The invitation to move at earth speed has been a central theme of 2021 for me. It’s not always easy. I often get really excited and get swept into moving at a really fast pace. And then, inevitably, there’s an invitation to slow down again. Sometimes it’s forced. Sometimes my body forces me to slow down. Sometimes it’s because large trucks are in front of me making me drive slower. Sometimes it’s the sheer beauty of the landscape around me that invites me into deeper noticing and deeper connection.
Last summer, I had a powerful experience that brought me into earth speed. It was almost dusk in the height of summer’s splendor. I was filled with anxiety and worry because one of my family members was experiencing COVID-like symptoms and I felt powerless in the face of the constantly-changing pandemic and health risks. I went down to the river on my family’s farm and I sat and prayed. I was praying to God but also to the river, to the trees, to this land that held me, which to me, are the same thing as God.
Slowly, I came out of my own small human experience of worry and anxiety and noticed that the fireflies were coming out all around me at the same time as the stars were coming out in the sky. I took in that beauty for a while, and then I heard a sound I had never heard before. It was like very soft crinkling, but it was coming from all around me. At first, I thought, is it the wind? Is it crickets?
Then, I remembered a book I’d read a few years earlier called The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. Wonder filled me as I realized that THAT was the sound I was hearing. At my feet and in the tall grasses all around me, there were hundreds of snails chewing!
I was amazed. I spent the next 15 minutes or so crouched down low to the ground, watching and listening to the snails. I was in wonder of this amazing web of life that is always there. The anxiety left me. I came out of my own very small experience of being human and was opened to the incredible peace and beauty all around me. The worries of the day left me and I was filled with love and respect for this beautiful, divine world we live in. In part, because I took the time to slow down and notice, to ask for help, and to invite connection, I was able to experience incredible peace and beauty.
This is what happens when we slow down, when we move at earth speed, when we can connect with the rhythms and incredible resource of the Earth we live in – not as separate, but as part of nature itself. There’s incredible wisdom there. There’s incredible healing potential, for both us and the Earth. There’s incredible resource. And there’s incredible connection.
This connection is the intention of the Sacred Earth group women's retreat I’m leading October 29-31. Together, we'll remember what it’s like to be close to the earth, to sit under the stars, to be in the forest, and to be part of the natural world, not separate from it. We'll gather with other like-minded women. The weekend is an incredible opportunity to connect to the sacred earth, to your deeper self, to beauty, to soul – together. I invite you to join me to spend two nights at a beautiful, new, intimate retreat center space in the forested foothills of the Catskill Mountains in Delancey, NY for:
Earth-honoring practices and ritual.
Quiet time in the forest.
Campfires, reflection circles, journaling and intentional time in nature.
Healthy, local food.
Friday, October 29
4 – 7 PM: Arrive, explore and settle in! Dinner at 6 PM
7 PM – Opening Circle & Fire
Saturday, October 30
7 AM - Meditation (optional)
8 AM - Breakfast
9 – 11 AM - Group & individual ritual and practice: Grief/opening to connection
11 AM - Group reflection & song circle
12 PM - Lunch
1 PM - Group & individual ritual and practice: Building a reciprocal relationship with the natural world
2:30 PM – Yoga led by Kelsie Rockefeller
4 – 6 PM - Free time: hiking, napping, hammocking, reading, wandering, chatting, playing, etc