Meet Arwen Ek, your hostess for Winter Retreat 2019: Coming Home

As many of you know, I am the admin for this website, as well as the Founding Director of The Holistic Homestead. What you may not know, is that before I started the Homestead, I lived as a Buddhist Nun at Tara Mandala Retreat Center in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for three years from 2009 until 2011.


Offering a sacred dance in the Tara Temple at Tara Mandala, 2011

One of the things I missed the most after leaving my monastic life, was the opportunity for long and deep periods of contemplation and prayer. At Tara Mandala, the entire staff takes a month off for personal retreat in the winter – such an essential opportunity for self-care, personal reflection, and soul searching.


Ani Pema (Arwen Ek) burning incense as an offering in a Tibetan Buddhist ritual.

Without the protection of my vows and the peaceful setting of a retreat center, I wondered, how could I maintain my center, my connection to my personal practice and spiritual path, and a basic sense of self? Suddenly having to work full-time, navigate intimate relationships, and starting a family seemed 180 degrees away from the simplicity and presence of monastic life – and yet my new challenge was to integrate my experiences in a different setting.

I started doing my own “mini-retreats” in 2012, incorporating Buddhist practices, as well as elements of Christian mysticism and Catholic tradition, and Shamanic healing rituals. I began teaching meditation in the community in 2016 and was authorized as a teacher in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition by Lama Yeshe Dronmar in 2018.

Winter Retreat 2019: Coming Home

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head, And whispered to her neighbor_ Winter is dead.”Every year we choose a different theme, to anchor our practice intentions and inspire fresh approaches to spirituality, and we spend over a week together exploring the nuances and implications of each theme. This year is a little different because I’m pregnant! While this is exciting, it’s also exhausting and teaching me the absolute necessity of making self-care my top priority. While the online and in-person format is the same, this year’s retreat will be two days only (rather than 7 – 9 days) starting THIS Saturday, February 23rd and going through Sunday, February 24th.

In-person offerings

Join us on Saturday, February 23rd at 7 Healing Stars Oneness Center in Black Hawk for:

  • Meditation for Beginners from 12 noon – 1
  • Yoga with Karol Chin from 1 – 2
  • Group guided self-massage 2 – 2:30
  • Yoga Nidra from 2:30 – 3
  • and moving meditation/sacred dance with Arwen Ek from 3 – 4

You are welcome to come to all or some or just one of the above offerings as your schedule allows. These offerings are donation based*, open to the public and open to all faiths and philosophical persuasions.

*A word about donations: ‘donation based’ means you are not required to give or bring anything in order to participate. As the space is being generously donated by 7 Healing Stars, there is no minimum donation, and no requirements for making offerings, etc. Pretty rocks, found objects, feathers and poetry – given from the heart with sincere intentions – are all wonderful ways to connect with these practices and teachings, and a way to practice personal generosity. Any monetary donations made during the Winter Retreat go to support the continuing daily operations of The Holistic Homestead, a 501c3 tax exempt charity dedicated to improving health and wellness through education, outreach and advocacy.

Online participation

close up of text on paper

Photo by Pixabay on

When you register online, you will receive a pdf all about winter retreat, the health benefits of spiritual practice, and simple tools to get you started. You will also have access to the archived material from years past, including video and audio teachings and guided meditations, and lots of inspiring articles.

You will also receive daily inspirational e-mails with teachings, meditations and links to online content, and have access to one-on-one mentoring with me – to help develop your daily spiritual practice from wherever you are.

Click here to register today! 

I look forward to practicing with you soon, blessings and gratitude, Arwen


2 Comments on “Meet Arwen Ek, your hostess for Winter Retreat 2019: Coming Home

  1. I enjoyed reading about your upcoming retreat. Success to you and your participants…
    Love, Dad

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