Which Way is Up? Finding Heart in the Hardest of Times.

with Susan Chapman & Elesa Commerse

August 2nd—August 4th

Date details +
  • $180 Program Price
  • $216 Patron Price
  • $144 Reduced Price
  • Pay what you can
Room: Lower Meditation Hall

Prices TBA.


This weekend workshop introduces the view that certain turning points, or “bardos”, in our lives can be transformative if we know how to embrace fear with an open heart. It introduces Susan Gillis Chapman’s new book, Which Way Is Up? Finding Heart in the Hardest of Times.   

(available June 4, 2024), which uses her journey through cancer treatment as an example of this kind of bardo.

We may not have faced a cancer diagnosis, but we have all collectively experienced a free-fall during the Covid 19 pandemic, when normal life seemed to flip upside down. While our individual stories are unique, the felt experience of groundlessness is shared by us all. This retreat is an opportunity to be gently guided by Susan  through the three kinds of fear that soften and awaken us when they are held with loving kindness. 


Retreat Schedule

Friday August 2: 6:30 - 8 pm

Saturday August 3 & Sunday August 4: 10 am – 4 pm

Retreat Leaders

Susan Gillis Chapman

Susan Gillis Chapman has been on the Buddhist path since 1974, when she began studying with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She has a BA in Philosophy and Literature from University of British Columbia and an MA in Buddhist and Western Psychology from Naropa University. She is a retired family therapist. Susan founded the Juneau Shambhala Center during her time living in Alaska and later spent nine years in retreat at Gampo Abbey, under the mentorship of Pema Chodron. She returned to Vancouver in 2008 and currently lives in Burnaby, BC with her husband Jerry and cat, Ziji. Her first book, The Five Keys To Mindful Communication, was published in 2012. 

Elesa Commerse

Elesa Commerse is the Co-Director of Touching Earth Mindfulness Learning Center, in Chicago. Her root teachers include her beloved mother, Evelyn Winslow, Pema Chodron and the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, with whom she studied for over thirty years. She created, “Finding Your Way,” the DVD/CD tool kit to help those newly diagnosed with breast cancer. To help yoga students learn Sanskrit chanting, she created “How Silent Is This Place,” a three volume CD and songbook set. With Dr. Barbara Meyer, she co-created the meditation card deck, “Befriending the Body, Befriending the Mind.”