Happy long weekend. I hope you are finding peace and happiness that you deserve. Having been Zoom fatigued for some time and desperately missing a community of practice, I’ve been searching for a small mindfulness retreat of any length in any country, but keep coming up empty handed. For the few places where life has started to open, and limited retreats are resuming, the wait lists can take you to the end of 2022. Slowly, slowly says the snail.
The day I booked my return to Toronto, a client emailed me to ask if I was leading a retreat anytime soon. Although we too have cancelled our 2021 retreats in Ireland and Italy, a mini retreat in Ontario could be beautiful medicine for the soul, including my own.
If this calls your name and you live in Ontario, Sonja Denelzen of Cedar Healing Art and I are working out the details for the last weekend of July. It will be again at her centre in Gravenhurst. The weekend will offer hands on mala making, since the retreat we did in October was so delightful. You can explore the metaphysical properties of stones and what works best for you, how and why it’s important to protect your energy these days more than ever. The greatest benefit of all, is getting to create your amulet with your own hands. There will be a variety of gems you can buy from my own collection or you can bring your own stones.
The days will start with Qigong and end with restorative yoga. There will be meditation and sound healing with crystal bowls, teachings, noble silence and sharing circles. We get to delight in Cedar Arts being nestled in nurturing nature. Acupuncture, Chinese medicine and massage can also be incorporated to help maximize your personal retreat.
This retreat will be restricted to 7 or 8 people and will have covid safety protocols in place. Our intention is to have a weekend to restore balance in our bodies and our lives with care and inspiration. The cost of $575. will include everything but beads purchased or Cedar Arts store. If you would like to join us, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I also want to address writing about finding peace in cemeteries in last week’s letter. A friend and supporter wrote to tell me the timing of this message in light of the recent discoveries of Canada’s residential schools mass graves was insensitive. Truthfully, what I felt in the beautiful gardens of these cemeteries reminded me that we are all here for a finite time and to cherish and nurture what is important. The findings of these hidden mass graves of Indigenous children stolen from their families has made me nauseous and depressed everyday, morning till night, but not for the hours I was in the cemetery. The good earth was rich, peaceful and not responsible for the turmoil now in the hearts of many.
I feel shame and sadness to have been born and raised Catholic, born white and at times even born. There is no excuse for the disgraceful, ugly, heartless crimes against humanity that took place in these schools run by the church and government. If my reflections last week awakened painful nerve endings in any way, I apologize. It was meant to do the opposite.
I have read some tragic stories of destroyed lives by the residential schools and many accusations of missing children over the years but never knew the breadth of it. Now the uncovering of mass graves near the former schools really drives home so deeply the wrongs of our history. The recent count of children in unmarked graves in Canada are now over 1000 and I’m sure there will be more. How could the practice of these schools exist the way they did for 120 years? We cannot change history but can ensure more equality for the future generations to not have to carry these burdens in weakened lives. Hopefully a shake up and wake up of this magnitude is where change begins. If you want to learn more, please visit Indian Residential School Survivor Society. I am also finding it helpful to read the Call to Actions by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
Next week there will be no newsletter. I will be checking emails but may take a little longer to respond. Thanks for your presence, patience and grace.