Photo by Michael Schvarczkopf

3 Day Retreat With Diana Fried and Stacey MacFarlane

Thursday, Sept 14th, 2023 – Sunday Sept 17th, 2023
Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, MA

A Deep Educational and Healing Training

“My experience at the AWB Awakening To the Five Elements In the Wild at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch profoundly touched me both personally and professionally. The planned content of the retreat was excellent and exceeded my expectations with the skillfully led discussions and information provided. The amazing venue only added to the the experience to bring all participants a deep appreciation of our medicine and its connection with nature.”

Margaret Leonard L.Ac.
Awakening Retreat Participant

The retreat is a memory I will hold in my heart. The journey begins now, on the other side of the retreat. Where I go with what I have learned, with the insights that surfaced, is my new challenge. Thank you for the opportunity to bring some much needed focus into my life.

Teresa Crosier, L. Ac.
Awakening Retreat Participant

See the recent conversation between Stacey, Diana and Sharon Weizenbaum.

21.5 CEUs (pending) NCCAOM Provider # 278
This course has been approved by the California Acupuncture Board, Provider Number 679, for 21.5 hours of continuing education
This course is non-refundable.

$525 early bird registration (plus room and board)

About the Retreat

The five elements of Chinese Medicine, also known as Wu Xing, are fundamental principles that describe the dynamic and interconnected aspects of the natural world and human experience. Each element—Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water—represents unique qualities, energies, and symbolic associations, offering insights into various aspects of life and health.

  • Wood symbolizes growth, strength, and vision. It teaches us the importance of having a clear direction, planning our path, and summoning the energy to manifest our dreams.
  • Fire represents passion, warmth, and expression. It reminds us to ignite our inner flame, embrace love and joy, and radiate our authentic selves, illuminating the world around us.
  • Earth embodies stability, nourishment, and interconnectedness. It guides us to find grounding, simplicity, and harmony in our lives, nurturing ourselves and fostering interconnectedness with others.
  • Metal signifies clarity, refinement, and letting go. It encourages us to release what no longer serves us, embrace the natural cycles of life, and cultivate our essence through self-reflection.
  • Water symbolizes adaptability, wisdom, and transformation. It teaches us the art of flowing with life’s changes, finding stillness within, and exploring the depths of our being for profound growth.

The five elements are not only associated with specific organs and seasons but also with emotions, colors, flavors, sounds, and other aspects of nature and human experience. Understanding the qualities and interrelationships of the five elements can provide insights into physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, guiding practitioners and individuals in maintaining balance and promoting health in various aspects of life.

Painting by Jerielle Young

We will work with each of the elements. For example, in our exploration of Wood we start with how the season of Wood corresponds to spring, symbolized by the color green. It embodies the essence of youth and new beginnings, regardless of one’s age. Spring is a time of birth, regeneration, and the emergence of energy from the stillness of winter. It is a season of joyous celebration, where movements quicken, birds become more active, and life hums with vibrant motion. In nature, we witness a remarkable explosion of growth and vitality.

Within ourselves, a similar process unfolds. After a period of moving slowly and resting during winter, we feel a compelling urge to stretch our limbs, bask in the sun’s warmth, and clear away the dust. It is a wonderful time to embark on new projects, plan exciting journeys, contemplate our vision for the future, and embrace change.

During this season, we are called to make decisions with a sense of purpose and fully immerse ourselves in the momentum that surrounds us. There is an innate feeling deep within us that urges expansion and forward movement. It is a time to tap into the flowing currents of energy and unleash our creative forces.

Seeds emerge from the earth, displaying remarkable strength and determination. Life yearns to expand, reaching upward and outward. Even when faced with obstacles, seeds find alternative paths, pushing through cracks in sidewalks or finding openings to fulfill their destiny, just like dandelions. Their resilience and flexibility are evident. This season is vibrant and lively, filled with exuberance.

