Mindful Living, Mindfulness, Nature
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Exhaling Deeply

By Kelly Lindsey

It’s a beautiful sunny day in late July and I have just arrived at Drala Mountain Center for Family Camp, an annual retreat for families that I have been attending with my children for the past 20 years. Drala Mountain Center has been my spiritual home since I first set foot on this sacred land more than two decades ago. Each time I return and I glimpse the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in the distance, my body softens. My heart opens. My breath deepens. I notice that as I exhale, a gentle sigh escapes my lips. It feels like I have been holding my breath for awhile. Living though a pandemic and bearing witness to the increasing amount of confusion and conflict in the world has at times felt like too much to bear. This is a place where I find refuge.

I take a walk and begin to reacquaint myself with this place again. As I wander, I recall sacred moments of connection that I have felt throughout my many summers here —connection with myself and others, and with the land itself. I discover my favorite sitting spot among a grove of Aspen trees and I notice how many young trees have emerged from the burned earth following the Cameron Peak wildfire a couple of summers ago. This gives me hope. The golden mantled ground squirrels come to say hello and deer rest in the shade of the kyudo (archery) structure, reminding me that this is a safe space where we can all be and breathe together. This brings a deep sense of ease. Each time I come to DMC, I find new favorite spots, discover new connections, and make new friends. Knowing this, I feel hopeful.

The days pass more slowly here and there is time to rest, to enjoy, to savor. I settle into a different, slower rhythm, my mind settles and life feels possible again. I remember what one of my meditation teachers, Flint Sparks often says: “Meditation doesn’t make life perfect, but it makes life possible.” After a week here, life feels possible again. I feel inspired and ready to return to the world with an open heart. Throughout the years, one of my life’s greatest joys has been the opportunity to share this special place with others. If you’re reading this, I’d love for you to join me, Brooke Binstock and Marissa Knox, for our fourth annual Quiet Mind, Open Heart Retreat September 18-23. Together, we will create a safe space where we can meditate, move, breathe, and just be together. It is our hope that you will reconnect with yourself and leave feeling hopeful, inspired, at ease, and ready to return to your world with an open heart.

quiet mind, open heart retreat at drala mountain center september 18 - 23, 2002

About the Author

Kelly Lindsey is a mother, meditation teacher, and somatic psychotherapist.Kelly’s meditative journey began more than twenty years ago and has included many different styles of practice and paths of study. Having received formal instruction in different lineages of Tibetan Buddhism and Classical Indian Yoga, Kelly has found a wonderful integration of deep practice and study realized in the context of everyday life. All of the spiritual teachings she has received have culminated in one primary lesson: how to live in the world with an open heart.

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