A New Stillpoint Offering for the New Program Year!

You are invited to join a community of seekers in a uniquely curated experience of learning from wisdom guides, transformational readings, small groups, and guided spiritual practices

What is Wisdom in Practice?

A unique nine-month cohort-based, practice-oriented intensification of your spiritual life, enriching your relationship with the Divine and helping you “go deeper” in community with others of similar intent. With expert teachers, fascinating topics, and solid mentors, this is your invitation to a deeper life and practice.

How did Wisdom in Practice come about?

For more than thirty years Stillpoint has been training Spiritual Directors. Over those years, hundreds of people have said, “But, I don’t feel called to be a spiritual director. Do you have anything for me? I love the contemplative path, and I want to grow spiritually in community with others.”

Other folks go through our Spiritual Journey program (the first “discernment” year for spiritual direction training). They love the experience, but discern not to go on to The Art of Spiritual Direction (ASD) training. Is there something more for them?

Wisdom in Practice is Stillpoint’s answer to all of those many people who have said, “Do you have anything for me?” Yes, this program is for you!

Who is Wisdom in Practice for?

This program is open to people of all denominations and faiths who are seeking to go deeper in their spiritual walk. We are rooted in the Christian tradition and welcome a diverse and inclusive learning community, including “spiritual independents,” seekers, and agnostics with no set faith tradition or beliefs.

What is the Format?

You will attend all Stillpoint One-Day Retreats (lunch included) as a cohort group.

One-Day Retreats are held on Saturdays (with one exception) - see schedule below.

The WIP Cohort will meet as a group during lunch at these One-Day Retreats. Then, smaller groups (called “Wisdom Circles”) will meet via video chat (or maybe face-to-face) between the retreat dates. Each Wisdom Circle meeting will include:

  • Personal reflection

  • Spiritual practice

  • Prayer/Meditation

  • Book discussion

  • Shared experience

You will be asked to complete assigned readings, and briefly write your impressions. You will have opportunity to share in discussion with your cohort, and you will learn new spiritual practices.

You will be honored for completion at the Annual Stillpoint Retreat in June 2020.

What is the commitment?

The program consists of one orientation meeting (November 2, 2019) and attendance at seven retreat days (with a 45-minute lunch and cohort meeting).

Additionally, you will meet with your Wisdom Circle via video chat (or some may choose to meet face-to-face) between the retreat days. Groups will be led by a mentor.

“Wisdom Circles” will include personal reflection, spiritual practice, prayer, and book discussion. Outside of the meetings, you will complete assigned readings and write your impressions. At our last gathering, Stillpoint’s Annual Retreat in June, you will be honored.

What does it cost?

The tuition for Wisdom in Practice is $750

Tuition includes all instruction, course materials, facilitated group interactions, and a “full paid subscription” to all Stillpoint “One-Day Retreats” for the entire program year (a $420 value!). It also includes two group spiritual direction sessions during the year.

A text book on spiritual practice will be provided for the course. Other books must be borrowed, or purchased separately. A list of the books (along with links to purchase in some cases) can be found in the schedule. A final list of readings will be provided upon registration.

Tuition can be paid in full upon registration, in two payments of $375 (first by 10/1/19 and second by 2/1/20), or in four payments of $187.50 (first by 10/1/19, second by 11/1/19, third by 1/2/20, fourth by 2/1/20). Scholarships available upon request and approval by the scholarship committee.

How do I register?

Application Process:

  1. The first step is to let us know you are interested in participating in this program by submitting a Wisdom in Practice interest form.

  2. One of the program facilitators will then contact you by text or email to set a time to talk, ask you some questions about your goals for the program, and answer any questions you may have.

  3. Once we are sure that we are all on the same page, the program facilitator will give you a green light to register and you can register online here.

  4. You will receive notice and a receipt that your registration is completed.

How do I pay the tuition for Wisdom in Practice and when is it due?

There are two payment options…

  1. You may choose to pay online

  2. You may choose to pay by check
    Mail your check payable to Stillpoint: PO Box 94535, Pasadena, CA 91109

    Please write “Wisdom in Practice” or “WIP” in the memo so we know what program you are paying for. Checks must be received one week prior to start of the program.

Additional FAQs

What are the benefits of participating in the WIP Program?

You will be spiritually uplifted by the One-Day Retreats. You will be growing together in community with others in small Wisdom Circles. You will read and discuss great books, sometimes written by our retreat presenters. And, since the program is “spiritual practice” oriented, so you will be learning and trying new practices to ground and center your spiritual life.

What are the expectations for participation?

  1. You will be attending the Stillpoint One-Day Retreats (see schedule) as a cohort.

  2. You will be reading books and articles on each session topic, sometimes a book by the retreat presenter for that month.

  3. You will be using a reference textbook on 37 universal spiritual practices throughout the year, and you will be “practicing!”

  4. You will be meeting and sharing with a small group (called a “Wisdom Circle”) to process and internalize material.

  5. You will be asked to write a short, informal reflection for each session.

Since Wisdom in Practice small groups (Wisdom Circles) will meet via video chat (Zoom), what kind of computer (or cell phone) and internet access must I have to participate?

