Category Archives: Cortes Programs

Calling on all modern day warriors


At a recent workshop that I delivered, a participant approached me during the break and said, “I saw Margaret Wheatley speak last week and she was saying the same thing you are!” Certainly I know of Wheatley but I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve not read any of her books or heard her speak before. Just a few days ago I purchased her latest book So Far From Home: Lost and found in a brave new world. A few pages in and I’m thrilled to have a copy and be part of her tribe. I love her terminology  “weapons of compassion and insight” So beautiful! I have always held the firm belief that within the context of social change and dispute resolution, any conversation that does not hold as central a deep and compassionate inquiry into why alienation and violence occur to begin with will only contribute to continued alienation and violence.

Take the example of bullying. Has anyone noticed that “zero tolerance for bullying” doesn’t prevent bullying? What if instead of trying to stop bullying we began to focus on what leads people to resort to behaviours that we label as bullying? I remember sitting in a classroom of grade 5 students when an outside presenter came in to discuss the subject. She began by asking the kids to describe a “bully”. Predictably, her question elicited more labels from the students: mean, pushy, hostile, aggressive, selfish and on it went. And so how can we develop compassionate solutions when we use and encourage language that segregates and divides? .. language that creates enemy images? How can we possibly find our way to effectively resolving issues when we engage in subtler forms of the very thing we condemn? Sadly the same divisive language is commonplace in marriages, organizational environments and politics. The enemy image is only a word or two away .. and while we’re quick to believe the enemy is somewhere “out there”, it hatches and breeds in our minds.

And so on that note, if you’d like to arm yourself with the weapons of insight and compassion, please consider joining me at Hollyhock May 26-31 on beautiful Cortes Island .. a wonderful five days of rich immersion and “warrior training”. Find out how incredibly satisfying it can be to experience the inevitable shifts that occur when people use language deliberately .. with skillful discernment, curiosity, openness and a deep underlying love for humanity.

Moving scenes from one of my all time favourite movies: Dead Poets Society. Also a little insight into what you can expect from me as a teacher 🙂

RachelleLambRachelle Lamb is an author and speaker and is president of Mindful Communication. She has shown thousands how to courageously and skillfully navigate interpersonal tension and conflict, leading toward breakthrough.

Join Rachelle for her workshop, Mindful Communication, at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, May 26 – 31, 2013.

The Haiku Sessions – Stephen Jenkinson


The long awaited teaching series from Stephen Jenkinson is here. Shot on high-definition video in Maui over 10 sessions, it is available via digital download or DVD.

This three day teaching is part wonder, part battle cry and part strategy for the beginnings of a deeply wrought human life which makes peace with the ravaged world, finds a home along the old abandoned road, and honours the grief soaked longing for those things and those people we thought we lost. This is what generations to come deserve from us, this labour, and it might still fashion from us a generation of ancestors worth coming from.

Join Stephen at Hollyhock this May 20th-24th, and Contemplate the deep poverties and profound possibilities of our time and re-establish the grief and love soaked ties to life, home and village. This is a two-year project of personal ancestral learning and cultural redemption for those who intend to leave a better day for those to come. It is a school that requires no previous experience with living people, dying people or dead people – though you do have experience with all of them – and no particular employment, religion, educational standard or way of life. It is open to every shape, persuasion, style, language and hue of person with a heart inclined for opening and learning. Each of us deserve the chance to learn something deep, alive, human, urgent and mandatory. This is at the heart of the Orphan Wisdom School.

Why attend Social Change Institute?


One of my best memories from last year’s SCI was the first night, when an impromptu group sat down together outside and launched into a long and spirited conversation on the state of the climate movement. It was the type of conversation that occurs on the best panels of the year, and there it was, not even on the main program.

sciI’m sad to say I cannot make SCI this year because I will be out of the country. But if you care about the state the world is in, and want to see change happen, being there should be a top priority.

What makes SCI different is its annual act of plucking activists of all stripes from their chronically busy lives, and throwing them together into a distilled essence of awesome. Each year the organizers manage to break people from their daily customs, pull back to see the big picture, then strategically reinsert agents of change. That is the true alchemy of SCI.

There is a lot to nourish the soul on Cortes Island. The Hollyhock property is gorgeous — I’m a big fan of the campground myself — and the food is amazing. I guarantee you will come home with your reservoirs of hope and energy restored.



Marc Lee is the Co-Director of the Climate Justice Project and Chair of the Progressive Economics Forum, a national network of heterodox economists. He contributes regularly to Relentlessly Progressive Economics, a blog of the PEF, and researches and writes on a variety of economic and social policy issues for the CCPA’s BC and National Offices. In addition to tracking federal and provincial budgets and economic trends, Marc has published on a wide range of topics from poverty and inequality to globalization and international trade to public services and regulation. He is a past Vice Chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission and prior to joining the CCPA, Marc was engaged in popular economics education through RAIN, a partnership with his spouse.

