Fully Alive - April 2016
My daughter just returned from a weekend of camping with a group of pre-teen girls and their Aunties (including our own Jenya Schneider, who is facilitating the kid’s program at the upcoming Conscious Embodiment Retreat!), out in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Friday, the day of departure, she says she doesn’t want to go: the packing, the nights away from home, the elements, and not knowing what the group will be like. I mostly ignore the complaints, because I know what’s coming. We pack, we leave, and make the drive quietly but thoughtfully, as we both reflect on the weekend ahead.
At the drop off point, I marvel at the beauty of the land – a ridge-top overlooking the redwood-capped range; bright, sunny, and clear all the way to the glimpse of the ocean to the south. Grass and clover cover the ground of the clearing where the girls are gathering in anticipation of the weekend. After a few hugs, she is off in her own element, connecting with friends, the Aunties who mentor them, and the wildness of the woods and mountains.
Sunday morning, I arrive again at the same spot – the clouds just beginning to clear from the overnight inversion layer. Getting there intentionally early, I sit to meditate in the sacred garden, where there is a circle of comfortable chairs, some looking out over the valley, others facing the great geode consciously placed to add sacred energy to this spot. I feel vibrant and peaceful simultaneously as I close my eyes, listening to the bird calls, a dog barking, and wild turkeys in the distance.
Soon enough, the girls march up from their secluded camping spot, my daughter looking both tired and filled from within with the joy of connecting to nature. As we drive home, she shares her sacred stories of fire tending and her special redwood tree. She is fully alive, vibrant and grounded. She wants the TV off and happily sits on the couch, quietly reading, embracing the silence. Later in the afternoon, we joyfully plant broccoli, lettuce, carrot, and radish seeds in the garden.
It is vital for all of us to spend more time in nature. Every time my daughter immerses in deep nature connection (and every time I do), she returns transformed – back into her true self. In nature, we feel fully alive, connected to something greater than us.
That is why I am offering the Conscious Embodiment retreat. We live in a time of “nature deficit disorder”, as someone recently put it, disconnected from the planet and our own bodies. It’s time to regain our aliveness, fully embodied and aware, and nature shows us how.
If you want to join us, I have 5 spots for adults and 7 for kids left. You can register here or see the information below. In this newsletter, I am featuring a bit about Jenya Schneider, our amazing kid’s program leader. Her warmth and enthusiasm is contagious, and her deep connection to the earth really inspires kids to find their aliveness and joy in nature. Read more about her below.
And something else that connects me to something greater is chanting in Sanskrit. If you would like to learn more about this sacred language, I am teaching a Sanskrit for Yoga Teachers workshop for the Yoga and Movement Center’s teacher training once again this month on Sunday, April 17th in Walnut Creek, CA. You don’t have to be a teacher to attend – details below.
What makes you feel fully alive?