Yoga, Meditation & Mediumship Retreat at The Stone Barn, October 21-23, 2016
I couldn’t be more excited about hosting a second retreat here at The Stone Barn in gorgeous Newbury, New Hampshire. Expect beautiful, restorative yoga with Harvard University’s resident mindfulness instructor Kate Harrington; deeeeelicious vegetarian food by gourmets Linda West RN MS of Sunapee View B&B and Denise Costello RN MS of The Energized Body and Chrysalis Meditation Center; insightful mindfulness instruction by yours truly; drumming by the ever-joyful Julie Corey of The Village Drum; and finally crystal bowl healings that’ll make you cry by musician Michelle Marie Sawtell of Sound Goddess Healing.
But that’s not all….
The reason I’m especially jacked up about this retreat is because 1) the last one was fab, and 2) this one features acclaimed spiritual medium Lauren Rainbow. You may recognize her from her spots on Hay House Radio or her work with John Holland. And if her name is new to you, it’s your lucky day! Learn about Lauren at her website LaurenRainbow.com or just come book your weekend getaway at The Stone Barn. Seven bunkbeds and three private rooms left. Visit InsideTheChrysalis.com and book your room TODAY! Do it before September 12 and save $100! Woah!
Every Tuesday evening after I teach my meditation class, I stick around the studio for an hour to receive sound healing from Brian Russo. I’ve been doing this for a few months now. Every week. And let me tell you.
This shit works.
Get ready for a little TMI. Last month was very stressful for me and I ended up with a hemorrhoid. Incredibly attractive, I know. I did not tell Brian before the healing because that would have been embarrassing. (And blogging about it isn’t??) During the healing, he came over to me and put a big bowl on my belly and did something that sounded a lot like an elegant, beautiful, birdsong exorcism. During this enchanting ritual, I felt that sore on my tush move to the left side of my butt and work its way straight out through my hip. I went home to check it out and it was GONE. Yes. GONE.
Okay, so that’s a one-off, right? A mere coincidence.
The very next Tuesday, I dehydrated myself by accident. Hot days, lazy with water, we’ve all been there. To add to it, I wore a high ponytail all day and my head was POUNDING. Nausea, fatigue, the works. I drank and drank and popped Advil (something I rarely do) and went to work to try to meditate my headache away with no luck. Brian came in with his bowls. I told him my head was screaming at me and he put the bowl on my head and sang his beautiful song and gonged away. Guess what? Headache GONE. Gone again.
A two-off. That’s all. This couldn’t be really working. It’s just sound, right?
I went away for a couple of weeks. Spent some time getting trained in Chakra Psychology at Kripalu, stayed a week in Maine with family. By the time I came back to town, I had a white deposit on my left tonsil that looked a whole lot like tonsillitis. Now, this is really disgusting and I am sharing way too much about my body, but I feel like I need to explain this completely so you understand the strange and wonderful power of sound.
The reason I knew it wasn’t tonsillitis is that I have had an open pore on that left tonsil for years and it frequently gets filled up with grossness and turns white. This has been happening for a very, very long time. So I went to work on Tuesday night with this white thing on my throat. It hurt. I told Brian and he said, “Okay, we’ll work on that.”
He did work on it. A mini birdsong exorcism – like the last time but quieter and shorter. While this was happening, a woodpecker came to me and pecked that white nugget right out of my tonsil and swallowed it. This actually happened in my mind but it felt super real. And weird.
The next day, that white nugget on my tonsil turned into a glob. WTF?? It was supposed to go away! My biz partner Denise suggested that the sound healing may have been drawing everything up to the surface so that it could heal permanently. I liked that theory so I decided not to panic. That night, Wednesday night, the white thing was GONE. Gone again. Gone AGAIN. No soar throat. Nothing. Third time in three weeks.
So you may be wondering about the woodpecker. When I was in Maine on vacation, a gorgeous bluish-grey woodpecker flew into the glass windows at our rental. It made such a loud noise. We all went out to look as the stunned woodpecker writhed on the ground. I fired up my hands and gave it Reiki, praying for it to keep breathing: “I invoke the divine light of the creative source within. I am a clear and perfect channel. I am light. I am love. Please live. Live. Live. Fly. Live. Breathe.” I chanted those words over and over to this beautiful creature and finally watched as it passed away. I smoothed its wings and admired its perfect, soft feathers, then carried it to the woods where I laid it on a bed of leaves. It was very emotional for me. I couldn’t shake that bird. Kept thinking about his beautiful shape and feathers and softness. I think that night in my office with Brian and his bowls, the woodpecker’s spirit came to me to thank me for loving it while it was dying. Maybe it was attracted to Brian’s beautiful birdsong.
