Course Description

When we know ourselves, we are so much more able to meet others exactly where they are.

Opening to the Mystery is a live, 6-day online retreat. This retreat is not about death.  And it’s not about massage therapy.  It’s about life.  It’s about how to invite more joy, more clarity and more simplicity into your life and heart… no matter what your job.

Opening to the Mystery is designed to invite you to deeply consider and even to befriend your own mortality.  Cal Cates will combine a variety of experiential, interpersonal, and individual exercises that support deep inquiry and consideration of emotions and ideas about living and dying.  This course provides guideposts that will lead you to embrace an honest relationship with life that will allow you to be more fully present not only with people who are dying, but also with all of the people in your life.

This course will be beneficial for any person who wants to have more access to their own wisdom and to cultivate deeper, more authentic relationships professionally and personally.  Certainly, if you spend time at the bedside of people who are dying you’ll find you have more comfort there, but this course is not just for people who feel drawn to or already work in hospice care.

Past students have said that their experience in this course enlivened their practice, shifted stuck relationships and helped them to see and to love their family members/spouses in a different, more open way.

Dates & Times

Opening to the Mystery is a live, 6-day online retreat.

We will meet (via Zoom) Monday, January 27th - Saturday, February 1, 2025, 5:00PM - 8:30PM (Eastern) each day.

The course includes individual and small group exercises, reading and journaling, discussion and lecture. It is a highly-interactive exploration of authenticity, presence, and mortality that will include much more joy than you will expect!


At Healwell, we are continually working to make inequities visible and to change them. One of the ways we do this is by inviting people who engage with our programs to thoughtfully consider what they can and want to invest in the current and future state of our world and community. When you make the decision to benefit from content created by Healwell, we invite you to consider it as an investment.  

When you choose which level you’d like to pay, let it be an exploration of how you want to participate in the future. What can you afford to pay today? What is it worth to you to ensure that others can have this same experience you’re about to have while continuing to be able to meet their basic financial commitments? Can you offer a little more and invest in our collective future? Or is today a day when your heart wants to do that, but your wallet can’t?

Every day is different and every person is different. Be thoughtful. Think beyond yourself and choose a level that’s congruent with your financial life and your deepest values. We’ll all get there.


Pricing options

Approved for Continuing Education

*Please note: In order to be eligible for CE credit, you must register with your full name (as it appears on your professional license) and your license state and number.

Approved by NCBTMB for 21 CEUs for massage therapists.

Approved for 21 contact/clock hours of continuing education credit by the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois  for the following professions:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Counselor-Professional/Clinical
  • Dentist/Dental Hygienist
  • Dietitian/Nutritionist
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • Nurse (APN, RN, LPN)
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Occupational Therapist/COTA
  • Physical Therapist/PTA
  • Psychologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Social Worker

Please refer to  for eligibility of CE credit for your profession in your state or contact your licensing board/credential provider for continuing education requirements.  Questions, please contact

Watch Intro Video



Instructor & Executive Director Cal Cates

Cal has been teaching and developing curriculum for massage therapy courses focused on hospital-based practice, oncology massage and end of life care since 2007. Their experience in clinical practice in hospitals around the US has informed their teaching style greatly. Cal is clear that massage therapy is healthcare and feels a personal commitment to inviting students to consider themselves as integral to a whole person healing process. Their favorite thing about teaching healthcare providers is the ability to blend nerdiness and authenticity to create opportunities to be more effective, more human and more flexible.


A transformative training

"It was a pleasure taking Opening to the Mystery online. It’s a transformative training, and the online format doesn’t seem to change that. The opportunity for deep reflection has served to really anchor and enrich my practice with patients (and myself) at end of life. The connection with other participants amplifies that experience as well, as do the readings. Easily the best CEUs I have ever taken."

True learning

"So many courses present material in a linear and clean fashion. True learning happens when you journey into it and experience it. The instructor brought us up close and personal."

Moving and clarifying

"Very moving and clarifying, at the soul level."

It is empowering

"Always life affirming to discuss death and dying! I'm surprised how many friends have asked me to share information from the class! We need to be less afraid of these discussions. It is empowering. I look forward to continuing the discussion with friends and family."

Amazing and inspiring

Orley Bills III MSW, LCSW, ACHP-SW, C-SWHC, Primary Children's Hospital

"I cannot tell you how much this course has impacted me. This has been amazing and learning from you has been inspiring."

Wondrous & mysterious

Teri Osborne, M.Ed., BCMT

"I am so very grateful, Cal, for this wondrous & mysterious experience, it was so very helpful!"

Challenging, enlightening and ultimately life-affirming

Sakinah Irizarry, LMT

"So grateful for this challenging, enlightening and ultimately life-affirming course and for your amazing instruction."

Healwell’s programs are funded in part by generous people like you. Donate today and choose love, compassion, and evidence-based care that acknowledges that humans are important.