring the role of ceremony, rituals, and rites of passages in facilitating individual, transformational learning in support of the midlife passage, thereby cultivating greater health and wellbeing to the whole—the global community.

Her journey, and thus the basis of her work, has been through the remembrance of our indigenous ways of being in the world - those ceremonies and rites of passages that help facilitate our growth through death (not physical death but death of the ego).  Considered an anthropologist of modern day Western culture, Carol’s research is an auto-ethnographic self-reflection that explores her personal experiences in various ceremonies and connects her story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings. You can learn more about her journey here.