Thanks a ton to those of you who responded to my previous email about the retreat in NC this fall. There has been a lot of interest, and I'm feeling confident it will go and go beautifully. As promised, I'm writing today to give you an official way to sign up. Before I can do that, however, I'll need to say a few words about money.
One of the diseases of our society, it is commonly said, is that some have plenty and others do not. It hurts my heart to see the financial injustice and inequality in the world, and to the best of my ability I want to avoid participating. This is one of several reasons that I've decided to offer the work I do strictly on a donation basis. I feel I have something good and important to give, and rather than asking for a payment of some kind, I prefer to give with no expectation of a return. When people choose to support my work with donations I feel given to; when I buy food and the other things I need I feel really good, as I know the money I have has been freely given to me out of gratitude for what people have received. And it feels right: those who have no extra money give me nothing; those who have plenty of money often give generously. It all works out, and it works out in a way, I feel, that models what is possible for all of us in this world.
I did not ask for money in advance of the recent retreat in Arizona. I paid for everything up front--the food, the accommodations, all the other supplies--and trusted that the folks who attended would pitch in so that it would be covered. At the end of the retreat I simply told everyone how much things had cost, and told them to give what they could, with the understanding that those who had less would give less, and those who had more would give more. It worked perfectly, and I left feeling grateful and blessed.
I would like to set up things in the same way this time, only there is a need that this would not address. I've realized that people need support when they make a commitment that is going to threaten conditioned mind as much as a retreat will. It's just too easy to believe conditioned mind when it says there are more important things to do, that I can't for some reason, or whatever. People need something more tangible than just a promise in order to support the commitment they are making. For this reason I've decided this time to ask for a deposit. If people have money on the line this will provide a check to the conditioned voices when they come in with all the reasons not to go.
I'd like to maintain the spirit of the Arizona retreat however. Here is the best way I've come up with to accomplish that:
In order to register for the retreat and hold a place, please send me a deposit of $200. If you are unable to make a deposit of $200, just send me what you are able to give, and let me know. A good rule of thumb with things like this is to give more that conditioned mind says you can, and less than it says you should. As I said in my earlier email on the topic, I don't want anyone to be turned away for lack of funds. This deposit will be non-refundable before the retreat (if it were refundable it would lose its effectiveness as a commitment support). I will happily refund the deposit after the retreat, however, for those who need a full scholarship because of their circumstances.
I calculate that it will cost about $500 per person to buy all the food, rent the facility, and get the staff to the retreat. At the end of the retreat I will offer an exact figure and ask everyone to give what they can, as I did in Arizona. The scholarships will be paid for by those who give beyond their individual share. Any donations beyond the actual cost of the retreat will be gratefully received, and will go to support my work, Anna's work, and the amazing yoga teacher that I've got lined up (more about her in a future email).
A few more details and reminders:
I will assign spots in the retreat on a first-come/first serve basis. It looks like the retreat will fill, so don't hesitate if this is important to you.
All the indoor accommodations will be shared rooms. There are no single rooms available.
Once the indoor spots fill I'll open up a few more slots for tenting. If you prefer tenting for the privacy or just for the fun (I'll be staying in a tent), let me know.
Arrival is between 2:00 and 5:00 on Tuesday, September 25. Departure is around lunchtime on Sunday, September 30.
I'll work out a shuttle from the Asheville airport for anyone flying in.
Let me know if you have questions or concerns about any of this, and thank you for your attention to this email. I appreciate the opportunity to communicate not just the what, but also the how that is behind the what, so people will know where I'm coming from--thank you for your time. Best wishes to you as always, and I hope to see you on retreat in September!