Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Awakening the Creative Spirit: Experiential Education in the Expressive Arts (Northwest)

with Kayce Stevens Hughlett, MA, LMHC and Betsey Beckman, MM

April 21 – 26, 2024 (Sunday-Friday)

A five-day experiential intensive exploring tools for integrating the arts and imagination into spiritual direction and other healing ministries.

Program Description

Words… In typical settings, we talk, we read, we write, we sit in silence with our abundance of words. Awakening the Creative Spirit is where words dissolve and magic begins.  Art-making is meaning making.  A way to listen, discover, honor, encounter, express, bow, pray, surrender, recover, heal, renew. Art-making is an invitation to encounter the Sacred within us and around us … ever-expressive, ever-renewing.  In this community retreat, we are invited to pause, learn, and listen … to step through ancient and new thresholds that offer humility, gratitude, awe, and renewal … to follow our creative impulses to the Great Divine. 

Do you long to shake out your stuffiness? Give sound to sadness? Sing into silliness? Dance depression? Drum your desires? Paint new possibilities? Write dreams into poetry? Re-member the resonant story?  Define your own sacred yes?

This five-day experiential retreat is designed for those who are ready to explore the arts for yourself, for your work with others, for the world. 

Anyone called to the practices of soul care (mentorship, spiritual companion, chaplaincy, pastor, educator, counseling, etc.) may register.  If you wonder whether this program is a fit for you, please contact us to discuss whether this might be the right program for you. 

Program fee covers all instruction, art supplies, private room, and meals.  You are responsible for travel to the retreat center.

Absolutely no previous art experience necessary — only a willingness to awaken to the creative spirit within!

*This educational event provides 33 hours of continuing education that can be applied to the educational hours required by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. We can provide you with a letter stating the number of hours successfully completed which you can then submit to your governing body for CEU credit.

Scroll down to see our video giving you some insight into our process and program!

Learning Objectives

During this experiential workshop participants:

  • participate in several different experiential expressive arts experiences including poetry, visual art, movement, storytelling, music, and song
  • develop comfort with engagement of the arts and identify your growing edges
  • reflect on these experiences in the context of your work in spiritual direction, retreats, and other soul care contexts
  • tend to the creative process itself unfolding within you and reflect on what it has to reveal about the spiritual journey
  • deepen your experience of the arts and spirituality and be able to articulate some of these connections between creativity and formation work, both for yourself and for the persons with whom you engage in the world
  • develop foundations and language for bridging the expressive arts and spirituality

Session Overview

We begin by gathering in circle with an emphasis on creating a safe and sacred space for our non-denominational learning community to dive deep into the material.

Each day we explore a particular expressive arts modality in greater depth, providing extensive experiential exercises, theory foundations and practical applications. We fluidly move into companion art-forms as a way of exploring and integrating the expressive arts connection.

Each day includes ritual and prayer from a variety of spiritual traditions, sharing with partners, and large group discussions to help process the experience and learn from each other as well as gain input from facilitators. During this five-day intensive, there will be a minimum of 30 hours of instruction and hands-on exercises. Participants will come away with significant experience in the arts and tools for immediate application in their own life and ministry contexts.

A Video Meditation of Our Program

Your Guides for the Journey

Betsey Beckman, MM

Betsey Beckman, MM, is nationally acclaimed as a spirited dancer, storyteller, teacher of SpiritPlay and dancing Spiritual Director. With her extensive repertory of sacred storydances, she is regularly featured as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as local churches. She earned her Masters in Ministry degree from Seattle University, her certificate in Movement Therapy from the Institute for Transformational Movement, and is a certified InterPlay leader. As dancer, choreographer, author, mother, wife, teacher and spiritual director, she is passionate about living life fully and fostering creativity in all those with whom she shares life and ministry. Betsey’s publications include books, recordings, and The Dancing Word series of DVDs on embodied prayer. She offers the gift of playful improvisation whenever possible! Find out more about her work at her website: The Dancing Word.

Kayce Hughlett

Kayce Stevens Hughlett, MA LMHC is a soulful and spirited woman. In her roles as ponderer extraordinaire, spiritual director, life muse, author, creative coach, and speaker, she invites us to playfully and fearlessly cross the thresholds toward authentic living. A strong proponent of compassionate care in the world, Kayce’s live and online work focuses on the principle that we must live it to give it.

Her early career began with a multi-national accounting firm to be later refined as the path of an artist. She delights in walking alongside others as they explore and unearth their own pathways toward passionate living.

Kayce holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology with additional emphasis in spiritual direction and experiential learning practices and is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach. She is the author of As I Lay Pondering: Daily Invitations to Live a Transformed Life, SoulStroller: experiencing the weight, whispers, & wings of the world and Blue: a novel, as well as the co-author of “Arts Centered Supervision” published in Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction. Kayce is a trained SoulCollage® facilitator, a founding member of the Soul Care Institute, and has worked with groups and individuals for more than 30 years in a variety of settings.

