Retreat Reflections

Retreat Reflections

Hello friend,

I have been glowing for the past couple weeks. I held a retreat at the beginning of this month, and I gleaned so much from it. I love how much my class participants inspire and teach me. And a full-day retreat is fertile grounds for all kinds of creative interplay to happen. It was magical.

I would really love for you to join me on my next retreat, so I want to give you a taste of what it was all about without taking away the magic and mystery. Most of it you have to experience in person to understand with your whole heart. But I can set the stage.

It was held at the Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington. If you have never been to the Abbey, it is a magical setting in and of itself. The Abbey is the product of a 20-year friendship between a Zen Buddhist monk and a Druid priest. Ven. Thay Kozen and Rev. Kirk Thomas initially created this dynamic 23-acre sanctuary as a home for their two faiths and a place for people of all beliefs to find peace.

The land was originally a farm, and they continue this relationship to the soil as a WSDA certified organic producer. Majestic views of Mt. Adams are complemented by a stone circle, rock labyrinth, pond, shrines, statues, chickens, gardens, bells, prayer wheels, and more.

On the day of the retreat, the earth gave us a sample platter of all the weather possible on a spring day in the mountains. It snowed, rained, rainbowed, sunshined, and everything in between. Yet somehow each moment we spent outside in contemplation, creative study, and collaborative exploration seemed to be kissed with sunbreaks. The earth was certainly holding us.

And our focus for the day was rekindling our ancient relationship with the earth – remembering our calling to hold her in return. We were reminded again and again that we are of the earth, and as such, we have access to a wealth of wisdom and support that we rarely tap into. The earth also needs us to remember and regularly commune with her. We spent the day using creativity with and in the natural world as a way to return to ourselves. We each found our unique, distinct paths to help repair our individual and collective relationships to the web of life in which we are held. And we created a map for guiding ourselves back to wholeness.

How do I sum up the wisdom gleaned and shared in this day together? How do I capture the ways we were inspired by the wonders of the earth that we discovered in ourselves and in each other? I’m not sure I can share it here adequately in words. But I can invite you to visit the natural world with a journal and some drawing tools in hand. Ask for guidance and see what comes to you. Ask how you can reciprocate and see what flows out of you. Earth is nothing if not creative. Creativity is a path to tune into your biologically instinctive and intuitive nature, which stems from your channel of communication with the natural world. We can understand the interdependence between. The heart of the earth and our own hearts. In this way we move toward integrity and wholeheartedness.

And the next time you feel a nudge to attend an art class or retreat (whether it be mine or someone else’s), listen and go. ;-)

With love and gratitude.

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