Image via 1440 Multiversity

1440 Multiversity Brings Immersive Learning to the California Redwoods

The retreat center and professional development hub has hosted thought leaders like Sharon Salzberg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and more.

When we first discovered that women and men were gathering for professional development retreats among giant redwood trees near Santa Cruz, California, we wanted to transport you there so that you could be among them.

1440 Multiversity has attracted thought leaders and mindfulness experts like Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Sharon Salzberg, Julia Cameron, Judith Orloff and many more icons who visit the property to gather, educate, enrich, and simultaneously experience being the best version of themselves. 

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The retreat center’s namesake, 1440, comes from the number of minutes in a day. “Each one [is] a chance to connect with what truly matters– both within and around us,” their catalog reads.  

Offering a wide variety of wellness, professional development, healing arts, and personal growth programming, the 75-acre campus also offers lodging with a California contemporary flare, one that’s free of telephones and TVs so that disconnecting from 21st century life is possible (WiFi is, however, available on site).

Joanie Kriens, the co-founder of 1440 Multiversity, has a beautiful garden on site where cooking, nutrition, and gardening classes are held. She and her husband, Scott Kriens, came from the tech world; Scott is the chairman and former CEO of Juniper Networks, which grew to $4 billion in global sales with 10,000 employees in more than 100 countries.

And yet, the life the duo leads today seems to stand in direct opposition to the life they once had– but in fact, it’s all connected.

Whether you’re a yogi who is familiar with wellness retreats or just someone who wants a break from routine, 1440 Multiversity has created an immersive experience for all. Below, we chat with Joanie Kriens about how the retreat center, which is surrounded by majestic scenery, came to be.


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GC: Do you remember the moment when you and Scott decided to pivot and create a physical space for 1440 Multiversity?

JK: It started, believe it or not, as a search for more office space, and then we came across the shut down campus of a bible college founded in the 1950’s, called Bethany University. The idea for the 1440 Multiversity began with that discovery, and the possibility of creating a space where our work could come to life.

GC: What were your first steps in making that dream a reality? 

JK: It began with the possibility of restoring the campus among the redwoods– at the time we found it was in desperate need of a complete re-creation. The two most important questions to answer were, “Could we make the space special?” and “If we build it, will anyone come?”– and they did!

GC: How have you personally changed along this journey?

JK: We are now more inspired than ever that the opportunities for learning and connecting with ourselves and each other at the Multiversity is needed in the world. Each guest who has joined us since our opening has helped to confirm that.

GC: How do you pay homage to ‘1440 minutes within a day’ everyday?

JK: We claim no mastery of the goal of being present, it is simple to say and often hard to do. As Sharon Salzberg, a dear friend and well-known contemplative teacher would say, “Notice when you have wandered away from the present moment, and then Begin Again.”

GC: What is your average day like at 1440?

JK: We work every day to make the experience richer and more meaningful for our guests, and ourselves. Sometimes that is as simple as [ensuring] the little things that make our guests comfortable during their stay, and sometimes it is brainstorming about the possibilities of exploring new programs and experiences for the times ahead.

GC: Who was the first speaker or program leader that joined you guys?

JK: Sharon Salzberg opened the campus with a program in meditation over Memorial Day weekend, which also coincided with the launch of her fabulous new book, [easyazon_link identifier=”1250076501″ locale=”US” tag=”gardcoll03-20″]Real Love[/easyazon_link].

GC: What courses have you personally taken? 

JK: I’ve taken Speak Your Truth: Conscious Communication on the Path of Personal Transformation with Alejandra Siroka and Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Retreat with Jean Kristeller and Andrea Lieberstein. Both have been a part of my ongoing curiosity about life and how to live more fully.

GC: Who was the 1440 Multiversity created for?

JK: It was created for those people who are curious and motivated to become more alive, and looking for real actions and teachings that can help them on their journey. And for groups, companies and organizations that seek to build stronger ties between one another and more trusted relationships that will serve them in their work and life.

GC: How did you guys decide to settle 1440 in Santa Cruz, California?

JK: The opportunity really found us, with the availability of a campus built 60+ years ago in a redwood forest, 20 minutes from the heart of Silicon Valley.


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GC: Who came up with the name 1440?

JK: I was in my garden one day as we were in the process of deciding on names, and in one moment I was struck by just how powerful it felt to hold freshly picked tomatoes in the morning sun. I was struck by the feeling in that minute, and wondered how many of these minutes there were in a day to feel so fully connected to everything around me.

So I Googled it and got the answer– 1440 –and it became the call to presence and gratitude for all that we have to celebrate in each minute of every day.


GC: What is your first memory in Nature?

JK: Both of my parents were gardeners, and I remember them both planting their favorite vegetables and flowers, often fighting over space in the yard. In the winter in my own personal garden I’m growing kale, chard, onions, peas, broccoli and cauliflower, and many herbs.

We’ll be planting our spring garden soon and already have rosemary, thyme, basil, and other herbs garnishing the farm-to-table foods that we prepare every day for our guests, and serve at 1440 Kitchen Table.

GC: What role does Nature play in your life today?

JK: Nature remains the place I try to enjoy every day, finding some time to just walk or work amongst all the beauty that surrounds me.

To find out more about 1440 Multiversity’s programming, visit their website.

Interested in personal development but can’t make it out to California? Try this simple garden meditation, or read our primer on flower gazing meditation

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