Pilgrimage Fee


Single Room
Payment by credit card is processed through Paypal, you do not need a Paypal account. If you prefer to pay by check, please let us know and we will send you our U.S. mailing address.
Balance of Payment Due Dates

Total program fee: $1980

NONREFUNDABLE & NONTRANSFERABLE deposit: $500 (reserves your space)

Balance Due February 1, 2024: $1480

Your program fee includes 5 nights lodging in a single room with shared bathrooms, meals, all art materials, and instruction.

Please consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself in the event of illness or other cancellation. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is highly recommended to attendWe cannot offer any refunds of the deposit once your space is reserved or the final balance after it is due. The deposit or payment can also not be transferred to any other program.

Registration deadline & final balance is due by February 1, 2024


Steps to Register

  1. Please read this entire page including the FAQs below. Contact Kayce Hughlett with any questions.
  2. Pay the deposit using the button below. It will open a window in Paypal where you can pay by credit card. No Paypal account is needed.
  3. Fill out the registration form below and click submit.
  4. Kayce Hughlett will confirm your registration has been received.

Policies and FAQs

St. Andrew’s House is an Episcopal Retreat Center in Union, WA, United States on the Hood Canal.  It is an hour and 45 minutes from downtown Seattle, one and a half hours from the SeaTac airport.  If you are flying in, please allow two hours in each direction to get to and from the retreat center.  We will connect you with others who are flying in to share an airport shuttle (approx. cost is $60 each way/ $120 round trip – based on total number of riders). The shuttle is far less expensive with several riding together so we schedule it to depart the airport at about 2:30 p.m. on arrival Sunday – please schedule your flight to arrive by 2:00 so you can pick up any luggage before the shuttle leaves.  On departure Friday, the shuttle will leave the retreat center at 1:00 and arrive at the airport by 3:00 p.m.  It is quite expensive to book the shuttle on your own which is why we offer this option to share the cost. 

You can find driving directions here.

St. Andrew’s Retreat House (Pacific NW) is a lodge-style building with several comfortable bedrooms upstairs with shared bathrooms.  We limit the number of participants to 10.  Sheets, blankets, and towels are provided as well as full wireless access.

At each retreat center we are the only group present so we have extra privacy for our work.

Our time together is fairly intensive as we cover a lot of material in five days but we do try to honor your need for some quiet integration time.

Day 1 – check in between 4-6 p.m., arrival by 6:00 p.m. with dinneropening session from 7-9 p.m.

Days 2-5 – 8:00 a.m. for breakfast, morning session from 9-noon, lunch and an afternoon break from 12-3:30, afternoon session from 3:30-5:30, dinner from 6-7, and evening session from 7-9.

Day 6 – closing session is 9 a.m. – noon, then lunch and departure by 1:00 p.m.

We always encourage you to listen to the needs of your own body and spirit.

This educational event provides 33 hours of continuing education that can be applied to the educational hours required by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc.

We are happy to provide you a letter of completion at the end of the workshop with the number of hours and program objectives for you to submit to your licensing body.

We believe that everyone is an artist!  Our approach is through the philosophy of the expressive arts, which focuses on the process of the creative experience rather than on creating a beautiful product (although inevitably an authentic expression of the soul is indeed beautiful!) and engages the arts in the service of healing.  We have had participants join us with a variety of previous art experience, and some of our “least experienced” participants have been the ones who have most wholeheartedly brought the full spectrum of the arts back to their ministry contexts.

We have had participants from a wide range of soul care ministries join us – spiritual directors, chaplains, retreat facilitators, counselors, therapists, pastors, and educators, as well as some who were just beginning to discover the direction in which they were being called to share their gifts or were in a place of transition.

The program is designed to be inter-spiritual and inclusive of persons of any faith background.  In our teaching, we draw on sacred stories from Christian and Jewish scriptures, the poetry of Sufi mystics, and our week is structured around the four elements of wind, fire, water, and earth.  Our work together is in service to the ministry of companioning others on their spiritual journeys, wherever that may take them.  The arts offer tools and practices for being present to the ways that call unfolds.


Carbon Offsets and Travel

Travel has a significant impact on the environment but we also know that travelling with intention as a pilgrim can expand our hearts to ourselves and others in ways that are much needed in our world. The world needs more pilgrims and fewer tourists.

We invite you to be mindful when travelling, and consider taking public transport when you arrive to a country rather than rent a car if possible, and travel by train or public bus if you are going between countries rather than flying.

Abbey of the Arts has made a commitment to contribute a portion of the fees from our pilgrimages and live retreats to carbon offsetting companies that have been certified by third party organizations for their effectiveness. This is in addition to our Earth Monastery work to help nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness, as well as limiting the number of live programs we offer and our own air travel as much as possible. We believe Earth is our original monastery, the source of our contemplative wisdom and creative inspiration. In 2021 and 2022 we have chosen three companies to support. You are invited to consider making an additional contribution yourself if you are able.

Earth is our original monastery. Our original cathedral. And our original scripture, saints, spiritual director, icon, sacrament, and liturgy.

Carbon Offset Resources