Forming the Life You Want

Clinton, Washington
Friday, January 11, 2013

Forming the Life You Want:
A Weekend Retreat with ThresholdArts 
With Mitch Saunders & Maryliz Smith
January 11—13, 2013

It's almost 2013. Are you ready to begin forming the life you want? 

ThresholdArts supports individuals facing a major threshold in their relationships or work, or who wish to improve their ability to navigate defining moments in their lives. In this retreat, we will focus on how we steward and sustain ourselves as individuals in connection with others and our work: in particular, the critical task of shaping and evolving our professional and personal relationships, and ways to improve the presence and clarity we bring to choices which can alter the course of our future. The vision for this program is to equip you with tools to respond to your circumstances in a way which empowers you to deliberately shape your life. 

Co-developed by Mitch Saunders and Maryliz Smith, the ThresholdArts approach is to meet participants at the frontiers of their life journeys, and with the belief that your path is more true when taken with artistry and improvisation rather than conforming your choices to a limiting belief system or pre-conceived "ideal."

Specific choices we make can be critical in determining the trajectory of our lives and work. Examples of these kinds of choices include: 
  • Discerning whether or how to enter into a relationship
  • Deciding how to respond to a loss or a setback
  • Determining what is "yours to do" in your family or at work 
  • Discerning the next step to take when you reach the "end of the road" in your career or a crucial relationship 
The vision for this program is to equip you with the capacity to respond to circumstances like these in a way which empowers you to deliberately shape your life and future. 

To cultivate this capacity for self-renewal throughout the weekend, we will employ a unique blend of practices for tapping the wisdom of your body, employ group exercises to develop and test new moves for difficult situations, and engage in improvisational arts to anchor and ground insights and "solutions" which emerge in our dialogue with one another. 

Start your year off on the right foot by learning to live your life with artistry and responsiveness. Life itself, after all, is a work of art. 

What To Expect:
  • Learn a reliable way to shift a self-defeating interior state so you can operate at your best.
  • Practice assessing the "fit" of a prospective partnership.
  • Learn how to bring up and re-negotiate "hidden contracts" as a route to realistic change in personal and professional relationships.
  • Clarify what's needed for you to be intentional about forming the next phase of your life.
This program is useful for anyone facing a major threshold in their life and work, or who wishes to improve their ability to navigate defining moments.  Leaders and change agents in organizational settings, and members of the healing professions, will find numerous applications. There will be time for individual work and reflection to aid in the learning process.

Why not bring a friend or partner, as well? Give yourself the chance to work on a specific choice point together.  And leave with practices you can both take with you to use throughout the future. 

What Others Say:

"There are certain things about relationships that always plagued me — I was able to recognize what happened once they went wrong, but didn't know exactly why.  The beauty of working with ThresholdArts is that they illuminate what's beneath the surface so you can understand what's really going on and take steps to improve a relationship. I'm also amazed by how little time it takes Mitch and Maryliz to have the great impact that they do."  
- Alex G.

"Mitch Saunders and Maryliz Smith have created a powerful process which invites you to dive deep. They help you identify where you may be 'stuck' and help you tap into the wisdom of body and mind to formulate creative solutions to the challenges in your life. Their tools are diverse: cognitive, somatic, emotional, and musical. For me, these interwoven approaches blended beautifully for an unforgettable experience."  
- Marcia R.

For more information, visit

The Program Guides 

Mitch Saunders is a pioneer in the areas of leadership, innovation and organization change. He is the founder of SGRPartners, and creator of The CEO Studio, a program sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank for early stage entrepreneurs. He helps people reinvent themselves and the ways they create value when it's time for a change. 

Maryliz Smith
is an international performance artist and guide for people facing important thresholds. She is co-founder of the Callanish Society, an organization that supports people living with cancer.  She has an extraordinary ability to use sounds she creates on the piano in the moment, to guide and accompany individuals and organizations through pivotal transitions.


$245 (early registration $195 before January 1, 2013)

Friday 6pm – 9pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm, (with special evening program from 7pm – 9pm)
Sunday 9am – 1pm


Costs are for the whole session, Friday through Sunday.

 Shared Room   $100 + tax 
 Single Room (as available)   $120 + tax
 Early Arrival    $65 + tax
 Extended Stay    $50 + tax

Lodging at the Whidbey Institute is mostly in shared rooms in our two homes, Farmhouse and Granny's; bathrooms are shared.  You will have the opportunity to indicate particular needs or requests when registering. We will contact three days prior to the gathering with your room assignment.


Beginning with dinner Friday evening and ending with lunch on Sunday

 All Meals   $110 + tax 
 Dinners & Lunches Only     $86 + tax

Christyn Johnson, our extraordinary chef, is committed to providing delicious, nourishing meals from locally sourced ingredients. The shared meals are wonderful part of the Institute experience. Comments from other Whidbey Institute events: 

"The food is beyond fabulous"  
"Christyn's food was so good I'm still thinking about it." 
"I've never tasted love before - every meal was infused with it."

Meals can be purchased on a per-meal basis when registering, or all at once for a total of $150 + tax. You are also welcome to bring your own meals. 

Cancellation & Refund Policy 

Balance payments are due no later than two weeks before the program begins.

If, after paying the full course fee you find it necessary to cancel, a full refund minus $50 will be given if notice is received at least one month prior to the event. If notice of cancellation is received between one week and one month prior, a 50% refund will be given. For cancellations received less than a week prior to the event, no refund can be given. Contact

Registration and meal passes are fully transferable; please communicate changes as soon as is possible to

Contact Information

  • Heather Johnson
    Whidbey Institute 
    Program Director

Payment Instructions

  • You may complete your registration with a $100 deposit. 

    Balances are due two weeks before the start of the program; you can complete your balance payment through any of the following methods:
    • Log back into your registration and process the balance payment.
    • Email with a request to charge the balance of your tuition.
    • Mail check payment with the balance to the address below.
    The Whidbey Institute
    Attn: Registration
    PO Box 57
    Clinton, WA  98236

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