Shorter than a typical retreat, but with our same commitment to creating safe, courageous spaces that maximize impact. These Milkweed Group workshops offer interactive, thought-provoking opportunities for personal growth and professional development. We can bring one or more of these possibilities to you, or we’re happy to work with you to design and deliver an experience that more closely fits your context.

Our Workshops

Photo credit: Michaela Rice

Photo by: Michaela Rice

Leading from Within:

Tapping Your Inner Wisdom to Bring Out the Best in Others

The best, most effective leadership is not primarily a matter of techniques or strategies — as important as they are. Rather (to paraphrase Parker J. Palmer) it flows from the identity and integrity of the leader. This workshop invites you to clarify your values, strengths, and passions in order to better lead from your authentic, true self. A lively mixture of individual reflection, deep listening, and group interaction creates spacious opportunity to discern your inner voice and to explore practical applications of your capacity to bring out the best in others.

Photo credit: Emily Albrecht

Photo by: Emily Albrecht

What Should (or Could!) I Do with My Life?

This workshop invites you to reflect upon the many different possibilities of what you could be doing with your life. By changing the questions from should to could, we can unleash the power of expansive imagination. Through this participatory, reflective workshop you will be invited to begin to make the shift from should to could, and in doing so, find room to dream and live into creative possibilities that are true to who you are, and to the life you want to live.

Photo from Wylio

Postures of Presence, Arts of Attention:

Growing Your Capacity to (Really) Listen in Life and Leadership

This interactive, experiential workshop sheds light on important skills of deep listening – “arts of attention.” And it goes far beyond that to examine key but often unrecognized obstacles to listening, to understand its power and central role in life and leadership, and to explore the capacities of self and qualities of character – “postures of presence” – that ground and empower positive change.

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I once had a conversation with a journalist from South Africa, who was sharing his impressions about the massive changes sweeping that country at the time, as white-minority political rule and the legislative and economic structures of apartheid were being dismantled.  After discussing the complex constellation of factors that were at play, I asked him, “What’s your sense of what F.W. DeKleerk and Nelson Mandela think of each other?” (DeKleerk was the white president at the time, and Mandela the black leader of the African National Congress who assumed the presidency in the early years of majority rule.)

“Aaahhh!” the journalist replied as his eyebrows went up and his hands few into the air.  “That’s exactly it!  There is hope for a relatively peaceful transition in South Africa for the first time in generations because those two individuals simply like each other.  Yes, there are many other factors at play, but none of those would matter without their relationship as the catalyst.  They have moved beyond fear to trust because they have bothered to understand and respect each other, and that has come because they have listened to one another.  They have chosen to do the hard and frightening work of listening to the other.”

When’s the last time you felt like you were being heard?  You know, really listened to, as if you had something important to say, and as if you yourself actually mattered?  What was that like? How did that feel?  And how often do you find yourself really listening to someone else, devoting your whole self, your entire attention, to that person what they she or he has to say – with their words and their voice, as well as with their faces and bodies, and with what they’re not saying?  How often do you help them to hear the wisdom that resides within themselves, by asking open and honest questions that invite the soul to expand – rather than just plowing ahead with advice or direction?

What a powerful, transformative, potentially life- and world-changing thing.  Just to pose a meaningful, well-timed question.  Just to listen, really listen.  And to be listened to.  Yet it’s also incredibly rare.  And so incredibly important – in relationships and families, in communities and organizations, and in leadership.

This interactive, experiential workshop sheds light on important skills of deep listening – “arts of attention.”  And it goes far beyond that to examine key but often unrecognized obstacles to listening, to understand its power and central role in life and leadership, and to explore the capacities of self and qualities of character – “postures of presence” – that ground and empower positive change.

Yes, it can be “hard and frightening work.”  But it’s also what we yearn for, a way of being-with one another that can change the world.

Sunset on Hillside with Tree Silhouette - by Nate Hanson

Photo by: Nate Hanson

Live Well, Lead Strong:

Growing Toward Wholeness

We’ve heard it all before: eat right, get enough rest, and be sure to exercise. Turns out Mom was right! So why does it seem so hard to live well, grounded and healthy? Sure, part of it’s the pace, noise, and stress of the always-on, electronic world; part of it’s easy access to empty calories and over-exposure to toxic…everything. And part of the challenge has to do with remembering that whole-person well-being involves not just physical health, as crucial as that is. It’s also about the emotional, spiritual, relational, professional, intellectual, environmental, financial, and vocational dimensions of who we are. This workshop invites you to a deeper understanding of all these facets of your life, and to develop skills and practices that nourish wholeness. You’ll also discover how to show up as a more engaged, authentic, and effective leader, energized to bring out the best in others by living into your own best self.

Photo by: Tristan Richards

Why Are We Here?

Growing a Culture of Purpose and Passion

Slick ad campaigns, bells-and-whistles (or smoke-and-mirrors) presentations, even shiny mission statements: none of that works without something beneath the surface that people can believe in. People hunger for meaning, and they yearn to know that they’re part of something greater than themselves. In these challenging times, we need people who live, work, and lead with courage, vision, compassion, and integrity — qualities that emerge when organizations and institutions continually ask “for the sake of what” questions: What are we doing here, really? Why do we do what we do, in the way we do it? What do we want our lives and work to be about?

No matter your setting — home and family; workplace; school, college, or university; neighborhood; congregation — there’s tremendous power in being an intentional “mentoring community,” one that fuels its members’ sense of calling to create a more just and peaceful world. This thought-provoking, action-oriented workshop will spark your imagination, leverage the distinctive gifts and passions of the people around you, and ignite your organization’s creative capacity to make a positive difference.

More info on the following, coming soon:

  • Courage Earth®
  • The Geography of Grace®  (for congregations & faith communities)
  • The Courage to Lead®  (for nonprofits, emerging leaders, & change-makers in a variety of settings)