Journeys of the Spirit® April 2010 Newsletter
I’m picturing myself right now in Glastonbury walking on ancient lands amongst beauty and magic. What a beautiful way to get clarity about what is truly important in life. Ladies, I hope you can join my June 2nd journey to Avalon – I’m excited to share this adventure with you!
I don’t know abut you – but I’ve been so passionate about new connections and directions in my life lately. I’ve recently met some really delightful people and I look forward to great adventures as a result. My ultimate plan is to be living in 3-4 different countries in 2011, learning new languages and creative skills. I’m feeling the need to expand my heart and soul – what about you? There’s nothing to stop you from living your life in a totally different way – even if you have children (other than your nay-saying mind). Got some interesting ideas? Post them below!
BTW: This month’s article is: Ignorance, Redemption and Enlightenment – a VERY intense subject. DO POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW (they won’t show up right away until they are approved) and please Tweet us to others!
As for news, if you’re planning to join our spiritual journey to Teotihuacan, to Swim with the Dolphins, or our Women’s Journey Sacred Britain – let me know ASAP! REGISTRATION IS NOW!
Also, please take time to meet Ales Struna – our head travel dreamer and director of our new Custom Travel Division! If you need airline tickets, a custom designed trip, cruise bookings, or anything – he can do it! Do you need to get away for a rejuvenating weekend or week? Ales can get you to Tulum for yoga, to California for a silent retreat, or to Costa Rica for some reflective time in nature. Whatever it is we are here to assist you – do take advantage of our willingness to help!
REGISTRATION AT THIS TIME IS A MUST!
SACRED BRITAIN & SCOTLAND: A Women’s Journey to Avalon
Sacred Britain: June 2-11th – extension to Rosslyn: June 11-14th
Within the heart of every woman is the desire for a grail quest for personal freedom and internal peace. On this sacred journey we’ll be visiting Glastonbury, otherwise known as the Isle of Avalon. Glastonbury Abbey, the birthplace of Christianity in England is often referred to as the “holiest earth in England.”
We’ll visit to the enchanted Dozmary Pool where we come into the presence of the Lady of the Lake at her mystical and watery home. Experience a private visit to the beautiful and tranquil gardens of Chalice Well, one of the true healing places in this land and a private visit to Stonehenge, crop circles, plus so much more! This trip is being led by Madeleine Marentette and Sheri will be joining her. 2010 trip cost is: Approximately $3500.00 USD pp double occ for Britain and around $1300.00 USD for the extension to Scotland including the roundtrip flight from England to Scotland. Ales can help find you cheaper flights to Britain! Details for Sacred Britain here!
THE OREGON COAST: A Photography Workshop
June 10-14th, 2010
Please join us on this amazing photography workshop and spiritual retreat with award-winning photographer Catherine Just. We’ll be relaxing for 4 days in a beautiful oceanfront home set along the stunning Oregon beach.
Surrounded by nature you’ll have unlimited potential for quiet image making and communion between yourself and the earth, sky, mountains, trees and ocean. All are welcome – so don’t be shy! 2010 cost: A single room and workshop: $620.00 USD, or a double room and workshop: $530.00 USD, or a bed in the common room and workshop: $499.00 USD. Details for Oregon here!
NEXT FREE TELECLASS!
Join me for a second discussion on The Fifth Agreement on April 15th Thursday evening at 8:30pm Eastern and 5:30pm Pacific time. If you missed the last teleclass on the book you can listen to it before this class on the library page. Sign-up here!
LISTEN TO OUR ARCHIVED TELECLASSES!
You can hear our last 4 teleclasses and our archived monthly audio messages on the library page of the website.
A NEW OPPORTUNITY for 2010
Join me in 2010 for a personal intensive! These intensives will take place in my home in the mountains of north Georgia. It’s a very quiet place to take time to reflect upon your life and the local hiking is amazing. You’ll stay here during your intensive and have full access to your own kitchen and space. Figure we’ll spend around 3 hours together in the morning and then you’ll do your assignments in the afternoon. Then we’ll catch back up for 1-2 hours in the evening to re-cap. Details here.
IGNORANCE, REDEMPTION and ENLIGHTENMENT
Every once in a while I come across a movie that has me sitting in silence, praying deeply for the enlightenment and redemption of humanity. The Stoning of Soraya M is one of those movies. On the most superficial level this movie is based on a true story of a woman who was stoned to death in Iran and was published as a book by the same name in 1994 by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam. On the deepest level it is a story about each of us.