Yet, there is more to it. Within the seed lies the blueprint of the plant, a predetermined plan guiding its growth and manifesting its inner purpose. It is not rigid or fixed but adaptable, requiring flexibility to thrive. It embodies purposefulness and structure. Wood represents vision, planning, and decision-making. It symbolizes orderly growth, driven by a sense of purpose and the ability to adapt. To grow, one must possess both the foresight to envision the destination and the energy to bring it to fruition. We explore the elements when in balance, and what happens when they go out of balance.

Painting by Jerielle Young

During this course, we will delve into the profound gifts of each season and their significance for us as individuals. We will explore how to live in harmony with the seasons and discover ways to guide our patients in embracing, flowing with, and embodying the essence of each season in their lives.

The training will encompass the following components:

  • Immersive and transformative teachings on the Five Elements, providing powerful experiential learning.
  • Exploring the Spirit of the Points from the Five Element tradition, deepening our understanding of their energetic qualities.
  • Engaging in personal guided Five Element explorations, connecting with nature as our guide and teacher.
  • Incorporating Qigong practices to harmonize our own energy and cultivate vitality.
  • Learning Five Element Meditations that can be shared with our patients, supporting their well-being and balance.

Painting by Jerielle Young

During our journey together, we will participate in group sharing practices that invite us to embark on an exploration of our personal stories, experiences, strengths, and challenges. Through the powerful method of Council, we will create a sacred space for open and authentic communication. Through the act of sharing and listening, we will witness the transformative power of storytelling and gain valuable insights into ourselves and others.

Through this comprehensive training, we will expand our knowledge and practical tools, enabling us to integrate the wisdom of the Five Elements into our own lives and the lives of those we serve.

The Five Elements of Chinese medicine hold timeless lessons about life’s essence, offering valuable insights for our journey:

By embracing these elemental teachings, we gain insights into the rhythms of existence, the balance between strength and flexibility, and the transformative power of aligning with nature’s flow. Through their wisdom, we discover our own innate harmony and find purpose in the ever-unfolding journey of life.

Painting by Jerielle Young

The stresses of daily life, and the additional stresses of care-giving, require that health practitioners, acupuncturists, therapists, counselors, etc. learn and use skillful means of rejuvenation regularly and often! We may also need to develop ways of protecting our energy. Working directly in nature with the five elements provides a practice–beautifully, brilliantly and with little effort–that supports all aspects of our lives–our work, our personal lives, our relationships and our own deep healing. This training will support your ongoing health, sanity and well-being, as well as your professional life. This self-care is essential for those doing community service work.

Through both group and solo practices you’ll be replenished and nourished deeply. In addition to sessions specifically addressing each of the five elements, our schedule includes daily qigong and five element meditations for personal and professional use.

You will bring home practices that can powerfully enhance your professional and personal life.

Diana Fried, Lic. Ac, Dipl. Ac, M.Ac., MA, is the founder of Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB), established in 2005. She has an extensive background in providing community acupuncture healing in disaster-stricken and underserved communities across the globe. Diana has been actively involved in disaster relief efforts in locations such as Louisiana, Haiti, Nepal, Mongolia, Ecuador, and Mexico, and has supervised relief work worldwide.

One of Diana’s contributions is the development of AWB’s Healing Community Trauma training program, which has trained thousands of acupuncturists internationally in mobile community service field work using acupuncture. She has incorporated the teachings of the Five Elements into her work with AWB and her core teachings, including the Awakening to the Five Elements program. Through her experiences, Diana emphasizes the significance of self-care and the deep connection with nature as our ally and teacher.

Diana is a graduate of the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, where she earned her M.Ac. degree in 1999. The teachings of Worsley-style Five Element Acupuncture deeply influence her approach. She also possesses extensive training in emotional/trauma healing work and has worked in grassroots community development internationally, including regions in Mexico, Central America, Asia, and Africa, through organizations like Oxfam America and Grassroots International.

