Christa, Rich, and I recently concluded our fall retreat in Western North Carolina, and I'm feeling profoundly blessed and grateful. It's such a privilege to be doing the work that I love, to be doing the practice that has so transformed my life, and to be able to share that work and that practice with others. To those of you who attended the retreat: thank you. Thank you for the beautiful way you showed up for the experience. To those of you who weren't able to make it: I hope to have the honor of practicing with you on retreat some time in the future.
I’m writing today because there is another retreat opportunity coming up this spring! Here’s the scoop:
Beginning in the afternoon on Tuesday, April 21 and ending around noon on Sunday, April 26 (five nights total).
At the Heartwood Refuge, near Hendersonville, NC (also in Western North Carolina). It's an old hotel that a group of Buddhist have turned into a retreat center. I toured the place recently and I feel that it will suit our needs very well. The facility is very nice, the grounds are lovely, and there's good walking around a nearby lake. Best of all, the place is huge, with a great many bedrooms, and so it's likely that many who attend will have a private room and bath. It may be that we will share the facility with another group on retreat, but I have an agreement with the owners that they will only pair us with a group who will also be there to practice in silence. And get this: they will do the cooking! This involves more than a little letting go for me, as I have strong feelings about food and I want people who come on retreat with me to have a good experience of vegetarian cooking, but the word on the street says the food is good, so I'll just let go and trust the process....
Here’s a link to their website in case you want to check it out: https://www.heartwoodrefuge.org/
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 have been on retreat 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)
The structure of the retreat will be much as we just experienced at the retreat that recently ended. We will follow a daily schedule together that will include:
Three or four half-hour meditation periods a day
Two group discussions per day.
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, and lots of space for reflection and being in nature.
You will need to be prepared to share a room with one other person. I'm going to do everything in my power to provide private rooms for everyone, but I can't guarantee it. The rooms are lovely and spacious however, and each has it's own bath, and so I'm sure everyone will be comfortable whether they have a private room or no.
The financial part of the retreat will work a bit differently than previous retreats I've done. In addition to doing the cooking, the folks at the Heartwood Refuge will take care of the retreat sign-ups, and they will charge everyone a set fee. The fee is $100 per night per person, so $500 for the entire retreat. This seems very reasonable to me for food and lodging. At the end of the retreat Christa and I will ask for additional donations to cover her travel and other minor expenses, and to support the work she and I strive to do in the world.
I would like to make it possible for everyone who sincerely wants to do the work to be able to attend this retreat, whether they can afford the $500 fee and a donation, or not. If you are someone who falls into this category, let me know and we'll work something out. If you are someone for whom the $500 fee is not a big deal and who would like to provide a scholarship for someone who cannot afford the fee, just let me know and thank you very much.
To register for the retreat:
I'm still working out the registration details with the retreat center. I should have it figured out within the next few days. Once I understand how the process works I'll let you know.
Thank you for your time and your attention. 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.