While stranded in a remote village having his car repaired, Freidoune is approached by Zahra who shares the horrific tale of her niece’s stoning the day before in her village. Her prayer is that her voice is heard around the world and that other women do not suffer such a cruel and unjust plight. Soraya’s husband wanted to divorce her and marry a 14 year old girl, but Soraya did not want her children to starve without a father and refused. When a village woman dies, both the local mullah and her husband encourage her to cook for the widowed husband who has a young son. She does so with an open heart – but unbeknownst to her a plot is unfolding to accuse her of adultery so she can be stoned to death freeing her husband of his responsibilities to her.
Some people have complained that the movie is gruesome and an exaggeration of the worldwide abuse of women. Others use the movie as an excuse to point fingers at the inhumanity of Sharia Law and Islam. Still others claim it uses sensationalism to hook people’s attention and accomplishes nothing.
As for me, this movie simply illustrates the supreme ignorance of humanity. I don’t mean stupidity here as I do not think anyone is stupid. For me ignorance is the state of consciousness that humans exist in when they cling to concepts, beliefs, opinions and views that have nothing to do with the truth of our existence – that we are all equal, divine and all one. It illustrates the difference between what happens in the world when we justify what we believe, over the truth of our direct encounter of life free of all concepts.
You might watch the movie and ask how can good people be moved to take such vile actions – how can anyone bury a person halfway in the ground and then stone them to a bloody death? But I ask you to be very honest and look deeply in your heart and admit to yourself when you most recently stoned someone verbally or emotionally because you believed you were right. I understand that the magnitude between my question to you and what occurs in the movie is different. But it is the exact same process of justifying what we believe to get what we want and that is what is at issue. Once this type of thinking is considered normal – that we all do it – where do we draw the line between a simple argument with a spouse and the stoning a human to death? Either way we are justifying concepts using our words and emotional poison as stones, hurting each another for our own fear-based purposes.
It is not about what belief system is right or wrong, better or worse. It is about the ultimate process of enlightenment – the freedom from being compelled to take actions that cause pain based on “wrong perceptions.” Whenever we take this path we will always find suffering and hell on earth. (Listen to Thich Nhat Hanh’s video below.)
I invite you to watch this movie, and rather than watching it at the very basic level of an entertaining story, go deep inside and see how you too have manipulated what you believe and those around you to get what you have wanted. Once you have clarity, gift yourself and those in the movie with your forgiveness based on your compassion knowing that we have all behaved this way in our ignorance and we all deserve redemption. Peace on earth starts in the minds of each human – so please join me on this path of truth, forgiveness and love.
With all my love, Sheri
RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE MONTH
Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life
World famous Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hanh teams up with Harvard’s Dr. Lilian Cheung in this book to teach us mindfulness when it comes to our eating habits. Common sense tells us that to lose weight, we must eat less and exercise more. But somehow we get stalled. We start on a weight-loss program with good intentions but cannot stay on track.
Too many of us are in a cycle of shame and guilt. We spend countless hours worrying about what we ate or if we exercised enough, blaming ourselves for actions that we can’t undo. We are stuck in the past and unable to live in the present—that moment in which we do have the power to make changes in our lives.
With Savor, world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Harvard nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung show us how to end our struggles with weight once and for all. Offering practical tools, including personalized goal setting, a detailed nutrition guide, and a mindful living plan, the authors help us to uncover the roots of our habits and then guide us as we transform our actions. Savor teaches us how to easily adopt the practice of mindfulness and integrate it into eating, exercise, and all facets of our daily life, so that being conscious and present becomes a core part of our being.
It is the awareness of the present moment, the realization of why we do what we do, that enables us to stop feeling bad and start changing our behavior. Truly, this book is a fantastic adaptation of spiritual practice being put to very practical use! For sure you won’t be eating mindlessly in front of the TV or in the car anymore!
Pick up a copy today: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life
SPIRITUAL CINEMA CIRCLE
If You Love Movies, You Are About to Be Inspired AND Entertained!
When you join Spiritual Cinema Circle you will be making an important contribution to your world. You are encouraging talented, visionary filmmakers to continue in their efforts to add life and meaning to our movies and to raise the consciousness of the world by supporting and experiencing truly nourishing entertainment.
This month’s full feature film is Thomas & the Rainbow set in Ireland. What a touching and special film about growing up and the wonderful spirit guides that help us get through difficult times.
One of this month’s shorts, Dandelion Dharma, is so beautiful! A broken heart nearly leads to suicide for young Trudie in the short film. During a visit to the community garden plot she once shared with her beloved, a mysterious trio of eccentric older women suddenly appear. While offering Trudie stiff drinks, they share saucy tales of their own doomed romances, where “beginnings come from endings, endings from beginnings.”