In order to participate in video chat, you must have one of the following:

  1. A reasonably new computer (or have access to one) with a web camera (webcam) and access to a broad-band connection to the internet.


  2. A smartphone, with the Zoom app installed, and have Wi-Fi access or be in an area where you have good cellular service.

You must also be willing to learn how to use Zoom, a simple, free and reliable video chat program. (If you currently Skype or FaceTime with family members, on either device, you probably have what you need).

Note: It is possible that face-to-face groups will be available, especially in central Los Angles areas, or if you and some friends join the course together and form one.

If I completed the Spiritual Journey program, can I register for Wisdom in Practice?

Yes, in fact, Wisdom in Practice was tailor-made for you! It is designed for people who do not currently plan to train as a spiritual director.

Anyone can register for Wisdom in Practice who is seeking a cohort-based, practice-oriented opportunity to deepen and grow their spiritual life.

How is Wisdom in Practice different from the Spiritual Journey program?

Spiritual Journey is a more intensive, face-to-face program which meets one Saturday per month (Sept-June). See description here. Spiritual Journey also serves as both an introduction to contemplative spirituality and is the “discernment year” for those considering training to become a spiritual director.

If you think that you might want to be a spiritual director, you should consider filling out an interest form for Spiritual Journey instead.

Wisdom in Practice is for the rest of us! Like Spiritual Journey, it is a stimulating, cohort-based experience of spiritual formation and practice, but the Wisdom in Practice program is designed for those who DO NOT CURRENTLY PLAN to pursue spiritual director training, or those who have completed Spiritual Journey, but decided not to continue on to The Art of Spiritual Direction (ASD).

But the program is also an option for those who have completed the ASD training and would like an ongoing cohort experience.

What if I can't attend one of the scheduled One-Day retreats?

Because it is difficult to create a cohesive cohort when group members are not fully participating, we strongly encourage attending all retreats, with your cohort, and participating in all calls. However, if you should need to miss a retreat, we encourage you to speak with one or more of your cohort members in an effort “catch up.”

I see that Rev. Dr. J. Phillip Newell is here on Monday, February 24, 2020. Why is one of the retreats on a Monday?

Dr. Newell is the foremost authority in the world today on Celtic Christian Spirituality. He is in Los Angeles at the invitation of Stillpoint for a “clergy retreat” that Monday in February. The Wisdom in Practice cohort alone (other than clergy) is invited to this exclusive engagement. Please plan your schedule accordingly!

Tell me again, what are the content elements of this exciting new program?

You will experience eight sessions of content that will include deep learning from expert teachers (see schedule), core readings and application via discussion with other cohort members and informal writing assignments.

Additionally, you will learn new “spiritual practices” and put them into practice as a means of grounding, centering, and enriching your life.

Will I “graduate” with a certificate for this program?

Although this is not a certification program, you will be recognized for your work with a certificate of completion at the Stillpoint Annual Retreat in June, 2020.

Still have questions?

Contact us by email at WIP@stillpointca.org.


Session 1

Retreat Date:       Saturday, October 5, 2019, 9am-4pm (San Gabriel)
Topic:                   ‘Wild Mercy,’ Mysticism and the Divine Feminine, by Mirabai Starr
Readings:             Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics by Mirabai Starr

Session 2: Intro & Orientation

Retreat Date:       Saturday, November 2, 2019 (Location TBD)
Topic:                   Overview of the Wisdom in Practice program, assignments, and cohort and Wisdom Circle meetings
Readings: Spiritual Rx: Prescriptions for Living a Meaningful Life, by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat; Handout: The Tree of Contemplative Practices
Practice: TBD

Session 3

Retreat Date:       Saturday, December 7, 2019, 9am-4pm (San Gabriel)
Topic:                   “Advent: Waiting on God in the Dark, Spiritual Poetry, and Hope,” by Alex Martin
Readings:             Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor
Practice: TBD

Session 4

Retreat Date:       Saturday, January 4, 2020, 9am-4pm (Altadena)
Topic:                   “Contemplative Writing, New Intentions and Healing: New Year, Bold New Life” by Judith Favor
Readings:             TBD 

Session 5

Retreat Date:       Monday, February 24, 2020 [for WIP cohort members only] (Los Angeles)
Topic:                   “Listening for the Heartbeat of God: Celtic Spirituality”, J. Phillip Newell
Readings:             Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality by J. Phillip Newell               

Session 6

Retreat Date:       Saturday, March 14, 2020, 9am-4pm (San Gabriel)
Topic:                   “Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton: The Discipline of Mindfulness in Everyday Life,” Father Jonathan Montaldo
Readings:             A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations From His Journals by Jonathan Montaldo

Session 7

Retreat Date:       Saturday, May 2, 2020, 9am-4pm (San Gabriel)
Topic:                   “What Is Sacred About Sacred Resistance? - Spiritual Practice and Peace and Justice,” Rev. Ed Bacon
Readings:             Sacred Resistance: A Practice Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent by Ginger Gaines-Cirelli 

Session 8: Retreat & Celebration

Retreat Date:       Saturday, June 20, 2020, 9am-4pm (Location TBD)
Event:                   Annual Retreat for Spiritual Directors & Soul Care Workers, and Wisdom in Practice participants