Join us for a week in the Sahara Desert going deep into The Work of Byron Katie. We will be walking into “nothingness” together and questioning all our thoughts as we go.
Take an adventure into your inner world of thought while exploring the mighty Sahara Desert. It is a rare opportunity to experience the Sahara at all, but to experience it in such a mindful way as we will be doing in this retreat is the chance of a lifetime.
This retreat is for people who are experienced with The Work of Byron Katie. Anyone interested in joining should get familiar and gain experience with The Work prior to joining this trip.
This will be my second time hosting this course with Margot Diskin, a certified facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, and a dear friend of mine. We have designed the curriculum to allow you to truly experience the desert and to dive deeply into your own work. We will be sleeping outside, traveling with camels under the care of the Bedouins (our native hosts), and living in the heart of the desert for a week.
The curriculum will not only bring to the surface any stressful thoughts that prevent you from fully experiencing the desert, but will also allow plenty of time for you to question your stressful thinking about any stressful area of your life using The Work.
Byron Katie describes her experience in the desert:
“To be in the desert alone is to understand the absoluteness of solitude, the positive nature of emptiness. During the day, no sound—just mile after mile of sameness. Imagination has no context for the vastness of the desert when you’re in it alone. And at night, in the moonless world, amid the smells and the silence, you lie down and have no idea what you’re lying on. Is it a snake? A cactus? So you lie and wait, look up at the stars, and receive the ground, the coolness of the sand, giving up the idea that mind could grasp the lumps under your leg or your shoulder. And then the thought of time. Is it midnight? Is it five days later, five years later? And what am I who wonder what I am? And the smile that comes from knowing that you can’t know and don’t really care, that the answer to that would shrivel in the delight of this moment. Nothing of life imagined can compete with the beauty of nothingness, the vastness of it, the unfathomable darkness.” A Thousand Names For Joy
The workshop will be held in the Sahara Desert of Tunisia. You will be flying into Djerba.
Note you will pay €900 to reserve your spot. You will pay the remainder of the money in cash (euros) in Tunisia on Oct 8. All expenses will be covered except for your own purchase of a shesh (head wrap) to be purchased from the Bedouins, and tips. Total extra money approximately €50 – €60. You may also need to buy a sleeping bag rated for cold, and other supplies. We will give you these details later.
About the Presenters
The Work found Margot Diskin in 2009 and she has been doing it diligently ever since. She is now involved in moving The Work in Europe, America, Oceania and, Africa with the support of local organizations, and looking for more destinations. Her website is http://www.mindwitness.com. This will be her fourth time bringing a group to do The Work in the desert.
Todd Smith has been practicing The Work regularly since 2007. The Work has helped him find peace with relationship issues, the death of his mother, money and work issues, and many others.
“What I like about Todd is that he seems to have a genuine desire to continue to deepen his understanding of inquiry. I notice that he continues to learn and seek a fresh outlook on all aspects of the work, and that makes him a great facilitator in my experience.” Rick, Ontario
“I’ve been doing The Work for years and yet I went so much deeper during a retreat with Margot; my inner exploration reached another level. Her facilitation style is precise, her listening attentive and her ability to be present doesn’t leave any escape route for the mind.” — retreat attendee with Margot
Previous Years’ Experience in the Desert
For the last couple of years Margot offered this course in the Sahara Desert to French speakers only. Here is a translation of one participant’s experience working with Margot in the desert.
“Going to the desert with Margot is like taking part in two trips at the same time: one in the desert and the other in your mind.
“You experience the beauty of the desert, the silence, the atmosphere, the stillness of the dunes and then there is The Work.
“The way this practice is offered by Margot doesn’t feel like ‘work’ though. Indeed, all through the day, we enter and progress in our inner space thanks to short presentations, exercises, games, meditations, mindfulness exercises, some pair work, facilitation and sharing with each other, all in perfect harmony with the environment and in sync with the pace of our journey through the dunes.
“As a result, by the end of the trip, we remember each grain of sand on our fingers, each sunset, the touch of the breeze or the wind, each second spent sharing our insights with each other. The Work gently takes us to our final destination : the present moment.” – Sahara Desert participant 2015
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get ITW credit for attending?
If you are a candidate in Byron Katie’s certification program, you can get 24 hours of credit by attending this course: 12 hours with Todd, 12 hours with Margot.
What will the weather be like?
It will be hot during the day and cold during the night. Oh yeah, and dry! Though it does sometimes rain in the desert. 🙂
What language will the course be conducted in?
How to Register
Submit your review
It was a long yearning to go into the desert, so I am very grateful to Margot, Todd and Melek, as well as to the 5 Bedouins and the 10 camel boys to make this possible for me.
The difficulties to walk under scorching sun over shifting sands, sitting through sand storms and myriads of flies and mosquitoes was more than balanced out by doing the wonderful, wonderful and working Work!
A deepening of gratefulness and loving what is arose, a willingness to have a simple, direct life. It leaves me emptier and more open to the miracle.
How can only one week encompass such a wealth of life? A week back home, going through my everyday life versus stepping into one of the stories of thousand and one nights... Coming out of the plane in Djerba and meeting our guide Ali was when my reality started cracking slightly. A driver who would not even offer to help with the luggage. I looked him in the eyes and saw the infinite desert. Not once did they blink. They took the whole world in, with calmness, serenity and dignity. The rest of the group were at the hotel. We were detached, a bit reserved, and were there measuring up the comfort if what we were used to versus what was. Breakfast was definitely "was not" : margarine and jam with white bread? I went out looking for what I thought I needed. I, rather "she" also thought she needed lighter pants and a loose dress, so more shopping.
