Program Details

Mindful Leadership Development Retreat

with Joep de Jong & Paul van Toledo & Hanne Wagemaker
April 20 / 5:00 AM - April 26 / 6:00 AM



Inspiring the very best in other people

Developing personal leadership is beneficial to everyone working with groups (or within a group), whether you are a department head or leading a youth gathering in your community. It is the ability to self-reflect and find out what you can do to be at your very best - in work and life.

This retreat is not about management methods or techniques. It is an invitation to pause, reflect and discover what it means to be authentically human and how to bring this into your leadership. For personal growth, it is a first step towards cultivating the mindset and behavior that will naturally enable you to emerge as a authentic person and a true leader, managing your life and business with wisdom and grace rather than ambition and power.

It is an opportunity to take the time and space, in a peaceful environment, for deep self-reflection: to examine and ask ourselves if our approach and values truly correspond to who we are.

The first step on this journey is the experience of the power of mindfulness meditation: the art of being fully present and aware of ourselves. This enables us to open to the world that surrounds us, in a realistic and respectful way, letting it unfold into the present moment without impulsive reaction based on personal anxiety and judgment.

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there."  - John Buchan

What is leadership truly about? Throughout this retreat, we will explore the notion that it is possible to pursue excellence at work, while embodying decency, dignity and authenticity. We will discover our potential in the wisdom of meditation, creative expression and modern approaches such as Appreciative Inquiry, and observe how, in the process, we can move a step forward towards transforming ‘management by control’ into ‘management based on trust’, inspiring the very best in other people.

Open to everyone interested in developing confidence and trust in his or her relationships. No prior meditation experience is required – full instruction will be given to everyone.



Programme Outline


This retreat will unfold around the five Mindful Leadership Practices:

1-     The Practice of Being Present

Being present means being fully aware and awake in the present moment - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This includes connecting to others, the environment and the reality around us. This everyday practice is about opening to all inner and outer experiences with no judgment, experiencing everything totally without reservations and blockages.

2-     The Practice of Inter Connectedness

Inter Connectedness means being fully aware and awake of the connectedness of each and every person and the world that surrounds us. This everyday practice is about developing openness towards all people and taking time to connect with nature.

3-     The Practice of Egolessness

The essence of egolessness is to get a sense of our naked, clear and empty nature by connecting with the natural space around us. There’s really nothing to hold on to and there’s nothing to fix either. This everyday practice is about developing a complete acceptance and openness to all situations, emotions and people. It relates to finding the courage to investigate when you withdraw into yourself.

4-     The Practice of Living your Values and Higher Purpose

Living your values and higher purpose is to know your deepest principles and bring them into our (work)life. Unless we have a strong connection with a higher purpose, nothing will change sustainably. It’s our spiritual compass for a strong and determined leadership alignment. This everyday practice is about remembering these values daily and taking them as a reference point when making challenging decisions or dealing with dualities and paradoxes.

5-     The Practice of Giving to the World

Giving to the world means being fully engaged in one’s life and work: giving our full potential out of richness, gratitude and abundance, giving without expecting. The everyday practice is to develop an inner attitude of contentment and joy. Out of this discipline, we are naturally brought to act with decency, dignity and authenticity.


Daily Schedule

This retreat will start on Sunday April 20 at 17:00 with an informal welcome reception and a talk on “Being Brave- meeting yourself in openness and kindness.”

Day 1 – The Practice of Being Present

Morning from 9:15 to 12:30

  • Introduction to mindfulness: what is it and how do we become mindful?

  • Meditation instruction: peaceful abiding in the present moment          

  • Sitting and walking meditation.

  • Talk: “Turning our Mind in an Ally”

  • Dialogue session in pairs

Afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00

  • Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

  • Creative process: ‘Wall of Wonder’ - getting to know yourself in the present

  • Connecting past, present and future into your leadership journey

Evening from 19:30 to 21:30     

  • Reflection: “What touched me most today?”

  • Creative expression: painting


Day 2 – The Practice of Inter Connectedness

Morning from 9:15 to 12:30            

  • Sitting and walking meditation

  • Talk: “The Origins of Suffering & the Four Foundations of Mindfulness”

  • Mindful sharing in pairs.

 Afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00

  • The 4D cycle of Appreciative Inquiry: Discover, Dream, Design and Destiny

  • Exercise on ‘Social Constructionism’ – how ancient methods can help us truly connect

  • Dialogue session: ‘My Best Story’

Evening 19:30 to 21:30    

  • Creative Expression: experiencing our own inter connectedness through the creation of a collective art piece


Day 3 – The Practice of Egolessness

Morning from 9:15 to 12:30

  • Sitting and walking meditation practice

  • Talk on egolessness and the way we protect our ego

  • Mindful sharing in pairs

Afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00

  • Appreciative Inquiry: the positive and poetic principle

  • Exercise: seeing the limitless possibilities in oneself and others

  • Talk: “The wisdom of Being in Silence” - Beginning of 24 hours of silence

Evening 20:30 to 21:30    

  • Walk through the environment of Dechen Chöling / creative expression (optional)



Day 4 – The Practice of Living your values and higher purpose – Day of silence

Morning from 9:15 to 12:30

  • Sitting and Walking meditation

Afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00

  • Sitting and walking meditation

  • Creative expression of one’s values and higher purpose

Evening 19:30 to 21:30 - End of 24 hours of silence   

  • Sharing our discovered values and purposes



Day 5 – The Practice of Giving to the world

Morning from 9:15 to 12:30

  • Sitting and walking meditation

  • Talk: “Contributing to Society by Embodying Human Principles in Leadership”

  • Contemplation on the basic nature of humanity

Afternoon from 14:30 to 18:00

  • Appreciative Enquiry: the design and destiny phase - daring to improvise and finding the balance

  • Aimless Wandering

  • Exercise: formulating one’s ‘Provocative Leadership Statement’

Evening from 19:00

  • Uplifted dinner and closing night celebration

You can choose to leave anytime next day, Saturday April 26.



 Click on the names to find out more about the Teachers:

Paul van Toledo

Joep C. de Jong

Hanne Wagemaker


This retreat will be taught in English.





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