Great news from our friends at Spiritual Cinema Circle – you can receive this full feature film plus 3 great short films for FREE when you sign up for a trial membership at no charge. (Just pay a small shipping fee). This is the only DVD service dedicated to films about love, compassion and inspiration: one of the many reasons we wanted you to know about them. Cancel your membership at any time. Join the Circle today!
NORTH DAKOTA: Vision Quest into the Badlands – NEW TRIP!!
June 26 – July 7th, 2010
This spiritual retreat with facilitator Samvedam Randles takes us to the Badlands of North Dakota where views are expansive and bison and coyote walk freely. Daily practices of meditation, breathwork, shamanic journeying and group sharing will prepare us for a powerful vision quest. Rituals such as sweat lodge and fire ceremony will help us purify and prepare ourselves for time alone in the powerful presence of this land. Participants may choose to quest alone for three days and three nights in the badlands or participate in an alternative guided three day retreat at base camp.
You are invited to step out of your daily routines and broaden your sense of Self beyond the horizon of what is currently visible in order to realign with the original intention of your soul. Trip cost: $1680.00 USD dormitory style occ. Details for Badlands Vision Quest here!
REGISTRATION AT THIS TIME IS A MUST!
SWIM WITH THE WILD DOLPHINS: A Women’s Retreat of the Heart!
July 18-23rd, 2010 – PLEASE NOTE THESE DATES HAVE CHANGED!!
Ladies, come join us for a truly magical adventure of heart and spirit to the Caribbean Island of Bimini for an intimate and touching experience with the wild spotted dolphins. Connecting with their wondrous spirits can be a profoundly moving, deeply healing and life altering experience.
This week we will spend time looking at our communication skills, self-judgments and the limiting thought patterns which are preventing us from becoming the true manifestation of Spirit that we really are! The 2010 trip cost is: $1965.00 USD pp double occ or $2235.00 single occ in our 2 bedroom-2 bath condo suite (includes a full kitchen and shared living room). Single occ in a private studio condo unit is: $2375.00 USD. Details for Swimming with the Dolphins here!
NEW TRIP – REGISTER NOW!
BALI INDONESIA: Women’s Goddess Retreat to Paradise – July 20-30th, 2010
Join Lore Raymond and 15 women very special “spiritual sojourners” for this VisionQuest to Bali. Our intent for this blessed spiritual retreat is to open hearts and inspire action as we “journey within” and discover the real Bali and ourselves. Through intimate experiences with the native people, special cultural interactions, and volunteerism – you will notice a change within that will forever change your life. Bali has a way of creeping into your heart and merging with your soul.
On this journey of the heart, VisionQuest women will be lovingly asked to bring 50 pounds of donated goods to gift local Balinese non-profits. And to honor Lore’s great-grandmother – 7% of all VisionQuests’ net proceeds will be donated to the international humanitarian work of Nurses with a Mission. The 2010 trip cost is: $2695.00 USD per person double occupancy (cash pricing). Details for Bali Goddesses here!
HAVASUPAI FALLS GRAND CANYON: Living Fearlessly
September 8-13th, 2010
On this adventure you descend into one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, into the heart of the Grand Canyon at Havasu Canyon, where we will hike and explore this incredible landscape, swimming in travertine pools of turquoise blue, enjoying the evenings at our comfortable permanent camp searching for stars, having great meals and sharing our experiences during our adventure.
This journey will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, awe and a true appreciation and love of the grandest places on earth. 2010 trip cost is: $2095.00 USD pp double occ, most meals included. Details for Havasupai Falls here!
SEDONA SPIRITUAL RETREAT: Embracing At-one-ment
September 16-21st, 2010
Join us for a magical and introspective spiritual retreat to the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. On the autumn equinox, day and night are of equal length reminding us that we too must honor the light and darkness within. It’s time for forgiving ourselves and bringing our regrets, sorrows, and resentments (our darkness) into the light so we can live our lives from a place of wholeness and love.
Healthy breakfasts at Briar Path Inn can be enjoyed by the fireside in the lodge, or on a tray at your cottage, or best of all, creekside! As part of this retreat we will engage in a fire ceremony, multiple ceremonies in beautiful locations, and a therapeutic healing massage. Shanti Gilbert is co-teaching with me on this journey. 2010 trip cost is: see the website for details! Details for Sedona here!
KENYA, AFRICA: Into the Heart of the Motherland
October 4-15th, 2010
Connecting with the energy and wildlife of the motherland of all humanity is the focus of this amazing spiritual journey to Kenya, Africa. Here we will have the opportunity to witness some of the most powerful animals on our planet, befriend members of the Masai warrior tribe, and give deeply of ourselves at the Kids Alive Children’s Home and the Kamatongu Primary School.
