Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Minding What Matters: Learning the Vital Dance of Body and Consciousness in the Second Half of Life

Minding What Matters: Learning the Vital Dance of Body and Consciousness in the Second Half of Life

A calm stream at dusk
Key Info: 
  • Explore current neuroscientific findings on the growing capacities of your maturing brain
  • Learn theories of complementarity from quantum physics
  • Discover modes of self inquiry drawn from art, psychology, story, and wisdom traditions

With Robin Rose Saltonstall, PhD

£ 550.00
Course fees include a stay in private accommodation with shared bathroom and all vegetarian meals. Fee also includes any field trips, materials as well as all teaching sessions.

If you are in the second half of your life, then you know that one of the signature experiences of this time is feeling more strongly about ‘what matters’ and simultaneously experiencing a change of capacities in the physical matter of oneself. Welcome to the Dance of Complementarity, a ‘both/and' of increasing consciousness and changing body. Living ‘both/and’ is a leitmotif in the pilgrimage of ageing and is an essential undertaking in the journey to health and well-being in the second half of life.

Come spend an immersive weekend at Schumacher exploring

  • current neuroscientific findings on the remarkable and growing capacities of your maturing brain
  • theories of complementarity from quantum physics
  • modes of self inquiry and discovery drawn from art, psychology, story, and wisdom traditions, designed to help you choreograph your own healthy, potent, and wise second half of life dance

One of the signature experiences of being in the second half of life is feel-ing simultaneously both stronger and weaker. We feel more strongly about what matters, sensing a call to find purpose and legacy in life; simultaneously our bodies — the physical matter of us — start to lose strength. We perceive new connections and rhythms of nature, even as vision and hearing are becoming less capable. Unexpected synchronicities may bring new people and possibilities forward as energy diminishes for roles and relationships that no longer inspire or satisfy. Our capacity to bring depth to daily life expands even as new aches intensify and unaccustomed maladies emerge. Welcome to the Dance of Complementarity.

In this course we will explore the complementarity of changing body and increasing consciousness.  With ageing, the ego’s way of interpreting physical changes creates fear and anxiety, but in truth we are becoming “differently-abled”. We can either remain in crisis or we can harness our experience to catalyze a shift toward a broader, deeper, and greater consciousness. Understanding and stepping into this complementarity is to participate in Gaia’s dance. To realize this dance is one of the most challenging, potentially rewarding, and important undertakings of our lives, especially when we are surrounded by a culture that is generally oblivious to this call, urging us to cling to youthful ideals and appearances, repeating old patterns long after they have lost their energy and meaning. This dance of complementarity requires artistry, dedication, practice, and courage. 

This immersive weekend short course will give you tools for choreographing this stage of your life and becoming as healthy, effective, and wise as you can be in the second half of life. Applying the theory of complementarity drawn from quantum physics, findings from neuroscience and quantum biology, ecology of living systems, and Eastern wisdom traditions as a framework, we will learn not only about the remarkable and growing capacities of our brains at midlife, but also about how our mammalian instinct to avoid threat can make us run away from the work we are called to do. We will engage in self-inquiry through yoga, dreams, and sacred story, thought experiments drawn from positive and transpersonal psychology, craft and artwork, and nurturing in nature by the river Dart and in the gardens of Dartington. We will gather around the fire, cook meals, quietly contemplate, and live in community cultivating ourselves in the Schumacher way.

*The Booking Deadline gives us an accurate idea of course participant numbers at approximately 6 weeks before the course is due to run, at which point we confirm the course, add additional time for people to book on or cancel the course. We encourage people to register early for courses as places are limited.

With Robin Rose Saltonstall, PhD
Robin Rose Saltonstall

Robin Rose Saltonstall, PhD

Robin Rose Saltonstall, PhD blends neuroscience, Nature-based experience, depth psychology, art, story, anatomy, and movement into a dynamic approach to creating healthiness and fulfillment in the second half of life.

Robin Rose owns and directs 40plus Integrative Health, LLC, in Boulder, Colorado, USA  ( ) which targets the physical and mental health issues of individuals in the second half of life. She offers specialized therapeutic yoga classes for patients with Parkinson’s Disease, Chronic Low Back Pain, and Stroke and Head Injuries. Robin is a professor of ecotoxicology, climate change, and ecopsychology at Viridis Graduate Institute ( She co-hosts RadioMidlife, a pilot radio show broadcasting on Acast (Radio Midlife with Robin Saltonstall, PhD ) and is researching, writing, and blogging on Being More Older Than ‘Young (M.O.T.Y.) But Not Yet Elder ( She organizes and leads ReCalibrate Camps for people in transition in the second half of life (

Robin Rose holds a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, is a Duke University trained Integrative Medicine Health Coach, Upledger Craniosacral Therapist, registered Yoga Therapist, and certified Mindfulness Practices instructor. She has served as a medical ethicist at Stanford University, a health consultant to national foundations, and an Instructor in women and health issues at the University of Colorado. In 2014, she completed the Post-Graduate Certificate in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, England, and in 2016, served as Assistant in the Holistic Science programme.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847212