The 2013 Social Change Institute will take place June 5-9 at Hollyhock, on Cortes Island. Learn more about SCI and how to attend this one-of-a-kind conference.

Interviews with Students and Faculty of Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Training Program

Adapted from ANN BRADNEY’S Youtube Page:

“The Radical Aliveness Institute was founded on the idea that in order to make a difference in the world, people need to recognize they are part of a greater whole. The intensive coursework and unique group work of this program help students begin to experience themselves as not separate from or observing life, but as fully present, energetically connected to others, and able to be in service of the greater whole and their life purpose. The program teaches students that emotions not only provide a natural path to self-transformation, but that learning how to master and integrate the full depth of human emotions is key to being an effective leader and agent of social change in the world. In the Radical Aliveness process, students develop the openness and flexibility to welcome and embrace  complexity, chaotic energy, and the full range of emotions in a group setting that supports growth, honesty, and self-responsibility. This distinct process is challenging, fun, and stimulating — and leads to profound changes in individuals and groups. The Institute’s highest mission is to train others in Radical Aliveness group leadership skills so they can use these newfound skills in their professional lives to promote healing in their clients, communities, and organizations.”

Ann BradneyCCEP, is founder and director of the Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Institute of Southern California. She teaches and leads trainings internationally including at organizations for peace in Israel, and at Core Energetics Institutes in Holland, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia.

Join Ann Bradney for Radical Aliveness: Core Energetics, on Cortes Island May 26-31, 2013.


Cortes, An Island On The Edge Of Wilderness

By Hollyhock presenter Mike Moore 

Cortes Island lies at the north end of the Salish Sea, where Vancouver Island juts up against the BC mainland coast. This is a scenic and diverse area and it is at the edge of BC’s vast coastal wilderness.

To the east the view is dominated by the mountain peaks of the Coast Range with the iconic Mt. Denman towering 6600 feet above the myriad of channels and islands of Desolation Sound. The back waters of Desolation Sound have the warmest ocean temperatures north of Mexico, reaching in to the mid 20’s. There is no other place in the world where you can swim in water so warm right under snow-capped mountains!

To the south Cortes thrusts out into the Strait of Georgia at the north end of the Salish Sea. The mountains on Vancouver Island and the Coast Range create a rain shadow effect here so that the climate is warmer and drier here than to the north of Cortes.

To the west the tidal waters flowing in from the Pacific Ocean are squeezed through the narrow channels of the Discovery Islands creating the tidal rapids that this area is famous for. Currents reaching 12 knots flush the area with cold, oxygen and nutrient rich water that feeds the abundant marine life here. Some of these rapids form standing waves of up to 2 1/2 metres high, a favourite place for kayakers to play! But it also is a great place to watch for seals, sea lions, dalls porpoise, pacific white-sided dolphin and orca fishing in the rich waters.

And to the north of Cortes, there lies a largely uninhabited wilderness. There are no road accessible communities between the towns of Lund and Bella Coola, 300 km apart as the crow flies but with over 900 km of coastline separating them. The mainland coast just off of Cortes has the southern most grizzly bear populations. Cortes is home to black- tailed deer, cougar and river otters. Wolves are sometimes seen in our back yards. Living this close to the wilderness demands a level of attention and respect. We keep our livestock well protected and fenced and keep our dogs on the leash while walking in the wolf’s forest home.

While Cortes is home to the vibrant communities of Mansons Landing, Whaletown and Squirrel Cove, it is easy to find empty beaches and forest paths to explore. Kwas Park is 70 hectares and has trails that wind through first growth trees and along Hague and Gunflint Lakes. Vondonop Inlet Park features reversing tidal rapids, steep-sided fjords, and tidal flats. This rugged 1,277-hectare park has no designated hiking trails within the park, although a good trail does exist from the Von Donop to Squirrel Cove, outside the park (approximately 5 km). A rough trail also runs to the top of Cliff Peak that has an elevation of 459 metres and is Cortes Island’s highest point.

Exploring the waters around Cortes by kayak or guided boat tour is an excellent way to get a sense of the wildness of the coast. Favourite kayak launch sites include Mansons Lagoon and Cortes Bay. A swim in Desolation Sound or a trip to view the wildlife at Mitlenatch Island are regular destinations for the boat tours that leave from Cortes Island.

For further information on what Cortes has to offer, see

Explore the spectacular Cortes Island region with Mike Moore at Hollyhock during Sea Kayaking Adventures Aboard Misty Isles July 12 – 17 or September 8 – 13.