Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A one-day retreat at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

I would like to invite you to a Spirit First day of retreat…a day of peace and meditation…a day of learning and practicing letting go of whatever keeps you from your true nature. Letting Go, and Living in Harmony with Your Own Self. From the moment you arrive you will be embraced with peace and meditation; the day begins with a Native American flutist playing as you come in and get seated. Morning sessions include Letting Go of Spiritual Clutter by Carol Thornton, and The Shamanic Way of Letting Go by French-Canadian Ayurvedic Doctor Sanjivani Marie-Amma. Mid-day we have a Mindfulness Luncheon (lunch is organic, whole, vegetarian cuisine). During the afternoon we have a keynote address from New Zealand mystic, yogi, and author Jonathan. We close our day with a music and dance program starting with a performance by singer, songwriter, and musician Felicia Rose, and follow with a Sacred Circle Dance led by Sufi Initiate Thomas Maxwell.

This retreat day is October 24, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda. Cost for the entire program is $45. If you or someone you know wants to attend but cannot afford the registration fee, please contact me for an available scholarship. To register, contact me at

Over the years we accumulate ideas, concepts, emotions, and beliefs, and included with them we sometimes take on guilt, fear, clutter, weight, depression, anger, debt, or stress. What would you like to let go of? Would you like to live more in harmony with your own self?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ashley Litecky, new advisory board member

Spirit First is pleased and honored to announce new advisory board member Ashley Litecky, M.S., RYT.

Ashley is a registered yoga teacher (ERYT®200 Interdisciplinary Yoga Studies and Kundalini Yoga) and she holds a Masters of Science in Herbal Medicine program from the Tai Sophia Institute.

She is a clinical herbalist/apothecary owner at Tulsi Holistic Living in Washington, D.C.; an owner at Deep Green Wellness in Silver Spring, Maryland; and a clinical herbalist & yoga instructor at Blue Heron Wellness, also in Silver Spring.

Ashley practices and teaches the importance of breath and presence, movement and nutrition to lead to a life of freedom and joy.

As a wholeness and wellness practitioner and as a business owner, Ashley brings many gifts to Spirit First. We give thanks for so beautiful a gift.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

everything is okay

Last month a beautiful friend of mine lost her job, her position being discontinued within her company. The loss of a job is deeply upsetting and all the more so with a mortgage to meet and a family to feed. She appeared to be pretty calm, yet I knew how distressing this loss was to her. I listened to her, I held her for a moment, and then I quietly and slowly said to her, "Everything is okay."

She seemed surprised, and then responded, "Everyone else is telling me 'everything will be okay...' but you are saying 'everything is okay.' " I couldn't tell if she was making a pragmatic observation or taking comfort in my words, but she was quite taken by the difference between "everything will be okay" and "everything is okay."

I said these words carefully, and lovingly, as I know some are unable to hear such a statement (and even become hurt or angry). Over the years, though, I have discovered that at all times I have a place inside of me that is always okay. No matter the circumstances, this center point is unchanged, is always present tense, and is always okay. It just is. And when we touch this point, everything going on outside us and around us seems to find a way to sort itself out (it's the stressing out that messes us up...).

Less than two weeks after our conversation, this beautiful friend wrote to tell me her company rehired her, had created a new position to keep her on staff (she didn't even know yet what her title would be). She said "I kept telling everyone you had said to me 'everything IS okay...' and now I will remember this all the time. You should write a book entitled Everything IS Okay. Thank you for the support and good energy you sent my way. You don't know how much I needed it and what a difference it made." She had taken my words and had reveled in them, breathing them and eating them and drinking them (I can't call them my words, for she made them her own).

For whatever you are suffering, I sorrow for your sorrow. But experiences are just that...experiences. And know this, that at the center of it all, the real you is okay.

If you want to practice this as a meditation, be sure to bring the words into the feeling part of your being (and not simply say the words). And you, too, will know that everything is okay.

photography by permission
cindy lee jones

Monday, September 07, 2009

enduring meditation

There is nowhere to go.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to become.

It's been several weeks now...months, even...since Jonathan presented our Yoga of the Heart spring weekend retreat, but the words of a meditation from him linger with me.

There is nowhere to go. I say the words slowly, one at a time. There is nothing to do. I breathe, taking each word deeply into my feeling. There is nothing to become.

My life is changed in this little meditation. I had spent most of my life doing one thing in a moment all the while having that same moment filled with all the many other things I thought I needed to do, all the many places I needed to be, and all the things I needed to become. I kept a bloated to-do list (if not on paper, then certainly in my head), and I always carried with me the feelings of all the many things I needed to become (more organized, more knowledgeable, more successful, wealthier, healthier, thinner, something more, something less, something else...).

There is nowhere to go.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to become.
From this meditation I have learned to stop, to be still, to be whole, to know there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nothing to become. I am whole. I am complete. I am now.
And when I hold this, everything else falls into place.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Much time has passed since my last writing. I want to apologize for my absence at the same time that I know no apology is required.

My summer was busy with business, with editing, with travels, with moving to a new home. I am settled, now, and happy to be back on this page. I have missed you.

I hope you are well, peaceful, and happy...

photography by permission

madalina diaconu