Awake & Alive: Mindful Living with Cancer

A 2½ Day Retreat

Wednesday, 31 May – Friday, 2 June 2017



Living with cancer can be one of the most challenging life events. This programme is designed to help you navigate the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the journey with greater ease, courage and acceptance. You will leave with practical tools and practises that empower you to live well in the midst of change and uncertainty.


The retreat is based on a mind-body approach to health that will support your healing and recovery, as well as helping you access your body’s innate wisdom and intelligence. You will learn skills from the highly effective, research-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme which can help transform challenging emotions and negative thinking, and strengthen your resilience and coping skills. And you will learn how to support yourself through simple but effective steps that help you live your life more fully awake and alive.

There will also be time spent in the gardens finding the deep relaxation and guidance that nature offers us.

The daily programme includes:

  • Deep relaxation sessions
  • Guided mindfulness meditation
  • Gentle mindful movement
  • Mindful Walking and Eating practise
  • Connecting to nature through our senses
  • Exploration and art
  • Heart-opening practises of loving-kindness and self-compassion

There will also be time for rest, self-reflection and personal sharing within a safe and supportive circle that respects each person’s own unique way of living with cancer and its challenges.


Cancer Patients and Survivors
Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with any type of cancer is welcome whether currently in treatment or many years out from diagnosis.

Recognising that carers are also deeply affected by their loved one’s illness, partners or carers are welcomed.


Wednesday, 31 May 10am – 5pm

Thursday, 1 June  10am – 8pm

Friday, 2 June 10am – 2pm

Please plan on arriving by 9:30am so we can start each day at 10am


£195 including meals and refreshments


Here are a few testimonials from past participants on Awake & Alive: Mindful Living with Cancer Retreats









“This retreat really helps one deal with the pain and uncertainty of living with cancer. Helps one live a “healed” life, regardless of diagnosis and prognosis. I loved the sharing council and people feeling safe to share. Really love meditation and mindful practices.” —Betsy D.

“This is my first time in a group with other people living with cancer, it has been so healing. I feel heard and understood at such a deeper level. We were able to share without judgment and without trying to fix each other.” —Robin B.

“Erica is very experienced, gifted, skilful, knowledgeable, very gentle and I’ve learned so much about mindfulness and living as well as we can– in the time that we have.” —Jacquie J.

“I’ve grown to understand myself better, understand my cancer better, and have renewed hope, encouragement and inspiration.  I can’t tell you how wonderful the facilitators are –  the retreat has been managed so very well that we have all walked away transformed by it- only the highest marks to give this experience.”  —Barbara R.

Please Note: We will be spending time outside in nature if the weather allows, so please dress comfortably in layers. For the deep relaxation sessions you may like to have a warm shawl or blanket -we will also have some available at the Centre. And you will need a notebook or journal for some of the exercises and to record your own thoughts and reflections.


The Letchworth Centre has been running Mindfulness programmes continuously since 2003 because we understand the wide-ranging health benefits of learning to be mindful.



 “If you really want to change your life and open up opportunities, learning to practice mindfulness is one of the most dramatically effective things you can do …” Mental Health Foundation

Over 30 years of scientific research have shown that relieving stress and healing our emotional, mental, and spiritual life optimizes the body’s potential to heal—which is why mindfulness training is part of the integrated health programmes of the leading cancer hospitals and treatment centres worldwide. While stress suppresses the immune system, mindfulness practises have been found to boost and strengthen immunity—so improving health and enhancing the ability to fight illness.

Studies have shown other health benefits include:

  • reduced stress and a greater sense of peace and wellbeing
  • greater resilience and ability to cope with challenge and stress
  • reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • improved sleep, better concentration and lowering of blood pressure
  • enhanced ability to cope with pain
  • improved ability to release tension and deeply relax
  • increased energy, enthusiasm and zest for life

Mindful Living Practise 

Mindfulness can help you live in the present moment with more awareness, ease and peacefulness so you can strengthen your resilience and buffer the negative impact and stresses of cancer. Through close attention to everything that arises in your mind and body without judging or rejecting it, mindfulness provides a way to address painful emotions and unhelpful thinking and helps you discover how to befriend yourself with compassion and kindness. Gentle and insightful mindfulness and loving-kindness practices help you discover deep relaxation of body and mind, softening of heart and deepening of your capacity to embrace life in the present moment – just the way it is!

Please note: While mindfulness has its roots in ancient Buddhist wisdom traditions, this is a secular programme with an integrated mind/body-based approach to living with illness that is suitable for anyone of any beliefs from any tradition.

Awake and Alive Flyer

Awake and Alive Health Questionnaire


Erica Rayner-Horn MA, LMHCA – is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in integrating mindfulness in her work as a therapist, presenter, workshop leader and writer. An instructor of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme, she trained at the Center for Mindfulness in America with Jon Kabat- Zinn and now teaches mindfulness meditation and stress management in medical, educational and corporate settings. She has extensive experience working with people living with cancer.

Erica has appeared in numerous publications and on radio, and is the author of the best-selling CD ‘Finding Tranquility-Guided Mindfulness Meditations for Stressful Times’ as well as an upcoming book and audio series on cancer and mindfulness.

She designed and developed Awake & Alive Mindful Living with Cancer Retreats based on her personal experience as a cancer patient and her professional training. She is passionate about teaching mindfulness as an effective way to cope better and live well with the challenging experience of cancer.

Erica is a native Brit. She left England on a one-way ticket to Japan to study Zen Buddhism in a monastery in Kyoto. After training there for three years she has continued to study and practice different traditions of Buddhism for decades and has studied with many well-known teachers including Thich Nhat Hahn.  She now lives near Seattle, Washington.


Micheal Connors Co-Facilitator BSc, PGCE, Adv Dip Couns and Psych, Dip Sup, ML will enhance the mindfulness and stress management focus of this retreat with his extensive experience as an holistic therapist, nature guide and meditation facilitator. He has worked across the fields of education, health and wellbeing for over 25 years and recently worked for 10 years at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre which became Penny Brohn Cancer Care. He is currently supporting people living with long term conditions through projects in nature.  He is co founder, with his partner, of Human Nature and The Natural Academy,, and has written a number of articles and a short book, ‘Pocket Full of Soul’. These are on the subject of the Human-Nature connection. Micheal is passionate about helping people find the resources they need, to live as well as they can with the challenges of a health crisis.

To book on this course please call on 01462 678804 or to book online follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.