Lovely People

Last weekend, I went to a Barbara Brennan healing workshop in the Hudson Valley.  My friend, Joy, who I have not seen in 25 years, flew in from Austin, Texas.  She and I became fast friends when we met in California those many years ago, and were partners in an antique shop.  We immediately connected on a deep, almost spiritual level.  She was a part time model in those days and often included my daughter in photo shoots.  Healing is a topic we both shared an interest in,  and so when I heard of this workshop and told her about it, she jumped at the opportunity to attend with me.

We chose to stay at an ashram in Stone Ridge, NY.  Since it was the location of the workshop, we thought it would be easier for us to be right at the scene, so to speak.  Vivekananda Retreat, dedicated as an ashram under the Ramakrishna Order of India on October 11, 1997, is a place of pilgrimage and retreat for those who want the opportunity to engage in intense spiritual practices.  Vivekananda was a disciple of Ramakrishna, who, according to Wikipedia, ” consistently advocated and itself displayed a tolerant, friendly attitude towards minority religious traditions and a sympathetic acquaintance with at least of parts of the scriptures of those faiths.

The retreat center is located on 83 rolling acres of wooded property.  The buildings and gardens are beautiful and invite contemplation.  We were able to relax and regroup after the workshop, which was intense.  Joy and I had time to catch up with each other and also, make several new friends.

The gal who taught our workshop, Carolyn Hansen, is an attorney in Stone Ridge, and a student of Barbara Brennan.  She lived in Taiwan when she enrolled in the Barbara Brennan School, flying back and forth to Miami five times a year for five years to satisfy the residency requirements.  Because of Carolyn’s phenomenal ability to put people at ease, the six students bonded almost immediately. Carolyn is amazing for more than her accomplishments as a healer, teacher and attorney.  She is just a wonderful woman who is able to convey love and respect simply by her touch.

We came from all walks of life.  There was Joy and I, the oldest students.  Jacoline, from Belgium, was next, another nurse with a no nonsence way about her that was so attractive to us, especially because we were dealing with what could have been emotionally charged topics.  Sharon and Barbara, lovely, youthful, successful, and Yeshoshua, the only guy, a throw back to the seventies with long hair and handwoven clothing of his mother’s design, full of great ideas and living my dream life on the land.  Something tells me he will be a success at whatever he does.

Garnette Ardledge, is a writer who is a resident at the retreat center.  She authored two books, Wise Secrets of Aloha, and On Angel’s Eve: Making the Most of Your Final Time Together. She also turned out to be a knitter who is on Ravelry, so we got to knit together, too.

Joy and I both said we could have sat in the presence of Garnette and Carolyn for the rest of our lives and never learn all they have to teach.  They are amazing.

There was so much information in the workshop that I am still dizzy from it all.  It has been a busy week, the first week of the month always is, so next week I will take the time to read through my notes and try to make sense of the experiences I had.  I’ve already reconnected with the others; Joy and I spoke on the phone, Carolyn and I emailed, Garnette and I ‘spoke’ on Facebook, and I started a yahoo group for us on Yahoo and spoke with Barbara already on that venue.  The computer is wonderful for relationships.

I picked up my knitting today while I was at my friend, Beth’s house.  It felt good to be with a loved friend and have yarn in my hands again.  Tomorrow, I drive to Blairstown again for the North Country Spinners spin in and see my friend Mina, and all the great gals from the Easton area.  Then, in the evening I have the knitting group that my friend, Joan started.  Six of us get together at each others homes for dinner and knitting.  (Wine…I can’t have any because I might get stopped. Grrrr.)  Saturday is the South Jersey Guild spin in in Mt. Holly.  Another group of great women.

Next week, I am going to start working on my garden.  This will be a first in a while.  I have to sit on a stool and dig because of arthritis, but I still am looking forward to getting everything ready for planting in May.  My sister and I compare notes about the herbs we are going to grow.  I am having trouble putting down my new crochet books long enough to look through a seed catalog….I have Gwen and Judy to thank for that!

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