from Yogi times magazine

A RETREAT FOR THE SOUL by magdalena winter

Sherri Baptiste’s retreat at Green Gulch Zen Center was a shower of light for our souls. 
The three-day yoga and mediation retreat was a silent one, and that was just what I needed.

I arrived at the center with a broken heart, and a broken spirit. My sweetheart was moving out or our home, and I was not taking it well. I had replaced mediation and yoga with coffee and cigarettes, and my mind was reeling with confusion.  It is said that sometimes we need darkness in order to grow, but I was way down deep in it, and desperately needed some light.  Then the Universe and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, offered me the gift of Sherri’s retreat.

As soon as I arrived at the Zen Center, I began to let go.  Set in a valley surrounded by redwoods and eucalyptus trees, and just a short walk from the ocean, the center radiates tranquility and sublet energy.  Sherri’s welcoming smile and mother-like hug crumbled my barriers a little further.  That evening, after a divine Zen dinner prepared with fresh-picked organic vegetables from the garden, we sat in a circle and shared our thoughts, emotions, and the excitement of being there.  This was the last bit of talking we were to do for the rest of the retreat. 

As the retreat progresses, the individual energies united and became more calm and focused.  Although each person was there for his or her personal reasons, we were all in it together.  Sherri’s skilled teaching as she led us through asana practice and yogic philosophies enhanced this feeling as she filled our souls with nurturing and supportive thoughts.  Sherri showered us with knowledge, compassion, and enthusiasm, and we eagerly sipped in every drop. 

The retreat reminded me how to understand, and accept my emotions, how to allow them to flow along their course towards healing, and how to see beauty in all that surrounds me. When it was time to go home, and face the real world, our faces were aglow with renewed energy and confidence.  I cannot say that I had entirely let go of the love and sadness that I felt for the person who had left a whole in my life, but I was learning how to allow for new and beautiful opportunities to flood that empty space.