The elements conspired to set quite a stage for our winter retreat this year, blanketing everything with a few inches of snow, calling on our courage to make the journey to Whidbey Island.
When Tracy (Hodgeman) and I arrived at Aldermarsh on a Friday afternoon in January, snow hung heavy on the alders and cedars and covered everything in our sight including the frozen over marsh and koi pond, inviting us to take pause and notice the magical and serene grounds we would walk.
We were greeted by our gracious hosts, the lovely Joy Moulton, founder of Aldermarsh, whose creative and loving spirit is felt deeply in every nook and cranny of the grounds, and Dana MacInnis, whose helpful nature and attention to detail made our ease begin upon arrival. Our caterer, Lyn from Whidbey Pies was also such a dear, her loving kindness felt in every beautiful and delicious meal she prepared. I cannot imagine a more amazing place to host a weekend retreat.
As we gathered together for our first yoga practice in the exquisite Marsh house, looking out over the meadows to a frozen world as far as the eye could see, the buzz of excitement was palpable.
We were a diverse group of 23 ages ranging a span of 4 decades with a single guy in the bunch. I can truly say I have never witnessed a more open and authentic bunch of individuals creating a group dynamic of incredible love and support. Everyone was so willing to leap outside of their comfort zone and bring to light their shadow side and dance with it, embrace it and share their inner musings about it with the group.
I feel that in the short time of a weekend we all experienced deep transformation on this journey together. And the grounds seemed to mimic and resonate that with the great thaw coming on Saturday, allowing us to see clearly the path were on and the depth of surrounding beauty. The marsh suddenly revealing itself teeming with plant life, and the koi actively swimming in their pond.
I wonder were they swimming the whole time just beneath the frozen surface like our Sankalpas vibrant with energy buried within our hearts, yearning for us to discover them? Yes, I’d say the thawing was profound.
I am so grateful for the community we create at 8 limbs, to Ashley for her insight in pairing Tracy and I together, smart girl, and all of Ashley’s and Lauren’s hard work organizing this retreat. To my dear Tracy for the embodiment of truth, wild wisdom and spirit of play you exude. And to the mind glowing yogi/yoginis who were so present on this retreat. It is to your divine light I humbly bow. Namaste.
“love it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free”… Mumford and Sons