The Zai Circle Music and Meaning Residency is a very different and unique experience created with the intent of individual healing, personal enlightenment, and the intention of empowering participants to make a difference in themselves and the world around them. Each Music and Meaning Retreat is created to focus on a specific theme but all have an emphasis on nature, compassionate listening, movement/breathing, and finding meaning through music.

In our hectic lives today, so many of us have become blind to the beauty and power of music and nature. Many of us also have lost the ability to listen compassionately, with open ears and an open heart. We take our breathing for granted each day without looking at how the breath can (and should), engage centering and promote internal healing. All of these qualities are still there, we may just have to look a bit deeper to find them. This intensive retreat has a mission to bring all of these things back into our lives through music made in a one on one, personal and intimate setting.

Most music today is created for commercial consumption, with beats to keep us “happy”, songs to help us “get through our day” or chase away our blues. Generally, quiet and intimate music making that reaches for deep questions, (and possibly answers), in a non commercial environment, has largely disappeared. The healing element of music being created, through collaborations of compassionate listening, meditation, nature, and movement, for one specific person or a few people, in the moment, is almost non existent. The Music and Meaning Retreat is designed to bring back the powerful healing characteristics music has to offer and ask the deeper compelling questions of ourselves and our surroundings.

Each Retreat will feature a group of inter-disciplinary mentors to serve as guides and provide the tools for a personal and introspective journey through interconnected modules or “teachings” led by each mentor of music, nature, meditation, compassionate listening and movement. Each dayʼs teachings and immersion builds on each other over four days to elicit a deep inner search. We start each day with a guided meditation, then move seamlessly into a musical dialogue that finds it's resolution listening to the sounds of birds, wind, and water and nature. We discover new sounds along the way and develop a deep awareness of our surroundings. This awareness is echoed and built upon in the Compassionate Listening exercises, that build specific skills in listening and compassion to others. The Compassionate Listening module flows directly into healing through movement, incorporating medicinal movement techniques with dance and yoga that not only heal from within but also radiate outwards to this around us. Throughout all of these modules music is the common thread. We will explore the act of music making, and develop the process of listening with intent. This retreat is designed for anyone who is drawn to this integrative process. Non musicians and musicians of all levels are welcome.

A private evening concert of musical exchanges between one or two musicians and retreat participants rounds out the full day of introspection. Each day, a closing guided meditation prepares us for the next day of immersion-building upon, and going deeper into meaning and our individual search. With only 11-15 participants, we also learn to collaborate, connect, and help each other find our paths. The “smallness” of this retreat allows mentors and participants to share a “process” in an intimate way not usually found in a performer/audience experience, developing meaningful relationships that can be a catalyst for change for many years to come.