loose leaf hollow
A unique guest house designed for deep peace, quiet, and creative spiritual practice
The friendly, open and warm character of Loose Leaf Hollow sets it apart from larger retreat facilities. It is truly “a space for grace” where you can relax, reflect and re-energize your soul!

Only 45 minutes from Louisville, 25 minutes from Gethsemani, and only 10 minutes from Bardstown — Loose Leaf Hollow is easily accessible, yet quite secluded.


Bordered by gorgeous Bernheim Forest, Loose Leaf Hollow has a grace and beauty all its own, and will be a tonic for both your senses and soul.


Loose Leaf Hollow has a full kitchen, library, and a beautiful zendo for meditation. It can accommodate six guests and is suitable for over-night, weekend, and longer solitary retreats. A separate hermitage (“Ti Hollow”) is available for a more solitary retreat.

It’s a really simple process—I get up about
four in the morning, have a cup of coffee,
and then go to the zendo and sit.
And after sitting, I write.
Just bringing forth whatever’s within.
And later, I listen to what I wrote
with the ear of the heart.


The only way I know how to “true” a poem
is by ear, and by heart.
The heart knows what’s true—
and I listen with it.
And then I just whittle away everything
that isn’t true.
Whatever’s left on the page—is the poem du jour.


Then somehow, mysteriously, the poem “trues” me.

Broken Crayons

Broken Crayons Our governmental institutions are broken. Our economy is broken. Our healthcare system is broken. So many of us are grief-stricken with loss.   What does optimism mean now? In this time of political chaos?   Even pre-school kids know those broken...

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Mistakes are the golden threads in the tapestry. When mistakes hurt someone, regret it. A heart with a sky full of guilt can help. A thimble full of shame can kill. Make amends if you can. Ask for forgiveness always. And be sure to forgive yourself. Learn what...

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Tending the Garden

Pam works outside the zendo windows weeding the front garden; me inside meditating and writing, working with the “mind weeds” that Suzuki Roshi talked about so fondly, almost 50 years ago. Roshi saw mind weeds as a treasure. I’m not sure Pam would agree — though, they...

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Joe Zarantonello is a teacher, poet and meditation instructor.  Joe’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Notre Dame where he majored in The Great Books. His M.A. is from University College Dublin, Ireland where he studied Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama.

Joe and his wife, Pam, began co-creating Loose Leaf Hollow in 2002 as a guesthouse for contemplative retreats. In 2013, a small hermitage, called “Ti Hollow,”  was added to offer a place for deeper solitary retreat.

(Portrait of Joe by Margo Delaney Hite, BFA)

To schedule a Retreat or for more information:



Loose Leaf Hollow
250 Loose Leaf Drive
Bardstown, KY 40004