The Healing Bed & Breakfast: Explore Healing with us.

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What is it?

People need to retreat from time to time.

Barbara Mainguy and I are offering that opportunity in our Healing Bed & Breakfast in Orono, Maine. 

People can come just for retreat or we can design a customized program to support self-healing.

Basic retreat fees (bed and breakfast) are $80 per night.  Lunch and dinner are provided for an additional $20.

Fees for customized programs are developed in accordance with individual preferences and desires.  Call us at 808-772-1099 or email to learn more or to discuss the types of programs that can be arranged. Examples of sample programs are provided at the bottom of this page.

Through Coyote Institute, when funds permit, low or no fee opportunities for retreat, especially for those in crisis, are sometimes available.  Contact Barbara at 802-451-9681 or email her at for details.

For more descriptions of this process, see Mehl-Madrona: Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom.

Sample Programs:

Due to the more informal nature of our environment, exact times are difficult to estimate.  A "typical" healing retreat provides 2 to 4 hours of "formal" interaction at a cost of $300 to $600 per day above the basic fee.  Opportunities for walks and other informal interactions abound during the day.  We provide writing assignments for self-exploration, opportunities for journaling through poetry sketching, and puppets.  "Formal" interaction can include bodywork, energy healing, guided imagery, narrative exploration, hypnosis, chi gong, and yoga.  We interact with local practitioners to provide additional options when desired or when greater intensity is desired beyond what the two of us can provide.  They can provide osteopathic medicine, more advanced yoga and chi gong, and other forms of bodywork.

Our promise:

If you are not completely happy with your retreat and the value you received for what you paid, we will lower the fee until you are content.  Likewise, if you are ecstatic about your experience, please consider making a donation to Coyote Institute to fund a retreat for someone without funds.

Our philosophy is outlined below:


Opportunities for intensive explorations of healing:


A widely agreed upon premise in indigenous healing practice is that the true impetus to healing is difficult to spark in an individual with a long-standing or overwhelming health challenge at the rate at which conventional medical help is offered. For example, perhaps one is given the medical diagnosis of breast cancer. The individual sees her oncologist once weekly for 15-30 minutes at a time, receives one or a number of invasive biopsies and perhaps surgery along the way. She may see her primary care provider once per month for routine support. She may seek mental health counseling and perhaps see that professional for 1 hr weekly. However, for most recipients, this diagnosis is a complete social and personal upheaval in their lives. They seek and receive the support they can from family, friends, church and community etc. but they may find that these supports are not enough to congeal and focus them on a journey toward transformative healing.

The term “healing”, in this context, indicates not necessarily the complete eradication of disease, although a possible outcome. “Healing” is used to indicate a move toward a state of coherence, wholeness and greater peace, by empowering the person in a relational sense to their own ‘social and personal resources’ to experience their health.  Experience in both biomedical and indigenous healing seems to call for the creation of an experience that allows for more intense focused work with the hope of this type of healing transformation.

We have been providing intensive educational experiences in self-healing from two to ten days, depending upon desire and availability. While each experience is unique to the person for whom it was designed, a common thread is the shared need on all of our parts to tell, hear and jointly create an understanding of the larger story within which we are living. Aboriginal elders often say that every person is a manifestation of “all the stories that have ever been told about them.". These stories come from various sources including our selves, families, teachers, friends, communities, professions and media. The stories are crucial in how we conduct our lives and often lay beneath the surface of our conscious knowing. During our intensive self-healing courses, we aim for the stories to reveal themselves more completely and to deepen our understanding of how the stories we are living affect our health and our illness.

Another common thread among self-healing intensive courses, borrowed from indigenous understandings of healing, is the notion that the stories exist in all dimensions of human experience (Broom, 2007). These “dimensions” can be referred to as “mind”, “body” and “spirit”, although in most indigenous cultural reference, there is no separation. All dimensions exist simultaneously and seamlessly and a healing in one “dimension” translates into every dimension.

We often begin through dialogue to explore the life story which we are living. Examples of questions include why have you come, what are the events that have occurred in your life leading up to the current problem, what sort of help have you received so far, what sort of help do you hope to receive? It is the most comfortable jumping off point for understanding the role of the mind in illness. The format is informal and relies upon our attention to the emerging story, trusting that whatever information is revealed is pertinent to our healing journey.

We also often utilize body and energy work that in indigenous healing is referred to as “doctoring”. This can take many forms dependent upon individual needs. The importance of hands-on touch cannot be overemphasized as this can be a gateway to experience/memory/information that is vital in restorying the experience of illness. Some of the doctoring employs more subtle movements of energy that do not require physical touch, or use healing instruments such as crystals, stones or feathers. They can all contribute to the experience and, when indicated, enhance the healing experience.

We use storytelling and guided imagery frequently. We use these tools aas simple relaxation techniques, encouraging more relational, imaginal activity. This fosters the quieting of the sympathetic nervous and immune system – the classic “fight or flight” response, and allows the parasympathetic nervous/immune system to engage in rest and rebuilding. Storytelling is used to develop metaphors for healing. In a relaxed state of listening, the inner healing intelligence is able to incorporate the potential for new possibilities. Guided imagery provides open-ended sensory suggestion helping us access the often quiet internal healing messages that we may not be able to access without this guidance. In guided imagery we can visualize inner healing worlds, visit healing places or ancestors, and create healing images.

Ceremony is another healing tool taught during these self-healing intensive courses and is inspired by indigenous traditions, accessing the spiritual aspect of our being. Ceremony grows out of listening. Generally ceremony is planned as the work proceeds. The element of the belief in the efficacy of the ceremony is important and is fostered during the trust building in the healing relationship. From an indigenous standpoint it’s not enough to just think about healing. Ceremony creates the magic that allows healing to happen. “Ceremonial treatment methods are the most powerful I have encountered…I have had the experience of working for weeks with a patient to change a situation, or improve a physical symptom, almost without results. Then we would do a ritual together, and an immutable problem would transform literally overnight."

Our work is a focused, intense experience from which participants often emerge feeling different from when they started. They have been provided with a vessel for cohesiveness, for understanding story and how they are living it in a new way. They are sometimes more aware of the meaning in their lives and able to return home to begin to manifest the changes that will support their paths to health.

We are located beside the mighty Penobscot River:

Other Teachers/Leaders

We are fortunate to have other teachers work with us from time to time.  We also involve local and visiting indigenous elders when that seems appropriate and desirable.  Teachers who have recently worked with us include Dr. Magili Chapman-Quinn, Dr. Jose Conte, Tony Gee, Sally deBeche, Dr. Venetia Young, Peter Blum, Nita Renfrew, and others.

Click on Reviews below to read what others have said about the experience: