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  • D.J. McKay

September Retreat in Western NC

Hey, folks!

It's my pleasure to announce today that I've set up another retreat, this one in Western North Carolina. I would dearly love to see you there if you can make it.

Where: Diamond Falls Preserve, near Bat Cave, NC (about thirty minutes southeast of Asheville),

When: Beginning Tuesday afternoon, September 25 and ending around noon on Sunday, September 30

I decided to offer this retreat as the previous one finished. The retreat last month near Tuscon was fabulous, I thought. We turned an old-timey ranch house in the middle of nowhere into a wonderful little retreat center, and we spent a week together there in silence, practicing awareness and self-love. We meditated in what used to be the living room of the old house, we joined in workshop and group discussion twice a day, we prepared and enjoyed good food together, we embarked upon daily excursions to a number of beautiful desert natural areas, and (my favorite part) we spent time each day just being, practicing simply being with the ancient sycamores, the squeaky old windmill, and the piled rock formations around our temporary home. I loved it. It's my favorite thing in the world to spend time with people in this way. People are so beautiful, and you really get to see this beauty as they settle into the safety of the retreat environment, as they open up and share of themselves from the heart. It was fun for me over the course of the week to watch everyone let go of the busy lives they had left to come to Arizona, gradually settle in, and become more and more quiet in themselves. I was reminded of the importance of regular retreat, the power retreat has to reconnect us with our authentic nature, with the deepest desire of our hearts, and to remind us of what is truly important.

Leaving the retreat, it was clear to me that I wanted to set up another one as quickly as possible. While I loved the semi-wild energy of the retreat in the desert (people slept outside in tents, and we spent most of our time outdoors), I decided to offer something a bit cushier and more comfortable the next time for those who aren't particularly campy. I had also received feedback that a full week is a long time for people to arrange to be absent from their lives, so I thought I'd create something a little shorter. And it seemed good to pick a location that would allow as many people as possible to drive: it's way cheaper and more environmentally responsible if I fly to people rather than asking them to fly to me. I chose Western North Carolina because there is a significant number of folks in the area who follow my work, and also because it's one of the most beautiful and magical places on earth. As soon as I got back home from Arizona I began looking for a place where we might hold our next retreat.

Here is what I found: https://diamondfallspreserve.com/. It's a wonderful spot, with a big log cabin lodge and beautiful grounds. It has lots of walking paths and trails, and it adjoins Chimney Rock State Park. I think the Diamond Falls Preserve will suit our needs very well.

As I envision it now, the format of the retreat will include:

  • roughly four half-hour meditations a day, spread out so that this is not too difficult for beginners

  • A workshop in the morning and an open group in the evening, much as we did in Arizona

  • An shorter process session in the afternoon, during which people can process and integrate the work we will be doing in the group sessions using art and nature-based exercises. Right now it looks like Anna will be available to lead this part of the program, which is fabulous (Anna Switzer, www.gracewithnature.wixsite.com/mysite).

  • Yoga. More about this below

  • Delicious meals

  • A spacious schedule that allows plenty of time for just sitting on the porch or whatever.

  • A nice chunk of free time after lunch for walking and exploring (or a nap!)

We will be doing our own cooking and spiffing during the retreat, as we did out in the desert. This will provide a small opportunity for "working meditation" as well.

I'm pleased to announce that I have a top-notch yoga teacher lined up for the event! Her name is Christa Rypins. I've known and worked with Christa for over 23 years at this point. She is an absolute wizard, in my experience. She knows and understands more about human anatomy and body mechanics than anyone else I've met. As I envision things right now, Christa will offer two classes a day, one for beginners and one for non-beginners. I know we will learn a ton from her, and in a way that will complement the spiritual and psychological work we'll be doing in the workshop sessions.

For more information about Christa and the work she does, visit her website: http://www.intelligentbody.net/meet_christa

The cost of the retreat will depend upon how many folks attend, but a rough estimate would be around $500 per person. This includes accommodations, all the meals, the yoga teacher, and transportation for Anna and I to the center (Anna will be managing the retreat in addition to facilitating the afternoon session mentioned above). $500 seems reasonable to me for all that, and yet I know that could be a lot of money for some folks, so I'm going to arrange for scholarships to be available to those who need them. It's important to me that someone who wants to do the work and wants this experience to deepen their practice not be denied because of lack of funds. If you want to attend but are concerned about the money, just let me know and we'll work something out.

I'm going to sign people up on a first-come, first-serve basis. I don't know if we'll end up with just a small group of people or if we'll fill the place (20 max), and either is fine by me, but I expect the latter. If you feel sure or close to sure that you want to attend, let me know and I'll reserve you a spot (you can reply to this post or email me at djmckay429@gmail.com).

Thank you for your time and your attention to this. I hope you will consider this opportunity to deepen your practice and share your practice within community. Thank you also for your ongoing support, for your willingness to do the work of ending suffering, and for being the beautiful person that you are.

In peace,