I sit here both in awe and partial disbelief that almost a year has passed since our last Winter Yoga & Meditation Retreat. What a gift and a privilege it is to be able to start our year with intention surrounded by a supportive and nurturing community. There is something magical about this time of year and the people who gather. There is something special about the container and space we create together.
Lucky for us, we never need to do much marketing for this event. I think a big part of that is because of this unique attraction that accompanies the powerful season of Winter. Yet, for people who are wondering and thinking about joining us, I thought it might be kind of fun to share a bit about some of the experiences we will offer as well as the people who will be with us.
As I think about the meditative tea ceremony that will be offered 4 different times (!) throughout our retreat weekend, I am transported back to May of 2017, when I was 39 weeks pregnant. It was a Sunday…3 days before my youngest daughter was born. After a 40 minute drive I waddled out of my car to my first ceremony, and I knew I was returning home.
There was something magnetic about the woman leading this tea ceremony—her name was Christin. I knew of her initially because she was a co-organizer of a gathering in the woods of teachers and seekers that I was to be a part of later that summer. However, I also knew I needed to meet Christin before that gathering. In fact, I found her online even long before that…when I was seeking information about tea ceremony. As an herbalist and a yoga/meditation teacher, I was fascinated by the idea of learning the art of tea ceremony. She was on my metaphysical radar and it was only a matter of time we would meet in person.
After experiencing my first tea ceremony with Christin, I felt so much gratitude. I also felt the depth of her own personal practice and integrity create an even deeper experience for me. Christin is one of the most down to earth and straightforward souls I know, and yet she has studied with the Dalai Lama and learned traditional tea ceremony in Taiwan, carrying buckets of fresh spring water long distances, apprenticing with the masters. She is truly an amazing human being, embodying her spirituality with every step she takes. And I could go on and on here, but I’ll try to stop puffing my chest for her and just encourage you to come to the retreat to see what I mean.
After the tea ceremony that May, I had my baby, and then I met Christin again in the woods in one of my classes on flower essences that summer. I loved her openness and curiosity. Again, for being one of the organizers of this event, she was such a natural and approachable human. I just enjoy(ed) her so much. We kept in touch online and met up for a meal when it was possible. Though our meetings were infrequent, we became fast friends. Because she is such a good friend, she agreed to bring tea ceremony to Moon River last December and then she served tea on our winter retreat. Now we are lucky to have her return again this year at the Christine Center.
As I write this now, Christin is in flight to Hong Kong where she will teach a few classes and continue to serve tea at a big international gathering. My heart is so full of gratitude that she will be at our 2019 winter retreat. AND, did I mention? She is bringing a 200 year old tea to our gathering!!! I can hardly wait to let the wisdom of this plant and practice settle into our bones. And I cannot wait to see some of you there!
At the retreat: The tea ceremony will take place during the span of a one hour session, with about 45 minutes of watching the tea pour into your bowl, drinking the tea and repeat. It sounds so simple and basic and it is, which makes it so rich, grounding and meditative. You certainly do not have to attend all tea sessions, but if space allows, you could. This year Christin will offer more tea in shorter time periods so that people can choose to practice either in the morning or evening or both. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, we recommend you practice in the day time. There will be sign up sheets at the retreat to reserve your spot.