“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” – Albert Camus
Prior to my diagnosis with Parkinson’s, I had never attended a retreat. I’d never even been to sleep away camp, and was a commuter in college because of family obligations. So deciding to attend my first Wisdom Healing Qigong retreat, in China of all places, was a bit of a stretch. The decision challenged my comfort zone, and inherent in that was renewed vitality. I didn’t shrink away from something I wanted to do because of some “intimidating” logistics. Keeping my eyes on “the ends” allowed me to navigate “the means” successfully.
Since that wonderful experience, where I met amazing, loving teachers like Teacher Ma and Teacher Zhou, I have attended and spoken at a number of retreats here in California as well as presenting at one in Hawaii. Now it is retreat time again. I will be attending, as well as working with a group of participants. From May 14-27 an intensive healing retreat is offered at Earthrise Center, nestled in the lovely Sonoma Hills. There will be a focus on Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. However, the retreat is open to all. The chi field is an equal opportunity sage and guide, and the practices, teachings, and experiences shared apply to all.
I look forward to this retreat for a number of reasons. First, it was almost exactly seven years ago that I attended that first retreat in China. At the time I had already begun major healing from Parkinson’s via qigong and was looking to expand my knowledge of this practice to further promote my own health. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t have some of the usual youthful “away from home” experiences, so this was indeed an odyssey for me. Yes, I’d travelled before, even travelled with Parkinson’s before, but never did I travel to such a far-off destination to explore a treasure so close to home: myself. Here is where the Camus quote applies: “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” Much of the calm that engulfed me during my time at the Guelin retreat arose from a clear daily focus: my work on healing myself via qigong, and whatever was required of me to support this. There were no distractions with emails, texts, phone calls, calendars. No grocery shopping or decisions over what to have for dinner. Everything I could anticipate was provided. That allowed me time to explore inwardly, which is where I discovered the buried mother lode that gave me the audacity to refer to myself as a “treasure.” We are all treasures, and I have found qigong to be the tool that allows me to tap into that precious vein, to open up to the hidden cache, the one I forgot was part of me. This is now the part of me writing this blog, and traveling next month to New York, Amsterdam, and Dublin. More about all this later on in this post.
Now I want to refocus on this May retreat, and another reason that makes it so special. It will be the last retreat held in California while Mingtong and his sweet family are still residents here. As some of you already know, there is a new and wonderful Chi Center almost ready in Santa Fe, with the first retreat being held there this fall. Mingtong has promised to return here and hold retreats two or three times a year, so we locals take solace in that. The Santa Fe Center is lovely and will be able accommodate large groups with extreme comfort (the site was formerly a spa). And, in answer to Mingtong’s dream, the main practice building is circular, a shape very friendly to qigong movement, formations, and chi-flow. For some photos of this beautiful locale, go to the chi center website, www.chicenter.com, click on “Retreat” and then on “The Center.” Best wishes to Mingtong, his family, and our growing chi community. It was convenient having The Chi Center practically in my backyard ; it will be an adventure to visit the new center, in the historically and culturally rich locale of Santa Fe. And speaking of adventure, there’s more…
My work in recovering from Parkinson’s introduced me to the world of qigong, and subsequently re-introduced me to the possibilities of myself. Seven years ago the healing process began; now, Parkinson’s free, for years I have been teaching, speaking, writing, coaching, consulting: doing whatever and going wherever to share my story and motivate and assist others with restoring health. My passion and my life and work now flow seamlessly together, a blessing for which I am eternally grateful. As I ride the chi wave, I am carried to new and far-off, or sometimes once-familiar, now far-off places. So next month I find myself returning to New York, my birthplace, then on to Amsterdam and Dublin. I will be sharing teachings and practices I love with old and new friends. If you are near any of these areas, please check out the information below, or go to my website, www.mettamorphix.com
, and click on the “Upcoming Appearances” banner. Hope to meet with many of you soon, either in person or energetically. Haola!
WHERE AM I?
CHI CENTER RETREAT: 5/14-5/27, Petaluma, California
NYC: 6/14, 7-9 pm, Edgar Cayce Center, 240 W. 30th Street, 2nd floor, bell #100
AMSTERDAM: 6/19, 14.00-17.00, de veranda, Amstelveenseweg 764, 1081 JK Amsterdam
DUBLIN AREA: Maynooth, 6/27, 2-5 pm,
*************More to come soon about new publication ***************