Monday, November 08, 2010

What a peaceful, healing weekend it was!

The Port for Prayer is a special place that has been absorbing spiritual vibrations since the Franciscan Sisters founded it back in the 1880s. It is surrounded by St. Francis Woods and is super-shanti (peaceful).

Free time was built into the retreat. Some people got massages. Some napped. Others found a quiet spot in one of the many quiet nooks and read. Meandering walks were also popular.

It was a treat to hike in the brisk, clean air. It's so much easier to calm the mind and see God in nature.

We also saw many types of birds, including gray-and-black woodpeckers, tiny chickadees, and bright red cardinals. C. also spotted a statue-in-a-tree.

Many of the retreat attendees walked the labyrinth, which is an ancient meditation tool.

At night we tended a fire (not pictured) and gazed at the stars - and there were many because we were in the country and it was a new moon. We also heard about St. Francis of Assisi. He sounds a lot like a yogi, as he was a mystic and renunciate who helped the poor and is the patron saint of animals and the environment. J. knew all about him after reading about him at our (vegan) supper, which was conducted in mauna (silence).*

Spending the weekend immersed in the holy science of yoga is as healing for the teacher as it is for the student, if not moreso. The student, after all, is also the teacher.

We also spent some 9.5 hours chanting, discussing scripture, doing postures, and practicing breathing, concentration, meditation and relaxation in a warm, comfortable room.

It's a good thing we turned back the clocks and got an extra hour of sleep!

Still, we were tired, and the number-one requested pose on Sunday was pigeon, which has many variations.

The next retreat is March 26-27.
Mark your calendars now!

*Legend has it that St. Francis on his deathbed thanked his donkey carrying and helping him throughout his life, and his donkey wept. Hearing this story makes me weep, too.


  1. It was great to hear about the retreat and even better to see how well it went. YES!
    St.Frances is one of my favorite saints. His writing was so humble and so divinely attuned!

  2. Wasn't this just the greatest retreat? I could do these kind every weekend!!!!

    Ralph from DeKalb

  3. Thank you, Ralph (and thank you for attending)!

    The experience has renewed my enthusiasm for the practice and all things yoga-related.

  4. Wunderbar! I'm happy for you and the retreatants! I'm sorry I couldn't go. What's more, I just planned a trip (with air tix already purchased) for the end of March. Que lastima!!

    BTW, this posting reminds me of some of Maira Kalman's "And the Pursuit of Happiness" blog. :) I imagine, however, that drawing the pics (instead of using photographs) would have been slightly more labor intensive!

  5. Thank you for the compliment. I used to have a link to her blog, on the right.

  6. Looks like it was the perfect get away weekend, glad it went well!

    Now what you need for the next retreat is a pro photag to document the event.

    I volunteer my service.