Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quieting the Mind:
Connecting to Body, Earth, and Spirit
Flint Sparks and Richie Heckler
April 26 - May 2, 2008
"This retreat is a gentle invitation to awaken from the trance of everyday life and to be refreshed by the richness and aliveness that is available by connecting body and spirit with the healing earth of "Mother Molokai."  During our week together we will have opportunities for meditation, mindful movement, and small group experiments drawn from the Hakomi Method. We will teach restorative practices which connect us deeply to our bodies, the spacious mind beyond hope and fear, to the earth, and to the wisdom of our ancestral lineages.  We will work with all of these energy streams in an organic, restful, and playful manner with the intention of revealing our basic goodness."

The above was the original invitation to this week's retreat. Today and tomorrow (Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26), fifteen participants are traveling to Hawaii to find out what actually happens when we gather in response to this description that Richie and I manufactured nearly a year ago.  No one actually knows the deepest intentions, privately held expectation, and hidden fears of any of the other group members. Sunday morning we will begin to give voice to all of this for the first time in the group, sitting together in a circle in the yurt nestled among tropical foliage, cooled by the island breezes, and serenaded by the exuberant birds.

It is quite a pilgrimage to travel to the tiny island of Molokai, only 52 miles from the bustling traffic of Honolulu and crowded beaches of Waikiki. On a clear day you can actually see the majestic outlines of Diamond Head from the east end of Molokai. However, this relatively short distance belies the enormous distance you travel in the 17-minute flight between airports.  When you land on Molokai and step off the plane you enter what the locals call "the most Hawaiian island", and what Riki Cooke (one of our hosts at the Hui) calls "an island in time."  My experience, year after year, is that upon arrival I feel a relief, an opening, a simple joy, and a deepening that is totally visceral.  The shift is physical.  Certainly I have memories and appreciations from past visits. I have ideas about the week and hopes for its "success."  But Mother Molokai greets you as an undeniable and immensely intimate embodied presence.  This is why I return year after year and this is why I continue to invite others to join me here.  You are also invited to join us, in a way, through these daily accounts.  I will do my best to offer you brief, ongoing accounts of our daily practices and experiences as they unfold.  I hope you enjoy the reports and maybe find yourself encouraged to practice along with us as we open to the ever-deepening awareness of the body and the natural quieting of the mind.
Aloha - Flint


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