As a certified Qigong Instructor, Diana incorporates this ancient practice into her work. She has also studied Curanderismo, the traditional medicine of Mexico and the Southwest, at the University of New Mexico, and completed the Buddhist chaplaincy program at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. Diana’s skill set also includes video production, writing, meditation practice, and media consulting. She holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin/Institute of Latin American Studies, where she created a video documentary on economic development strategies among the Huichol Indians to combat deforestation. Diana has also received training in Critical Incident Stress Management, Plant Spirit Medicine, and Acutonics. She is currently undergoing training as a Council Facilitator to become a Trainer. Diana has written and published numerous articles on her work with Acupuncturists Without Borders.

Stacey MacFarlane, M.Ac., L.Ac., NCCAOM Dipl.Ac.

Stacey is an experienced practitioner of Five Element acupuncture with over 20 years of experience. She holds a Masters degree in Acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) and has taught acupuncture and healing presence courses there from 2002 to 2021. Stacey is also a Healing Community Trauma trainer with Acupuncturists Without Borders, where she has participated in multiple World Healing Exchange trips to Mexico and a Disaster Relief program in Nepal.

Stacey is dedicated to her Qigong practice and has been studying under Grandmaster Nan Lu of the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation since 2012. She continues to deepen her knowledge of Wu Ming Qigong for self-cultivation and Medical Qigong for energy treatment. Additionally, Stacey is certified in Animal Acupuncture and enjoys supporting the health and well-being of four-legged family members.

Her attraction to Chinese Medicine and eastern philosophy stems from its holistic approach, encompassing the body, mind, and spirit. Stacey finds the Five Element framework particularly profound, as it embodies balance and harmony. By aligning with nature and the cycle of seasons, we align with our true nature and have the opportunity to explore and live authentically as our deepest selves.

Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center

660 Great Pond Rd
North Andover, MA 01845

Single and Shared Rooms Available

Painting by Jerielle Young

Five Elements

The Five Element school of Chinese Medicine presents a rich and captivating philosophy that holds great significance for our lives and overall well-being. By delving into the teachings of the Five Elements, we will embark on a journey of exploration and discovery, immersing ourselves in the elemental forces of nature: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood.

Through this profound exploration, we will forge a deeper connection with the natural world and gain a heightened understanding of its healing powers. The wisdom of the Five Elements will illuminate our path, enabling us to bring forth the gifts of this ancient philosophy into every aspect of our lives. We will uncover new perspectives and unlock hidden potential as we integrate these teachings into our personal and professional realms, our relationships, and our connections with the world around us.

Spirit of the Points

One of the captivating aspects we will uncover is the Spirit of Points within the Five Element Tradition. This extraordinary exploration of select acupuncture points will unveil the inherent poetry and magic of each point’s actions. Like a map leading us to the most fulfilling and vibrant life, the Spirit of Points becomes our guiding compass, revealing the pathways to optimal well-being and personal transformation.

Experiential Process with the Elements: 

Embark on a transformative journey as we explore the profound wisdom of the Five Elements in nature. Through meditations, journaling, immersive experiences in the elements, and group drum journeying, we will deepen our understanding of these elemental forces. Together, we will create a supportive space for sharing and learning, enhancing our collective experience along the way. 

Five Element Meditations:

Meditation is a transformative practice that settles the body and mind, allowing awareness to awaken. Whether seated indoors or outdoors, meditation brings a softening of attachments and a heightened connection with the world around us. In our Five Element meditations, we expand our practice to embrace the interconnection of all beings and nature itself. During this retreat, we will delve into meditation and qigong, awakening to the elemental energies that permeate our existence. You will be inspired to continue these meditative practices on your own, immersing yourself in the elements and deepening your communion with the natural world.

Qigong with the Five Elements:

Qigong with the Five Elements offers simple and beautiful meditative movements rooted in Chinese Medicine. Easily accessible and enjoyable to learn, these practices can be integrated into your daily routine for enhanced wellness and healing. Take these teachings with you and nurture a regular practice that supports your well-being.

About the Artist, Jerielle Young

Jerielle Young’s pastels and watercolors convey deep meaning held by the elements. Jerielle lives by the sea on Mere Point in Brunswick, Maine, where she watches the light on the water throughout the year. She can be reached by email at