The morning of the “original” 9/11, I was scurrying about fixing a snack platter and drinks for the beginning of our very first Kindred Spirit Retreat in Jackson, Wyoming. At the time, I was a woman without a phone or a TV, so imagine my shock when the first out-of-state retreat participants arrived with eyes the size of dinner plates asking me if I’d “heard.”
No, I hadn’t. I sagged down into a plastic chair, my feet literally knocked out from under me in stunned disbelief. As the other attendees arrived, we milled about in numb confusion. This was to have been a glorious day beneath the Rocky Mountains, celebrating Nature and our deep relation to Earth, our primal mother. Now all our minds were filled with images of smoke, collapse, screaming, and disbelief. Some things are just too big to take in all at once. 9/11 was such an event for me.
We sipped distractedly at tea, petted the dogs and cats at my cabin on the Snake River, and tried to remember how to breathe. Finally, through no conscious intention, we found ourselves in a circle out back of the cabin, sitting beneath the lodgepole pines, listening to the chatter of tree squirrels and magpies. As a group, we quietly discussed what we should do next. The airports were all closed. No one was going anywhere that day. We came by consensus to the decision to continue the retreat, deciding that prayer might be our most powerful offering to New York that day and in the immediate days to come.
So we pulled out the retreat agenda and began. What followed were too-short days filled with Nature processes, animal communication, drumming and song, introspection, writing, sweat lodge, and smudging. On our first night together, we traveled out to White Grass Ranch, the ancestral gathering ground of rutting bull elk, and listened to the eerie and transportive bugling of the bulls, and to the click and clash of antlers in the dark.
I whispered to our gathering, “Out here, on this ground, under these stars, nothing happened here today.” I have no idea why I found such peace in saying those words, but I did, and I still do when calamity strikes. Horror has its place when it strikes, but there are places where it does not and must not reach. I believe it is deeply important that we find a way to keep terror, calamity, and castrophe out of our hearts, where it does no good but to destroy from the very inside out.
It ended up being a coincidence that our revived Kindred Spirit Retreat from so long ago was scheduled this year over 9/11. It was our second choice of dates, and it worked out the best, but only now as I sit down to write this this morning do I see the profound significance of our choice.
Our first retreat years ago was a healing and a blessing for everyone who attended. Friendships were founded there that thrive still. Our intention to seek a deeper path into Nature served us then as it does still. Our founding group of organizers and teachers came together again to resurrect this retreat in all its goodness with new processes, new rituals for healing and growing closer to the deepest heart of Nature.
The essence of 9/11 still lives all over the world: The fear, the anxiety, the toxicity, the confusion. In many ways, our entire country has become a ceaseless 9/11 in these crazy times. If you are feeling these things, I invite you to join us for deep healing, deep prayer, and deep Nature immersion. All of what we will be offering in our four days of this Kindred Spirit Retreat are specially crafted so that you can take the learning with you and enact the offerings in your own home, on your own ground. In this way, we will be creating islands of peace, replenishment, and power. We will be making
sacred space out of the secular debacle of 21st-Century life. What could be better, more useful, more needed than this?
I invite you, personally. I beseech you: Join me. Join us. Come. Come! You can read more, and register right here
Oh, and I’m teaching, too!