And maybe I’ll see you tonight at 7:30.
From mine to yours,
Vanessa Gobes is a mom, writer, and meditation teacher. She co-founded Chrysalis Meditation Center located at 28 Church Street in Winchester, Massachusetts.
Hi New England yogis and meditators!
Chrysalis Meditation Center is hosting a weekend long retreat in the Sunapee Lake Region of New Hampshire and I would love to see you there! You can come for a weekend of yoga, meditation, energy healing, and nature loving… or just come for a day. Retreat takes place at Well Sweep Farm’s stone barn. It’s beautiful! Check out the schedule online at www.insidethechrysalis.com. Here is the overview:
Kate Harrington and Lara Wilson, both of Harvard University, are teaming up with the co-founders and teachers of Chrysalis to deliver compassionate guidance in both yoga and meditation.
If you’ve ever taken one of Kate’s classes at Prana Power Yoga, you’ll know what a treat her Metta-infused sessions are. Kate indulges retreat goers daily in gentle yoga and Metta practice.
Lara’s three decade journey into meditation and masterful use of words (written and oral) will surely inspire and empower. She explores eastern healing practices and the practice of stream-of-consciousness writing.
Co-founder Denise Costello, corporate wellness expert and food goddess, is directing the entire weekend and taking some time out from her organizational duties to provide yogis with nutritious snacks and figure-changing food tips. Her partner Vanessa Gobes sits with the group, taking on mindful meditation and mindful communication.
Chrysalis welcomes special guests to the retreat experience: Healer Julie Corey leads a drum circle on opening night, Naturalist Dave Anderson leads us on a full moonlight hike through The Fells, and Sound Healer Brian Russo delivers Tibetan bowl healing.
Expect to fill up on delicious vegetarian food provided by the gourmet team at Sunapee View B&B – farm fresh and locally sourced. Yum!
Cost for the weekend includes all meals and snacks and special guest programming – spa treatments offered by Sunapee Lake Massage and ropes course at Mount Sunapee are both optional and at an additional fee.
Commuter Guests $545
One Day Pass $250
Tibetan Bowls (Only) $30
Overnight Guests $665 – $920 (see price menu at www.insidethechrysalis.com)
Call the center with questions – 781.729.2000 and book today if you can. There are only 3 rooms left “on campus” but there is plenty of availability at area inns and B&Bs.
Fall is a time of transition. Here in New England, we are lucky to witness evidence of this all around us. The autumn winds rise, the temperature drops, and nature knows just what to do to protect itself, to refuel, and to grow. The results are an exquisite landscape of color and beauty.
Just like the trees, we humans need to protect ourselves, to refuel, and to grow. In mid-autumn, our eyes adjust to dark mornings, our skin dries out as thermostats crank up, our noses run when we step into the crisp air. So we try to go to sleep earlier and slather on creamy lotion, we dress warmer and walk faster.
Unlike the trees, we humans have complicated lives, unhealthy habits, and unrealistic expectations that need to be managed in addition to the transitional changes. This can make it hard for us to easily incorporate new routines into the day. (You mean on top of everything else I’m doing I have to rake leaves??)
Transitions, even one as simple as a new season, can cause our best selves to become elusive. The mind becomes focused on the uncomfortable effects of change rather than the simple practice of living; it becomes focused on the busy-ness of surviving rather than the joy of accepting. We don’t notice our quiet presence whispering: You need a good night’s sleep tonight; Don’t drink that martini; Stop talking; or Pare down your schedule. Through meditation, we can listen compassionately to that quiet voice – the voice that only wants the best for us.
Engaging mindfulness, especially during times of transition, can help us maintain composure mentally and physically. The practice helps to slow us down a little, wedging awareness between impulse and action so that we have a brief moment to think clearly before engaging in habitual behavior. As a result, we begin to make decisions that protect our peaceful center, refuel our bodies, and grow into healthy relationships. Through meditation, we see more clearly. We argue differently. We feel energized. We cough and sneeze less. We say “no.” We accept more easily. We feel braver.
