The Taos Body, Mind, Spirit Retreat, billed as a time of ‘pampering of body, mind, and spirit’ was indeed all that and more. We started on Friday night with a get to know you game using M&M’s. This was followed by a delicious dinner, an introductory talk by Cindy that included a reading of the children’s book The Contented Little Pussy Cat. Cindy suggested we all take the advice of Abner (the contented little pussy cat) and ‘not worry about what happened yesterday, or what might happen tomorrow’ but to let the world role on without us over the weekend.
The Rev. Pam Tyler, serving in a dual role as priest and Lodge owner/hostess, invited each woman to choose an object from the tablescape to meditate on throughout the weekend. In table groups, the women shared with each other what they chose and why. The evening closed with Compline in the chapel area of the Lodge.
After breakfast, the women gathered in the so called ‘wedding pavilion’ area for Eucharist officiated at by the Rev. Pat Green and music led by Gay Crouch. Pat’s sermon brought the story of Esther to light in a new and fascinating way. Esther was wise enough to learn from the chief of the harem and willing to not be boxed in by society’s description of her as a ‘Jewish orphan girl’. Instead, she left that behind and became queen of Persia (and ultimately saved the Jews). Pat asked us to consider the boxes we allow ourselves to be put in and how we might break out of them.
Pam gave the keynote talk about our bodies as Sacred Space. She noted that as women, gathered together, we are a sacred space. We are also individually each Sacred Space. We are part of God’s creation, which he proclaimed ‘good’. We are a walking Temple of God. Being a Temple involves preparing a space for God through maintenance. This is things like food and exercise, of course, but also involves setting boundaries. We need boundaries against violence, violating, being used, etc. When we hurt ourselves, are hurt, or allow hurt, we are in essence, hurting God.
The mandate from the Gospel reading at the Eucharist: “Love the Lord your God…love your neighbor as yourself” can too often be a lopsided triangle with loving self being left out. It should be an equilateral triangle where we love ourselves because we love and are loved by God and therefore we can love our neighbor.
Pam suggested the book Our Selves, Our Souls, and Bodies as a resource. She ended the talk by sharing a bumper sticker that could have been the theme of the weekend: “Don’t Postpone Joy”.
During the first ‘pampering session’, women had the opportunity to try out Pilates or hear Nutrition Tips for healthy eating. Some took the opportunity to walk the labyrinth or prayer walk or just sit and journal or read. The loose structure of the schedule allowed women to experience what they wanted to as they felt the need. Chair massage and pedicure stations were added to the choices, too.
After lunch, participants heard from Rachel Cox of the Taos Community Against Violence shelter. Rachel opened by saying that ‘trauma is something that happens that you don’t want.’ She shared statistics about domestic violence and rape, noting that 35% of women around the world are victims of rape. Rachel asked us to re-think our response when we hear of someone in an abusive situation. Too often we subconsciously and subtly blame the victim with our words. We say “Why does she stay?” rather than “Why doesn’t he stop hitting her?” Blaming the victim protects us so that we don’t have to see that we are, in reality, just as vulnerable as the victim.
When we realize that we, too, are vulnerable, we can be supportive. Rachel stated that the most important part of breaking the cycle is ending the ‘secrecy code’ that abusers use to keep the victim compliant. When we are willing and able to be vulnerable and supportive, we act like geese in formation. The ‘V’ formation offers lift to those in the back and the geese take turns being in the lead. Those in the back honk out encouragement to those in front. We can do the same thing when we support victims and quit blaming them, even in subtle ways.
Rachel handed out informational brochures. Retreat participants had donated a car-load of toiletries including lotions and shampoos for the CAV.
The rest of the afternoon included 2 more ‘pampering sessions’ with a presentation of DoTerra Oils and of Mary Kay products. Women could do crafts, meditate, walk, take advantage of the massages and/or swim in the pool.
Later in the afternoon, everyone gathered to discuss insights from the weekend, esp. those relating to the object chosen from the tablescape. There was then time to swim and rest before dinner. After dinner, a lively game of FAITH Bingo was played for several door prizes, the ultimate prize being a free stay at the Lodge.
Plan to attend the next DRG Women's Retreat (Nov. 8-9) and be part of the fun. Check out the What's Happening Page for other events in the planning stages!