I want to let you, my lovely friends, know about something that’s happening next month. I’ll be attending, and offering a session, at a beautiful retreat in Port Townsend, Washington. Led by my friend and colleague Amy Kessel, the Coming Back to Center retreat is a small group retreat for women (at the most, 12 of us) during the time of year that naturally draws us inward, even though the demands of the time can take us further and further out of ourselves.
For Amy, a retreat is:
“the palpable relief of switching to “off” for a period of time so I can access the parts of me I rarely experience while I’m “on”, and so I can fall in love with those parts once again. A retreat recharges my vitality, my creativity and my sense of wellbeing. Retreating produces a shift in mindset that spreads outward to the edges of my life, bringing me back to center, where I belong.
I answer the call when I’m hungry for soul connection. Retreating from the world enables us to tap into spirit, to truth, to our deepest source of strength and wisdom. We all – every one of us – need this connection in order to thrive.”
Just the images from the site speak to my body – I immediately feel everything just relax a bit as I imagine and feel the sense of peace, solitude, and stillness that will come during this weekend.
And, I will be leading a movement segment. While I could call it dance, it is not dance as many of us know it. Really, it’s an opportunity to let the body move and make itself known as the doorway into wholeness, wisdom, and the here and now. When you come to know the body as a vessel of knowing it can completely change your relationship with life itself.
Take a moment to listen to a short conversation that Amy and I had about the retreat. At the end, you’ll hear that she welcomes you to get in touch with her if you have any questions or thoughts about the retreat, even if you know you cannot come.
Of course, I’d love to meet any of you who feel this might be right for you. It’s going to be a beautiful, full and rich long weekend.
[audio:https://unabashedlyfemale.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AmyKessel.mp3|titles=Interview with Amy Kessel]
I was sitting in my car this morning. I suddenly felt a strong sense of the miraculous nature of life…just being here is a miracle. When we’re not judging what is happening, a soft sort of joy and love is present. I hope you fill these weekend days with times to simply soak in the wonderment all around you.
I wanted to share some wonderful conversations that are happening, conversations of which I’ve loved being a part…Extraordinary Women, Prosperity and Reverence.
As I look at the overall sense of these writings, I can feel the thread that runs through them – that everything is already here, nothing is missing and nothing here doesn’t belong here. When we stop striving, pushing, and efforting, we begin to sense the immediacy and fullness of life; we feel the fullness of our own radiant life force, and we know we are intimately dancing with the divine.
When we intimately dance with the divine, we come to know the extraordinary simplicity that lies at the heart of being what you already are, and in this place prosperity and reverence organically flow.
Life, itself, is the miracle.
I hope you find something worthwhile and meaningful to you in the words being shared in these conversations. I really value the work each of these people are doing in the world.
Productive Flourishing’s : Extraordinary Women Change the World
Productive Flourishing has been hosting this two-month core conversation on Women’s Empowerment. Women and men from all over the Web have written about this important topic and the posts are amazing. Product Flourishing is a site for flourishing in life and in business. Discover more about Charlie, Angela and the rest of their superb team.
“Consider how much energy it takes to cover up who you really are, constantly try to convince yourself that who you are pretending to be is who you really are, then attempting to be that in the world. No wonder we are only living a small percentage of our power!”
Bridget is an amazing bright light. She’s wickedly intuitive and generous beyond compare. This project on Prosperity is brilliant. In Bridget’s words: “I’ve gathered 35 of my favorite writers, speakers and sages to share their perspectives on prosperity. And I’d like for you to share your perspective too!” Bridget will be offering a complimentary eBook with all of the posts. Be sure to sign up for it.
Eileen’s site is an altar to the sacred, to beauty and reverence. I was honored to be profiled by Eileen, a woman who exudes reverence and humility. Eileen has some unusual and creative offerings to dive more deeply into a life of reverence and soul.
From my piece:
“In our culture, to pay reverence is to bow with deep respect. But what happens often is a kind of outward projection of one’s own worthiness, holiness and purity onto another person. When this happens, there is no balance between the inner and outer worlds.”
Each one of these conversations is filled with many wise voices and awakened hearts. I hope you enjoy them and discover some new people to connect to and engage with in the process.
