Blessings to all of you on this beautiful day. I hope you each are taking really good care of yourselves, and that you are taking refuge in your practice as deeply as you can in these difficult and turbulent times.
I am writing today to tell you about a retreat I have scheduled for October in western North Carolina. This retreat has been on the books for some time, and I had planned to officially announce it early in the spring, but I hesitated once the virus hit the country. It seems uncertain to me at this point whether or not we will be able to hold the retreat, given the unpredictable path of the pandemic over these next few months. I would dearly love to be on retreat again with you beautiful people, however, and I know many of you are eager for this as well, so here is what I’ve decided to do.
I am going to go ahead and begin registering people for the retreat without a deposit. I will then wait to see what happens until the end of the summer. At that time, if it appears that we can safely get together to practice on the retreat, then we will! I will then collect deposits from those who wish to attend. If it is clear by end of summer that we cannot safely hold the retreat, then we will all need to let go and wait for a time when we can practice together in person again.
I will put a description of the retreat below. If you are interested in attending, just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know. At the end of the summer, if the retreat is a go, you can then commit by submitting a deposit if you wish to. If you decide you do not want to attend at that time, then that will be fine.
I hope you will consider opening up this possibility of giving the profound gift to yourself of a silent retreat. There is nothing, in my experience, that supports practice and all the many good things we gain through practice so much as a residential retreat.
Take care, everyone, be safe and well, and I hope to practice with you in a virtual group (Thursdays and Sundays at 7:00 eastern!) or elsewhere soon!
Fall Retreat in Western North Carolina
Beginning in the afternoon on Monday, October 26 and ending around noon on Sunday, November 1.
At the Bend of Ivy Lodge, near Asheville. We held our first retreat at this facility last year, and we loved it. The retreat center is beautiful and quiet, and the facilities suit our needs very well. There are lovely spots all over the property to sit and just be, which include a sweet little fish pond, several gardens, and a gorgeous river (the Ivy) at the bottom of the property. Here’s a link to their website in case you want to check it out: https://bendofivylodge.com/.
About the Retreat:
I’m pleased to announce that Christa Rypins will be joining us once again for this retreat! Christa will lead movement and teach us ways to be comfortable and skillfully present in our bodies. Those of you who attended any of my previous retreats with Christa will know what a special opportunity this is. I’ve known and worked with Christa for over 25 years at this point, and she’s an absolute wizard. I know we’ll learn a ton from her, and in a way that will complement the spiritual and psychological work we’ll be doing throughout the retreat. (For more information about Christa and the work she does, visit her website: http://www.intelligentbody.net/meet_christa)
In terms of structure, we will follow a daily schedule together that will include:
- Three or four half-hour meditation periods a day
- Two group discussions per day. Typically I’ll facilitate a workshop in the morning on a particular topic, then we’ll have an open group in the evening.
- Movement with Christa
- One on one conversations with me for those who would enjoy that
- Three delicious vegetarian meals
- Time to walk, rest, and just be
The entire experience will be held in silence, as usual (apart from the workshop sessions and guidance). There will be small opportunities for working meditation as well. As always there will be plenty of yummy and nourishing food (maybe Christa will make us some more treats!), and lots of space for reflection and being in nature.
You will need to be prepared to share a room with one or more other people. There are some private rooms available, and these will go to those who most need them. Camping is an option, however, so if you would prefer to have privacy and enjoy sleeping in a tent you could do that instead.
I offer everything I do on a donation basis. I know that some people have plenty of money and some do not, and I’ve found that if I allow people to give what they can instead of charging a specific fee then those who have little give little, while those with more give more, and everything works out in the end.
We will be covering the physical costs of the retreat (accommodations, meals, etc.) as a community. The cost per person will depend upon how many folks attend, but a rough estimate would be $800-$850. I will calculate the material cost of the retreat per person more exactly if the retreat turns out to be a go. $800-$850 seems perfectly reasonable to me for all that we will enjoy together over the six days, 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.
In addition to the actual retreat costs, I will be asking for donations at the end of the retreat. These donations will go to Christa and I, and will be used to support the two of us as we do the work that we are each called to offer to the world.
If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.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. I hope you also will forward this message to anyone you know who you think may be interested in attending. Thank you, my friends, for your ongoing support, for your willingness to do the work of ending suffering, and for being the beautiful people that you are.