Try meditating twice a day, especially leading into transitions like the coming of a new season. Twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening is ideal. But very few of us are ideal. So 10 minute bookends to the day would be amazing. And if that’s still too much, try five minutes. Still too tall an order? Try what my friend Dina Proctor, author of Madly Chasing Peace, calls “3 X 3 Meditation” – three quite minutes, three times a day. This simple practice is a truly perfect preparation for a life in flux, and a way to see the unchanging color and beauty of the internal landscape.
From mine to yours,
Every Sunday night, all summer long, my 4 year old has been asking me this question: “Mama, Mama, Mama, does Supewhewo Camp stawt tomowwow?”
Finally, two days ago I was able to give him the answer he so desperately wanted to hear, “Yes, buddy! Yes! Tomorrow is the first day of Superhero Camp!”
“Woohoooo!” he yelped while punching at the air with his tiny, happy fists. “Mama, Mama, Mama, can I weaw my Supewman T-shiwt?”
“Is it clean?” (Sadly my response is too often what he so desperately doesn’t want to hear but that day he was in luck.)
He took off for his room to pack a bag and lay out his clothes for the following day. Then he came back down, “But Mama. Mama. Mama,” he said patting my rear end, “I need anothew Supewhewo shiwt for the next day.”
“You can wear your Wild Kratts T-shirt, dude! Chris Kratt is the best superhero ever!”
“The Kwatt bwothews awen’t supewhewos.”
“Whhaaaattt??? Of course they are! They rescue animals don’t they?”
“But, Mama, they don’t F-LLLYYYYYY.”
“When they have on their falcon creature power suits they can.”
“OH YAH!!!!! I’m going to be Chwis Kwatts. WOOHOOOO! Can I weaw a cape wiff my T-shiwt?”
If you have a little one at home, you are probably familiar with the Kratt brothers on PBS. They are animal experts who are known for getting down and dirty with creatures of all kinds, first with their show Zoboomafoo and later with their hit show Wild Kratts. They don’t hesitate to roll in the mud or tromp though a swamp… and they’re fun to watch. My kids love these guys. Especially my nature-loving boy. Honestly, “nature-loving” might be an understatement. Nature-ADORING, Nature-OBSESSING, Nature-WORSHIPPING boy is more on the mark. My oldest daughter regularly entertains us by singing the Wild Kratts theme song to the rhythm of her own clapping hands while Nature Boy spins wildly in circles and hurls his body onto the floor. (This primitive behavior is considered dancing in my household.)
What I love about Chris and Martin Kratt, and why I’m writing about them today on BUBs, is that they’ve created a wholesome program that is centered on compassion, education, nature AND adventure. This is especially important for our young boys who are almost always attracted to shows, events and toys that involve destruction and fighting. Caring for and rescuing animals is a beautiful lesson in compassion and I’m standing up applauding these guys and the work they do.
Animals are a wonderful way to teach our little boys about reflexive compassion. When we witness an animal in trouble, compassion is automatic. And once that feeling of compassion becomes part of a child’s emotional foundation, they can have a better understanding of how to apply it when dealing with people. Let’s face it, it can be hard to have compassion for humans sometimes. As a mindful adult I find that I consistently have to remind myself to be compassionate when people around me are acting like jerks. Imagine how challenging that is for a kid!
So there was a study that came out a few years ago. I can’t remember who conducted it, but it was a happiness study based on words posted by children on social media sites (happy, love, peace, etc.). Guess which state was voted to have the happiest kids in America? (Go ahead and play some thought-stimulating Jeopardy music in your head while you ponder… Doo! Do-do-do-do-do-do. Bom, bum!)
Yah baby. Go New England! I’ve gotta say, I’m not surprised. Have you ever been to a New Hampshire State Fair? One conversation with a young person about how they feel when caring for their animals is all you need to be convinced of the cornerstone of their happiness and kindness. Farmer kids and 4-H kids are so damn nice. The way these kids love and care for animals is inspiring. So in a state like NH where nature prevails and farms are everywhere, I’m venturing a guess that the reason for being the happiest state in the nation has something to do with animals. At least that’s my unscientific, un-researched theory. But pretty a good one, right?
Kindness and compassion, though two different qualities, support each other in every way. It’s impossible to have one without the other.
So in this spaghetti test called life, I suggest to toss the Kratt brothers against the wall and see if they stick. My son is still only in-the-making of a man but from what I see so far, I have little doubt that his deep and passionate love for animals and nature are helping him to build a strong foundation of compassion and kindness. Big props to my favorite superheroes for their contribution in supporting his development. PBS made a great investment when they plunked their taxpayer dollars down on Wild Kratts. Check your local guide for listings.
