WHY THIS RETREAT IS NEEDED
April 6, 2020
Every year for the past 22 years, we have gathered for a Spring retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs. This year, as with so many other retreat centers, schools, and restaurants, Breitenbush is closed due to the global health crisis.
Over these last 2-3 weeks as I have been teaching online yoga to keep our community nourished, sane, and courageous, I’ve very much enjoyed the conversations we have at the end of each class. After the Zoom class is “over” we stay on in our “Zoom Room” to visit. It’s been amazingly possible to talk with 30-100 people in a Zoom room. (People are good at taking turns and giving compassionate listening and heartfelt sharings after they have a yoga practice, a deep savasana, and a grounding meditation!)
In many societies, the importance of the kapha dosha has been dismissed as we pursue the “glory” of the pitta dosha - acquisition, merchant culture, productivity, and greed.
The rise of “electronic everything” has pushed the vata dosha out of balance. We experience insomnia, anxiety, fear, and increasing percentages of neurological conditions from ADHD to Parkinson's.
Our young citizens are showing rising signs of anxiety, childhood obesity, bullying, and earlier onset of puberty. Our elders are housed in care facilities away from multi-generational living.
In the middle, that stage of life which was meant to be a time for our adult life of parenting, collaboration, contribution, purpose, and living in such a way that we would become a wise elder, instead has become fraught with angst, increased auto-immune conditions, headaches, digestive disorders, sleep disorders, mood disorders, opioid dependency, & more.
Our first chakra shows symptoms: We are living in fear; including fear of each other. Fear of never being good enough. Fear of not getting it all done. Fear of not keeping up.
We feel ungrounded. Our circles of care and neighborhoods with generations of families, traditions, and cultural heritage has declined in favor of more independent living and personal mobility to live where we want to be - often a great distance from our original “village”.
Our second chakra houses the sorrow: Unresolved emotions, long-held unmet needs, our inability to recognize and grieve the losses, the lost art of gently meandering like a tranquil river in nature, replaced by the wildly swinging pendulum of grasping and aversion, clinging and craving. Our vitality is tapped and we keep wondering why. The adrenals are shot and it perplexes us.
Our third chakra roars with the makings of burn out, implosion or explosion. While we may not be inclined to pursue greed, power, status, money, consumerism, reputation, admiration, or acquisition of “things”, we live in a world so seduced by this that even those who are not tempted are exposed to the consequences too. The economic divides are too great to have a global community of caring for the welfare of all, even if noble individuals continue to reach for it, the shadow made by this fire is too big for small scale solutions.
Now is a time for this crisis to become
a healing crisis, for us all.
If we are to rise into the fourth chakra:
where compassion means action;
the fifth chakra: where our voices are used for truth, clarity and collaboration; and
into the sixth chakra, where we have access to wisdom, clarity of sight, and the inner sight that is larger than our own; we must do it together.
Being a lone yoga warrior will not be enough.
(It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong here.
It just isn’t enough.)