“To be fully alive, fully human and completely awake, is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to always be in no-mans-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. “

Pema Chodron

I have driven the mountain loop highway several times due to the fact that my boyfriend and I love spending time in the Methow Valley. We have even done some stellar hikes in that area, and in winter when the highway is closed due to the mountains of snow they get, we would go the other way around to cross country ski. But never did we have the wherewithal to stop at Diablo Dam or visit the North Cascades Institute.

July 28-30th, Douglas and I will host our third year heading up to the North Cascades for the 8 Limbs Summer Retreat.

From the first visit, I have a vivid recollection of turning off the highway onto the road to drive over the lip of the dam and onto the campus namely because it felt as though we were passing through an energetic curtain to another world. The smell of the dense evergreen forest mixed with the fresh smell of the glacial water filling the lake was refreshing, clean, healing. The mountains tall and looming overhead made me feel small, safe, and at ease. I knew right away that this was the right place to fall out of the nest into.

The commitment I see practitioners make to this practice is a deep source of inspiration to me namely because it is just that, inspiring. To watch a person link asana with focused breath is an art form. I see people step to their practice day in and day out and get vulnerable; brave enough to face all the stuff life is throwing at you, brave enough to face the deepest parts of who you are churned up by practice.

By going away, by retreating, we give ourselves the space to fall deeper into our yoga, deeper than we are typically afforded in an hour fifteen minute class. At best, as Pema Chodron puts it, we “die over and over again” and in doing so we live! At worse, you eat really delicious food in beautiful mountains and make a bunch of new friends.

Treat yourself and us, throw yourself out of the nest, retreat.

Posted by: Jeff Wildenstein

Jeff Wildenstein is a yoga teacher and sign language interpreter. He teaches at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill, Tuesday/Thursday 6:30-7:45am All Levels and Thursday 7:15-8:45pm Level II-III Flow. 


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