From mine to yours,
Please share if you enjoy this. 😀 ❤
As I mentioned last week, my son recently came down with strep and I spent the weekend at home alone with him. When I wasn’t taking care of him or de-cluttering my home, I was watching Homeland… 12 hours of Homeland to be exact. I started at 7pm each night saying after each conclusion, “Just one more episode. This is the last for sure,” Yup. 2am snuck up on me quickly. Both nights.
As you can imagine, Brody and Carrie guest-starred in most of my dreams that weekend. All that TV made me feel pretty kooky. On Sunday night I was lying in bed and couldn’t press the mental pause button on an intense torture scene, so I started experimenting with different meditations I’d learned – hoping to change the channel. Nothing was working.
So I tried something new and began to systematically focus on each part of my body, in hopes to connect back to the here and now. I started with my skin, allowing small sections of my outer shell to tingle, my focus moving from limb to limb, head to toe.
Then I thought about my bones, my organs. I mentally peeled my skin back and concentrated so hard that I could see and feel, really feel, my bones. I felt my blood pulse through my heart. I focused on my kidneys, liver, stomach, connecting intimately with each organ and acknowledging the work they perform for me each day. They weren’t just a jumbled mess of mysterious globs taking up space under my skin. I offered gratitude to them.
Last stop on the organ train was my brain. I used everything I had to penetrate it. I dug through my third eye and imagined the two big lobes of grey macaroni-like substance, filling the top portion of my skull completely, pulsing with blood and ideas and power, creating pressure on the underside of my scalp. Though the brain is contained, its thoughts are limitless. With that acknowledgment, the pressure dissipated as the energy pulsing under my skull released into the world.
The intense and intentional connection to my body fostered the now moment and allowed me to let go of the previous 6 hours of television programming.
It’s funny, while sitting here writing, I’m conjuring those sensations all over again. It’s very grounding. Nothing else can be happening when we’re channeling all of our focus into our bodies. All the bullshit disappears. It’s liberating.
Next time you’re trapped in an episode of Homeland, or more likely an episode of your life, try turning your attention inward, literally. Tell me what happens. Or please share what you do to clean your clock.
From mine to yours,
p.s. Please share this meditation experiment with friends and family you think might find it helpful. Or with anyone watching Homeland. 🙂
As I mentioned in my last post, for the past two weeks, my family has been hidden away at the foot of a small mountain in New Hampshire. This quiet wintery retreat was an ideal setting to connect and spend lots of time talking about my favorite topic: spirit.
One of my favorite teaching moments was during a snowman-making session. After a fun sledding adventure and snowy tromp through the woods, my 4 year old XG and I spontaneously began to build “Frosty the Snow Gobes” in the front yard. We rolled and packed and stacked. I encouraged XG to take his time, to enjoy the process, to make each ball as round and smooth and perfect as he could.
The snowman, as it turned out, was a perfectly kid-size lesson in samsara.
Our efforts that afternoon would give birth, so to speak, to a wintery masterpiece. Frosty the Snow Gobes would stand adorably near the entrance to our home and happily greet all who visited. He seemed like a pretty sturdy guy, but, as I told XG, he was changing by the second. Melting, freezing, shifting. And soon, when the weather changes, when an accident happens, Frosty would only exist in our memories. So it’s important that we enjoy the experience of building him and admiring him while he’s here. And with the next big snow storm, we could come out and build a snowman all over again.
XG and I chatted about this as we played in the snow. I told him that everything and everyone here on earth is part of a cycle called samsara. We are born, we have experiences, we die. We are born, we have experiences, we die. We are born, we have experiences, we die. The experiences live forever; but life that is born from the earth is only here for a short time. It needs to be returned to the earth to make room for new life with new experiences. This includes people, animals, trees, homes, cars, electronics and, of course, snowmen. It’s how the earth works. And it’s all okay. It’s all natural. And when we can understand that every atom on Earth participates in samsara, we can understand how perfectly connected we are to everyone and everything.
XG didn’t have much to say about the impromptu lesson, but he was listening carefully. The door was open for him to ask questions if he needed, and that’s what was most important to me.
From mine to yours,
p.s. Please share this with bu-curious friends. Thank you! 🙂