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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Goddesses to whom I had been praying, writing affirmations to make the retreat happen, to send the right people, CAME THEMSELVES!!!  Without the participants, there would be no retreat!  I am so, so grateful to each person who came, the ones who considered it but couldn’t come this time, to all who’ve come in the past and returned, to all the new women who had the courage to experience something new, to bare their souls, share their suffering, affirm their desire to transform that suffering into precious jewels that radiate peace, joy and freedom for themselves and others!

We practiced mindfulness meditation in various ways – guided meditations, silence overnight, QiGong at dawn in the ballroom, sitting, walking and eating meditation, exploring the woods meditation, sharing in small and large groups, deep listening and mindful speech, stopping and breathing when we heard the bell, hugging, singing, holding one another’s joy and pain.  We became one, a community of recovering sisters.

The theme of this retreat was “self-compassion.” We invited the women to relax, take it easy, stop struggling for just two days and take good care of body, mind and spirit.  We offered some exercises to look at self-critical thinking, develop acceptance of ourselves as we are and nourish positive affirmations.  Mindfulness practices helped us stay in the present moment where we were safe, together, enjoying gorgeous fall days.

We watched transformation happen as we shared, opened our hearts to one another and gave ourselves a chance to look deeply into our own suffering and water seeds of happiness and peace.   One person had very recently lost her husband, another was grieving through a recent divorce, another struggling over custody of her children.  Many had either been neglected by their mothers or had become mothers who neglected their children because of addictions.  The mother/daughter theme emerged as such a deep suffering that we are considering doing a workshop on it next spring.

The healing was tangible, faces and bodies relaxing, tears and smiles mixing, a woman who considered leaving dancing in the fall leaves instead.  This is what I love, being with people, especially women, forming a group where sharing on a deep level is possible, where healing of our bodies, minds, emotions and hearts can happen, continue.

So, I feel GOOD!  even though one of my legacies of the weekend was a cold from hugging some sick folks.  This will pass.  I am resting, drinking water and tea, taking lots of vitamins and trying to follow my own “self-compassion” advice.



Peace is possible – HERE and NOW in our hearts, in this beautiful fall day, with one another.



Ahh, at last!  Sunlight!  After four days and nights of rain and clouds, the sky began to clear enough for the moon to appear last night.  Then this morning – real, bright sunshine bursting through the clouds.  How did you survive this period of rain and cold?  How are you surviving the government shut-down, the craziness in our congress that threatens our economy and way of life?

I lean on my meditation practice, trying to stay in the present moment, mindful that we are spinning on Planet Earth at a great rate of speed around the sun.  Everything changes.  I can’t find ultimate security in any single person, place, thing or government.  Having the Earth as the ground upon which I stand reminds me of the need for rain, for clouds, for change to bring about growth necessary for our survival.  My feelings sometimes wilt with rain, yearning for the sunlight.  Then it is important for me to keep doing “the next right thing,” to keep moving, to be outdoors even when the weather is uninviting, to stay close to positive people like my husband, to focus on helping others, to love.  I know from years of experience that the sunshine will come through the clouds, that the other side of sadness is joy, that problems help us find solutions.

I look for understanding from wise ones, like Thich Nhat Hanh in his Love Letter to the Earth (p. 37):  “We should put on our seat belt (of mindfulness).  We should enjoy every moment.  In each of these moments (cloudy or sunny), we can be in touch with the wonders of life.  We don’t need to run away from or cover up our painful feelings or try to forget unpleasant memories.  We don’t need something to help us to forget.  We only need to know how to remember; we need to know how to create moments of joy and happiness, how to water what is nourishing within us, and how to become aware of the wonders of life around us.”  Within each rain drenched leaf on the tree is the sunbeam of energy and life.  Within my heart is all I need to be happy in this moment.