We invite you to join us in a sacred journey dedicated to the spirit and grace of Bali as we embrace our Self … our deepest beauty nature. In that embrace, mystery and transformation quicken and dance.
Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book, The Millionth Circle, states that when a critical number of people change how they think and act, a new consciousness will prevail. “A proliferation of circles with a spiritual center becomes a worldwide healing force by bringing feminine values of relationship, nurturing and interdependency into a global culture in which hierarchy, conflict and competition, power over others and exploitation of the earth’s resources are dominant values.”
This retreat builds on our ancestral practice of gathering in circle. In the circle we create a space where each woman has equal value, where each voice is heard with respect and where we share an intention for the good of all. There is strength and power in women’s stories…and magic happens whenever women come together with intentions of honoring their sacred selves. It is so important that women learn to trust each other and share their stories. Within the circle, women fully support each other to create the life they desire.
It is especially important for women to be witnessed and validated by other women because so often our experiences, feelings and needs are invalidated by our culture and the people who are close to us. In these circles, we have the opportunity to experience the collective wisdom of the women gathered, while we celebrate a diverse community of thoughtful, strong and caring women.
Each of us brings a unique story and beauty to weave into a circle full of relatedness, connection, laughter, tears and joy. Our open-hearted commitment to each other will create this unfolding process. We will create a circle of wisdom, abundance and replenishment. As we breathe, we embody our truths, as we move, we find our dance, as we speak, we share our stories. Yoga is a part of our circle as this devotion helps women inhabit their bodies with loving-attention and respect, inviting us to respond intuitively to our body’s wisdom.
By naming and sharing our gifts in our sacred circle, we are enriched and enlivened, as individuals and as a joyful and potent community of women, committed to healing ourselves, our sisters and our world. We hope to emerge from the circle able to give voice to our stories, to recommit ourselves to fully enter our beauty-wisdom nature and to become midwives of our dreams and visions.
Portals to the Self: A Women’s Circle by the Sea
The night sky is bright with stars and the air is sweet with the smell of the sea. The procession of women makes their way across the land bridge to the temple. The sun rises to greet the Yucatan on the left and Mother Moon says her morning good-byes on the right. We each make our own private dedications as we step through the portal into the actual temple. As I close my eyes I can see the ancient Mayan women getting off their boats at what appears to be the ruins of a dock below. I am drawn to what’s left of a lunar observatory or altar. One of the women in our group dances at an outcropping, chanting, her beautiful scarves blowing in the wild sea breeze.
These are just a few of the wonderful images I brought home with me from a recent Goddess Women’s retreat to Isla Mujeres, an island off of Cancun, Mexico.
This enchanted island was one of a three- stop pilgrimage made by Mayan women, and is dedicated to the Mayan Goddess, Ixchel, the Moon Goddess associated with rites of fertility, birthing, weaving, and healing.
The retreat is a 7-day adventure hosted by co-madres Ceci McDonnell (the statuesque Mother Goddess who brings her children together to light their torches and send them forth) and Karen Rosenberg (the bi- lingual amazement who organizes details – a woman who is nourishing in the truest sense of the word!). Both are therapists from the Cleveland, Ohio area.
The retreat is hosted at a resort called Na Balam. A beautiful resort with food that can only be referred to as works of art. The guacamole is the stuff of legend! The staff is warm and friendly. The beaches are inviting. The gentle sounds of the surf, my lullaby each night.
The daily circles, yoga sessions, and just plain joyfulness are held at a covered palapa, which is a room built of mahogany with a thatched roof open to the exotic birds singing, the palms and the flowers.
The circles were at times deep, at times playful, but skillfully designed to open our hearts to our inner-beauty and creativity.
The women were brought together from all over the country, and each contributed their own amazing gifts. Beauty, talent, intellect, and humor were in no short supply with this bunch! A variety of religious backgrounds, but an abiding respect for them all. We did every thing from calling the four directions to lighting candles for the Sabbath on the beach.
One of the things I liked most was that this was an opportunity to really get to know the people who lived on the Island. There is a local group of women who have formed a beading cooperative. They make beaded medicine bags, necklaces, bracelets, and the proceeds go to support their families, to pay for life’s necessities and maybe even tuition at the local school that teaches English to the Mayan people. We were asked to bring a donation of beads for the cooperative. One of the women from our group put the word out at her place of employment, and had a suitcase of beads for these women! The looks of warmth and graciousness on their faces as they accepted the gifts are a memory that I will carry with me for quite a long time.
Painted on the building at the cooperative, was a Spiral Goddess. The antiquity of the Goddess, and the fact that her face is everywhere, as evidenced by the faces of these beautiful women, truly struck me.
A deep sense of gratitude is also something I came away with. There is a wonderful and very skilled seamstress on the island named Hortencia. You pick out one of the brightly colored cloths; she eyeballs it for measurement, and can make you any piece of clothing imaginable. We were all sporting our “Hortencia’s” by the end of the week. She invited us all to her very warm little cubicle; picture a space at an open-air flea market, where she had her sewing machine. She gave us all a gift and thanked us; because the money we had spent having her make these treasures for us had paid her daughter’s tuition at the local school for a year!
We also visited a local cemetery. It was like something out of a storybook. All the gravestones above ground with small glass boxes or cement enclosures acting as altars on them. Some of them actually wired for electricity so that their light could shine perpetually. We came across a family sitting at a gravesite singing to their deceased ancestor.
There is also massage available with an amazing massage therapist. While I myself did not get signed up in time, many took advantage of Maria Luisa’s shaman like skills and use of aroma therapeutic oils.
Each of you who joined me on this journey, accept my respect and admiration. I wish that I could put it into words and honor each of you for what you brought to me. But there are too many words. I suppose Namaste will have to do!