Program Details

Life as Art - Creative Practices for an Open Heart and Mind

with Sandra Ladley & Maryanne Botha
January 5 / 1:00 PM - January 12 / 1:00 PM

Contemplative creative practices that cut through concept and draw on nonverbal wisdom are especially potent in these difficult times. During this week-long retreat we will have the opportunity to settle into ourselves in a natural environment, so that we can return home refreshed with tools rooted in meditative awareness. 

In our culture we separate artists into a special class for the talented and privileged. This retreat is open to everyone and relevant to all. We challenge artists and non-artists alike to reconnect deeply with the space of creativity as a resource for our lives. 

The retreat will include Dharma Art teachings, meditation, and creative exercises that include movement, sound, drawing, painting, writing and calligraphy, as well as Maitri Space Awareness practices.

Shambhala Dharma Art

  • Coming to our senses – we introduce meditation as the practice for becoming familiar with both our natural awareness and our mental blocks. We interrupt the habits of conceptual thinking so that we can open to space and experience the world around us directly. The emphasis is on developing trust in our senses.

  • Seeing things as they are – we explore raw direct reality vs. our version of reality created through projections. We practice differentiating between direct perception and projection so that we can communicate genuinely with ourselves and others.

  • The creative process – we draw on ancient Chinese aesthetic principles and look at how the universe unfolds in a natural hierarchical system. Facing a blank piece of paper or an empty stage, an idle instrument or an unplanted garden, we welcome the open space of not knowing: the Heaven principle. Out of that space inspiration arises and we take the leap, make the mark and begin to create, joining Heaven and Earth. Bringing awareness and heart to the process is the Human principle.

Maitri Space Awareness

Sandra will guide us in Maitri Space Awareness practices in which we work directly with the five elemental energies of mind and reality. The practice uses meditation, postures, colors, aimless walks, and creative play to investigate the energies of space, earth, air, fire and water.


Sandra Ladley is a long-time meditation practitioner and a senior Shambhala Buddhist resident teacher for the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Program Director and a core faculty member for the Karuna Training program in Contemplative Psychology in North America. Sandra teaches Buddhist, Contemplative Psychology and Dharma Art programs internationally. She draws on experiences as a teacher, counselor, and manager in business, mental health, hospice, and creative arts settings to bring depth, warmth and humor to her teaching.

Mary Anne Botha is a practising artist and trained Shambhala Art teacher who has been actively involved with Shambhala since 1979.

Costs include 7 nights accommodation at the idyllic Fynbos Estate, Malmesbury, an hour from Cape Town and 3 vegetarian meals per day. This does not include teacher dana. 

Single room shared bathroomR 7 900.00
Sharing (2 people)R 5 800.00
Dormitory (3-4 people)R 4 900.00
CampingR 3 900.00

Please confirm attendance by Friday 8th November 2019.

A 50% deposit is needed by 30th November and the full payment by 16th December. We welcome payment plans if costs prevent you from attending.

See more pics from our previous Dharma Art retreat in 2017.




Image result for paardeburg valley fynbos estate

Go to Cape Town's website