The next day I got up at 4 for the desert trip, the others were still in their rooms. I went out in search for an open cafe, the moon lit streets were empty and the city fears had evaporated off me. I walked comfortably through the empty streets till I found the open cafe. I felt invisible to the men sipping their early morning Java. My inner tension was fading away with the day break. The bus ride was long and unfolding into the unknown. No past images could match what was in front of me. At the tiny town where Ali handed us over to the desert Bedouins, we left everything we thought were crucial to hold on to. Just one look at the stillness of their eyes, the decision was made with ease. Total trust was the only passport needed. The 4X4 left us with the camels and we stepped onto the soft sand with silence. I then met my new teacher, the desert. It taught me just to follow simple directions. Deshes (head scarves) were not only decorative but a major protector from the sand storm of that first night. I tasted the desert in my mouth. It cleaned up the residues of the shower gel, the cream I had used to protect my skin was exfoliated. I being in the moment and surrendering were not just words any longer. The dimple dinner was followed by Zuzu teaching us how to wash our dishes by sand. I had no choice but to accept the salty taste of the mint tea. Life was just following the simple directions. Sleeping on the thin mattresses laid on the sand, in the sleeping bag was much better than a five star hotel, The stars and the moon from above and the sand under embraced me totally and I had the best sleep I had in a long time, feeling safe and secure.
I woke up at sun rise everyday, and we did a gentle yoga followed by breakfast with freshly baked bread, halwah, Dates, pomegranates, Olive Oil and harissa. "Cafe, Tea" Zuzu served selflessly with love.
Morning walks were trying while carrying our own flies. They, just like the thoughts, followed us everywhere. The war against them ended when I realized they had no dirt to land on to in the Desert.
As days passed, I bonded more and more with Nature, with the others and the Camels. The challenges were wiped away with the love I felt for the beauty surrounding me, the life and everyone in the group. There was a distinct sense of union rather than "I, and them, and the desert." We all danced together as we physically danced every night to the drumming and songs sang by our beloved guides. I came back with a slight stillness in my gaze and a heart filled with union and Love. Thank you Margot and Todd, thank you Zuzu, Ali, Jamil, Mohammad, Bahri, Ben Hassan, thank you Camels and most of all, thank you to the deep, ever dancing desert. And you, you, you, you and you all... I reexperienced the meaning of open heart and freedom with you all.
The desert, my greatest teacher
Who would have thought? And: Katie went into the desert, Jesus went into the desert, and now me. I expected adventure and lots of fear and resistances, sleeplessness, scorpions, heat and cold, lack of connection with the others – and nothing of it was true.
There were challenges, amazing countryside, great exercises and I managed it all. Most of the time without complaining, - according to my standards, and when I did, it taught me a lesson.
The desert is unpredictable, it taught me, that I don´t have to know anything, and that I feel peace when I finally let go of my resistances and surrender.
Most of the time my heart was wide open and I experienced the peace when I could do it.
And I noticed the difference, when I couldn´t.
I loved the camels for their strange beauty and their willingness to carry our stuff, and I loved the Bedouins for their efficiency, the security they gave me and the comfort they supplied me with.
I enjoyed the songs by the fire and the dances and my mind being calm.
The connection was amazing with everybody, I felt we grew together, one family, trust, warmth and wanting the best for the other.
Looking back I can say wholeheartedly: this was the greatest adventure of my life. I didn´t always like it – my ego wanted more comfort sometimes – but the outcome for me is tremendous.
I feel grateful and enthusiastic to an extent that I haven´t often experienced.
And the desert continues to work me.
And I notice. And do my work.
I am one who really does her work willingly. If you do too, maybe you want to give the desert a try. Unique experience. Not easy to find – and here you can.
Margot and Todd – gosh; you were amazing. Gentle, clear, strict, with a good sense of humour.
Thanks to everybody that participated to let me have the experience I got.
Thank you for giving me the "family feeling."
I have just returned from the Sahara ....... what a discovery!
I am rejuvenated , replenished and full of so much joy and wonder. Old stories buried deep in the sand now difficult to retrieve and regurgitate though I won't be surprised if I try to resurrect them in time, but something about them will have changed. Things never stay the same in the desert and that was what was so apparent. I was constantly flowing with the changes in me in the desert. Without my daily distractions, relentless busyness and historical patterns I could be still, silent and present to nature's rhythms and to me.
The desert was my teacher.
Zuzu and the Bedouins, Margot and Todd, my fellow companions were my guides.
So often I heard in the background of my mind Katie's voice
"Honey if you argue with realty you will lose ...... but always."
And that was how it was when I let go my stories of the flies, mosquitos, sand storms, no more almonds or dates, I did not suffer.
Things come and go and what remains is that silent awareness which so many teachers talk about. The desert whispered it to me again and again and in the safe holding space provided I heard.
So I highly recommend anyone to go. The desert will get into every crevice of your body, heart, and soul. And it will be challenging, stretching, amazing, and so worth it!!!
Thank you to everyone especially Margot who pulled it all together and selflessly shared it with us.
A week ago I was scared to death blaming myself for having registered to such insane trip! There are snakes and scorpions and sleeping outside and… my crazy mind was going all over the place. I almost cancelled, and fortunately I went, and what a blessing I offered to myself. What an extraordinary journey into my mind. The week was challenging in many ways for me: the mosquitos, the flies, the sandstorm. But the moon, the stars, the sunrise, the unbelievable sweetness of the sand, taking everyday what we called our private sand bath totally naked, the authenticity of the Bedouins, the caress of the wind, the incredible salad and homemade bread, the bonfire, our songs, our dancing, our open and honest sharings, our willingness to dive completely into this experience. Our hosts Margot and Todd always giving us the space and at the same time holding us so gently. I am so grateful for their organization the wonderful curriculum full of unexpected exercises and their deep experience of the work. Thank you, Merci, obrigado.