retreat, retreat!

barn from small pondFriday morning, 7/12: Sky Meadow Retreat, Stannard, VT

It’s such fun to watch women fan out, explore, discover for themselves what I have myself over the years: the pond, its magic that calms, draws us forward and out; the stillness of its surface and the depth of its pull to silence. I feel the energy of the group, of individuals, slowing and centering. I am filled with the peace of this place, and the sweetness with which Cella and her three girls tend to the abundant, delicious and completely nurturing meals – their attention to special requests, especially in this case to GF and dairy-free meals – all provided with smiles and deep caring. Peace settles among and through us. We have all become gifts of this time, this place.writing on the porchwoman writing on porch

What contrast to last night’s boisterous engagement at Girls’ Café as we sat around the table sharing of ourselves deeply – a community barely three hours in the making already communing like old friends, conversation, laughter and silent deep listening alternating like ripples in the nearby pond, lapping and overlapping and ultimately, completely still.

How little it takes to create such magic: time, space, intention. Intention on the part of our host family – I love listening to Miles offer gentle instruction to daughters and interns alike, his voice measured, soothing, instructive, ever sure and calm – and their dedication to living simply, purely; how that soothes us all and brings us to a common core of awareness. Self and the land. What else matters??

stampede for breakfastAnd of course intention on the part of each retreatant; to be present, to soak up and in; to become for these days alive and involved in the cycles of each hour, each moment. To be. Silent morning punctuated by the braying of three black sheep; the cackle of hens disrupted from their morning quiet by a veritable stampede of said sheep heading for the henhouse seeking what scraps may appeal; the alpaca in turns bemused at our presence and amusing in his antics – rolling in the long grass like a puppy after swimming, then lying absolutely still in post-breakfast stupor while the sheep nudge over and around him seeking that one perfect, sweet blade.early morning collage

Nurture, all of it. Gifts too numerous to list and yet, filling us each and all with wonder, gratitude, presence. This is a Women Writing for (a) Change retreat. This is about time to mirror and reflect back to one another, to our own selves, what is.  This is.

on retreat


Solitude of Soul, Lorado Taft – Courtesy of Johntb17 at the English language Wikipedia

“Women from ancient times . . . set a sacred place aside for communion and inquiry, at the full moon cycle, into the state of one’s being . . .  In such a state of solitude we ask what needs less? what needs more? If we establish a regular practice of intentional solitude, we invite a conversation between ourselves and the wild soul. . . for us to ask questions, and for the soul to advise.”

“Long ago the word alone was treated as two words, all one. To be all one meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily. That is precisely the goal of solitude, to be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern women . . .”

THANK YOU, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, for your timeless wisdom contained in the story Sealskin, Soulskin in the collection, Women Who Run with the Wolves. This is our theme for the weekend.