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February 05, 2022
I arrived in Ireland last Saturday. It just happened to be the day they ended all restrictions, including early closings on hospitality and events. The limitation on household visits are gone. Nightclubs and gyms are open and there is no longer a requirement to show a digital vaccination pass to enter venues or restaurants. This radical change seemed to arrive overnight and shocked people. It isn’t that the numbers have dropped so radically here, but perhaps since covid will be among us for an indefinite period of time, Irish policy makers have chosen to work with it and leave the governing of individual circumstances to the wisdom of the people. So I'd like to think.
While meeting with different friends and visiting places to add new venue to the May retreat, I couldn’t help but feel like we are in a bit of a fairy tale. I’m meeting with people to go over things that were put in place for 2020, and here we are two full years later. “So, where were we?” It felt like we got caught daydreaming and now snapped back to the present moment to reread what was on the paper previously written. It’s easy to imagine that the prince arrived, kissed the poisoned sleeping princess, and she and the whole village awoke and life was restored.
I know it doesn’t feel like this in many other places yet, but this is a wonderful reminder that it will. Now the next important question is what do we do with it? What is important now? I think we have all had to change so many ways in order to live in isolation, restrictions and distance ourselves from loved ones. Some things have been a gift to discover/recover/uncover, and some experiences have dimmed our light and maybe even left scars. There are some precautionary elements that we put in place that may remain with us without even a notice, while there are other areas in desperate need of a shake up or a nudge to wake up.
My focus for this next retreat is to create a safe container where we can all exercise deep listening and deep breathing while connecting to nature, practice, ourselves, one another and the gift of life itself. There is no greater place to rekindle what is important to our true nature than Ireland’s mystical Burren. In all the years I've come, I feel immensely nurtured and leave grateful. Perhaps it's the way the spirit of the sea meets the strange beauty of these fertile limestone hills that make the senses come alive. Perhaps it's how the landscape welcomes the release of what no longer serves us that leaves us grateful. Perhaps it's the gentleness of the people that remind us to be light and present in the footsteps of all the ancestors. Regardless, what awakens joy in me has now been woven as offerings into the days of the next retreat. There are still a few spaces and the dates are May 1-7.
If you can’t join me this year here or in Italy, I do hope you gift yourself the most important thing you can do. Take time to ask what's in your heart? After these sleeping years, what will make you feel most alive? The answer is the greatest gift to our lives and is usually our best service to the world. Often we discover we have created obstacles and walls around our hearts or allowed it to be clouded over as some form of protection. This is the work of fear itself. After the last two difficult years, we all deserve to take time to dissolve these masks and return to our true home. What might that look like for you?
Tomorrow I return to Italy with a smile on my face and peace in my heart, and a hope that your cup be filled with what sustains the very best for you, always.
with love, a lotus and a smile,
Ireland ~ Experiential Meditative Retreat visit here
Italy ~ Experiential Meditative Retreat visit here
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