Please know how much I love knowing you are on the other end of these words, that you are here reading them. This, too, is a miracle; that you and I are in relationship – two souls dancing with the divine.
a year, according to many, which is supposed to be an auspicous year. Who knows. Today is only the first day, in fact here in my city, it is only the 6th hour of the first day.
Yesterday was New Year’s Eve. It was a beautiful and difficult day. I am single now and spending much time alone. It’s right to be doing so, and at the same time, in some ways it is painful to be alone. I love to be in relationship. I miss it. And, it is not yet time to be with someone new.
I am finding new places within myself. Chunks of old gunk are falling away, not without some deep work, but then nothing worth doing is necessarily easy.
I wanted to spend some of the day at church, so I headed out to Grace Cathedral. If you are not familiar with it, Grace is a gorgeous cathedral that sits on the top of one of the most beautiful hills in San Francisco.
I had wanted to bathe myself in a beautiful service. I’m not a religious person, but I am wholly in love with the sacred. Most of my worship time is with trees and flowers, on the dance floor, or with my grandchildren and children, but today my heart longed for a traditional service. Well, it wasn’t to be.
According to Grace’s website, on a normal Saturday, there is always a 3:00 service. There was no mention that New Year’s Even was different, so when I arrived I was disappointed. Rather than the usual schedule, the plan was to show the Hunchback of Notre Dame in the church at 7:00 and 10:00, accompanied by live organ music. I did stumble into the organist’s practice time, which proved to be magical unto itself.
So, I sat and listened. I wandered around the church and looked, really looked, at the art within. There are some amazing pieces of art that I’ll share with you in future writings.
As I wandered,
tears welled up from someplace deep within me. Much of my past week has been spent in tears. For whatever reason, this deep processing and letting go has coincided with the last days of 2011. The tears just come, so I stay with them. I’m learning to, as Nisargadatta wrote:
“Investigate yourself and love the investigation and you will solve not only your own problems but also the problems of humanity.”
While I’m not so sure I’m solving humanity’s problems, I know I can only follow the long slender thread that continues to call me within. It’s not that I can always stay with the thread. I find my ways to escape. And, I am always brought back to where I left off, if I’m willing to listen and feel. It’s not like I am doing anything, but listening to my heart, to this pull to investigate the places that don’t feel true.
I decided to walk home from the church, so I headed out as dusk fell, and as dusk fell the tears fell, too. So many tears. Walking along the busy streets of the city on New Year’s Eve with alligator tears streaming down was probably a sight, but in reality they were quiet tears. There was a deep unnamed sadness, a well of something that had been there for eons.
Words rose up,
words from a past long ago. Words that had been stuck, pushed down within. As I voiced the words aloud, and held it all within the silence that holds everything, I heard words from the deep silence, words that liberated, not because they were flowery prosaic, but because they were simple in their truth.
“No, they did not love you as they should have, they loved you as they could.”
And then the tears were gone. These were tears that had flowed for years, but I had never gotten to a place where I could just let them be, just let them fall, without trying to fix or get rid of. I finally simply let them come, while I followed the thread of what was shown.
An old, old deep longing was released. A longing to know a love that could not be given from those who could not give it. And as the tears ended, suddenly my eyes were bright. They felt as if a veil had been lifted from them. And along with the brightness, I felt peace, a deep peace.
I know we as a species are flirting with catastrophe. I also know what will liberate us is love. I know how angry I have been with what’s happening in the world, and I’ve not known what to do about it. And, I’ve felt oddly guilty spending time processing deeply because it isn’t a doing, not in the ways most of us would believe we need to be in action.
Yet, what better course could we chart for ourselves than to discover the well within of silent deep abiding love. In one way or another, we all got mixed up about what love is. We’ve looked out there to fill the hole inside. We’ve looked to others, or to things, to get the love, when it has always surrounded us, has filled us, had been silently waiting for us to turn inward.
I want to be able to hold it all in love,
all of what is here in the world. Not just the beautiful, the easy, the happy and the joyous, but all of it, even that which feels the most difficult to love, which in reality has been myself.