Traditionally, the Maasai rarely hunt and living alongside wildlife in harmony is an important part of their beliefs. From July to October, 1.3 million Wildebeest pour across the border into the Mara, making a spectacular entrance in a surging column of life that stretches from horizon to horizon. Truly, this will be a powerful journey for us. 2010 trip cost is: $5695.00 USD pp double occ 6-12 participants OR $52855.00 USD pp double occ >12 participants – most meals included. Details for Kenya, Africa here!
DAY OF THE DEAD, Oaxaca Mexico – A Powerful Celebration of Life!
October 30th-November 7th, 2010
Mexicans love Day of the Dead, it’s a revered and festive holiday where folk celebrate their beloveds’ who have passed. Families create altars filled with pictures, food and items that belonged to the deceased. Together we’ll learn to enjoy life as it is – as true “Artists of the Spirit.”
We’ll be visiting the graveyard, and creating our own altars – whether they are to our own loved ones who have passed, or to a relationship that we want to let go of, or even an aspect of ourselves we’re ready to let go of. We’ll also go to the local market, visit the sacred ruins of Monte Alban & Mitla, and so much more. By the end of this journey you’ll have the tools to re-create your reality and to face your greatest fear – expressing your life with integrity, honesty, fearlessness and joy. Join HeatherAsh & Sheri on this spiritual journey of the heart. 2010 trip cost is: $2465.00 USD pp double occ, some meals included. Details for Day of the Dead here!
PALENQUE, MEXICO: 2012 Mayan Prophecies – Bringing in the Light
Dec 17-22, 2010
Here we’ll travel back in time from the remains of the Olmecs at La Venta to the incredible structures of the Maya at Palenque and Tonina. During our week together we’ll be preparing for the 2012 Mayan prophecies by using these sacred underworld sites to birth a dream of world peace into the light. In addition, we’ll have the opportunity to meet with a Mayan elder to talk more about what the 2012 prophecies mean for them.
We’ll immerse ourselves in the mythology of the underworld exploring the aspects of ourselves long abandoned or forgotten , leading to the rebirth of our integrity and oneness for ourselves and for the world. 2010 cost: coming soon. Details for Palenque here!
BHUTAN: Blessings of the Heart, Meditation & Service
December 9-21st, 2010
Not many people have actually heard about Bhutan – Land of the Thunder Dragon. These proud people are Tantric Buddhists who also have a Shamanistic background called Bon – and a fantastic history filled with legends and mythology.
We’ll have the opportunity to spend a day at one of the annual religious dance festivals, participate in a special prayer and blessing ceremony and hike up to Tiger’s Nest temple where Guru Rinpoche flew to on the back of a flaming tigress! We’ll also be giving of ourselves and helping the nuns by being in service. Through meditation, chanting, prayer and ceremony – we will expand our consciousness and cultivate the compassion of Buddha within us. 2010 trip cost is: $5195.00 USD pp double occ, all meals and roundtrip airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan included. Details for Bhutan here!
MY FAVORITE MEDITATION ASSISTANT
Centerpointe Research Institute!
I just wanted to introduce all of you to my favorite meditation tool. Before recommending this product – I decided to give it a try myself to see how it works. I have been experimenting with this program for 10 months now and I highly recommend it! I could go into how the sound technology works – but it ‘s better if you read their material yourself.
Centerpointe Research Institute has created a proprietary audio technology called Holosync® that instantly (and gently) puts you into deep states of meditation (in fact, even deeper than those achieved by veteran Zen Monks), at the push of a button. This means that you can now start enjoying and profiting from all the recognized health benefits of deep meditation beginning the very first day you use it instead of waiting through years of hard practice. Just click to order a free demo disc.
WHAT I LOVE – LOVE – LOVE THIS MONTH!
Take a moment to watch this video!
One of my favorite spiritual teachers is Thich Nhat Hanh the beautiful Buddhist monk from Vietnam. In this wonderful talk he speaks about how wrong perceptions lead to suffering. In simple language – when you perceive and then allow your mind to judge, you will have an emotional reaction and this emotional reaction will take you away from your peace and centeredness. In Buddhism “wrong perceptions” do not refer to the mental judgement of right and wrong – they simply refer to any viewpoint that leads to suffering. In the end Nirvana can only occur when you move beyond all mental positions. I am curious as to your feelings about this video – do post below!
Words of Wisdom for the Heart
“We should not seek revenge on those who have committed crimes against us, or reply to their crimes with other crimes. We should reflect that by the law of karma, they are in danger of lowly and miserable lives to come, and that our duty to them, as to every being, is to help them to rise towards Nirvana, rather than let them sink to lower levels of rebirth.”
~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama