This World We’re Creating

My blog this week links to a slideshow that showcases the retreat we offered to women with cancer and oncology nurses this past October. As I look at the pictures and the smiling faces here I remember so clearly how each woman looked younger and more relaxed with each passing day. Perhaps that was true of the staff as well.

As we envisioned this retreat earlier in the year, we knew there were yoga classes for people with cancer throughout the city. We wanted something else—a chance for a group of women—those with cancer and those working with cancer patients—to come together for 2 full days and nights away from their homes and their usual cares and duties. We wanted to care for them personally and give them a chance to rest deeply so they could return to their families and lives refreshed and armed with tools that could help them stay that way. They weren’t used to such coddling and it took a bit of convincing at first for them to let us give them that much attention to get the poses just right or offer yet another round of reiki. But, by the end of the retreat, they were eagerly asking for one more blanket to get a little more comfortable and were speaking up to ask for reiki and essential oils. There were many moments of courage, of fun and laughter, of tears, of conga lines during our evening dance party, of important conversations at meals and during breaks, of walks in the woods in the perfect fall weather, and the glee of great food without cooking or dishes to clean up! There was a full out sense of rightness in those few days that continues to resonate with me.

A note about the slideshow: thanks to Michele Vinbury and Michelle Fullmer for the many beautiful photos. You won’t see them in many pictures because they were behind the camera but they offered much support during the retreat in addition to their photography.

About the music: Bernie McKnight, slideshow organizer extraordinaire, and I spent most of a week looking for just the right music to go in the background and to get the rights for it. This part of the project was not going well. With a past due deadline we took a break and I went to a workshop on Nonviolent Communication where the duo of kRi and Hettie was performing live music. Their second song was clearly the song that needed to be part of our slideshow and the hair was standing up on my arms as I heard it. At the break I asked them if we could use it and they gave us permission on the spot. I called Bernie, gave her the link and the rest is here for you to enjoy. Thanks to them again for their honest, uplifting and upbeat song.

Our next retreat: On Saturday, May 11 we will be offering the next retreat for people with cancer at Yoga on High’s new workshop space at 1020 Dennison Ave. The day before Mothers Day seems right. This in-town retreat will be one full day which will allow us to serve more people (including men this time) for less money. A those people who wanted to volunteer for the last retreat can be part of this one—bringing their reiki hands and restorative yoga skills to the program.

We are creating partnerships with local funders but are also happy to take your tax-deductible donations as well. You can donate here (enter in Yoga on High Foundation and specify program). Stay tuned….so much more to come!