Dr O's Blog

Spirit Unleashed!

June 23rd, 2009

The weekend of June 19th, I attended the Attitudinal Healing Connection’s annual Unleashing the Human Spirit Retreat in Ben Lomond.  It was my first and it was such an incredibly renewing and reflective weekend that I know it will not be my last. A diverse, intergenerational group of people arrived on Friday afternoon and we quickly became a community.

Jesse and I arrived around 3:30 on Friday and pitched the new tent. Cabins were available, but since the weather was trending so great, we took the option to camp in the “orchard” near the lodge where most of the participants were staying.

View of "The Orchard" from the lodge

View of "The Orchard" from the lodge

Our quarters

Our quarters

 

Kokomon Clottey, AHC’s executive director, established the atmosphere that evening, leading us in Mindful Drumming, a meditative practice that increases consciousness of how rhythms underlie the flow of Life and the connection we have with the True Self. When we are present in this Knowing we are also closer to others, nature, and Spirit. I loved it and have a better appreciation for Jesse’s love for the djembe drum!

Kokomon

Kokomon

  

On Saturday morning (after tai chi led by Guillermo), Adam Chaipus, a geologist with a message about our spiritual connection to Earth, helped us to re-member ourselves to the relationship we have with Earth. Sitting in a circle in a redwood grove while he reminded us of how nature teaches us and tells us stories played out of millions of years. My take away: man’s attempt to control nature is a destructive fallacy – we have to return to honoring Earth for the physical and spiritual journey it provides every sentient being.

 

Adam

Adam

After Adam’s talk, we had another circle of Mindful Drumming and this time Kokomon’s message about the rhythms of Life was its relationship to our intuitive nature – that being present in the flow of Life is our opening to inner knowing. This time he led us in more active and quickly changing beats, forcing us to stay alert and in the moment. It was just a hard as the meditative practices of focusing on the breath, but equally peaceful and opening!

The Redwood Circle (we couldn't take pictures during the ceremonies)

The Redwood Circle (we couldn't take pictures during the ceremonies)

Saturday afternoon, Keya Kessler, a Lakota Elder, brought us back to the redwood circle to lead a ceremony called The Wiping of the Tears, where everyone on the circle, one at a time, called in their ancestors for forgiveness and healing of past and present wounds that burden the spirit. It was very moving.  It felt as if every redwood watched us from the eyes of those ancestors.

 

Keya

Keya

 

 

Saturday evening, we returned to joy, creativity and laughter for the Unleashing the Spirit ceremony where each of us shared some talent or artistry. People sang, danced, recited poetry, played music, or painted. It was incredible fun!

Getting Ready to Unleash the Spirit!

Getting Ready to Unleash the Spirit!

 

Liam's painting of his treehouse

Liam's painting of his treehouse

 

Tyrese's (Super T's) Rap

Tyrese's (Super T's) Rap

Daniel's Airbrush

Daniel's Airbrush

 

Guillermo sings "100 Pounds of Clay"

Guillermo sings "100 Pounds of Clay"

 

Jesse gives me another salsa lesson

Jesse gives me another salsa lesson

 

Mike plays a rite of passage on the djembe

Mike plays a rite of passage on the djembe

Sunday morning (I was up too late to catch tai chi), we exchanged gifts and shared our thoughts about how the experience had impacted us before heading back down the hill. I am extremely grateful to Aeeshah and Kokomon Clottey, Adam, Keya, Amana, and Daneen (who planned and prepared the wonderful food all weekend) for their hard work in planning and conducting the retreat. But I am most grateful for everyone that was a part of the retreat because they (we) are the One that made it so.

Taking off on Sunday morning - outside of the lodge dining hall

Taking off on Sunday morning - outside of the lodge dining hall

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