By Sonya Julie
A large hawk circles overhead as the fog shrouds the corridor of trees, their soft autumn hues beginning to blush. I travel through the beautiful mist on this cool October day as I head to the Path of Consciousness Conference and Retreat. My dear friend Weam Namou has created this event from a vision she has had, following the urging of purpose unfolding from her soul.
The focus for all of us who attend is to pray, dream, and write the story in our hearts – one that inspires, gives peace, and strengthens the spirit. I had the opportunity to both speak at and attend this beautiful three-day event that focused on writing and spirituality. We experienced ancient healing techniques, used nature for connection, learned about journaling and memoir writing, stretched our bodies into beautiful yoga poses, experienced a powerful gong meditation that offered unique insight, and so much more.
My workshop was the first to occur early on Saturday morning. After dashing through the light rain to the main building, I found my place in a large room with a gorgeous view of the expansive land surrounding the retreat center. A field of vibrant green grass was surrounded by a thick swath of mature trees, just beginning to show their autumn color. I was presenting a session called Creative Vision Board Workshop: Envision Your Success! and being in this soothing space was perfect for the message I planned to deliver.
I talked about how we can choose to change at any time and that creating a vision board is much more than just putting pretty pictures on a poster board and forgetting about it. Creating our vision is a powerful first step in which we can manifest our dreams. I offered tools and techniques to assist in the growth process and shared some of my experiences which included the time I decided to leave corporate life to strike out on my own – which was scary and wonderful all at once.
Thoughtful questions, head nods, the occasional shared laughter, and a sense of connection were felt as I shared my heart with the audience who was so willing to receive. Afterwards I had many rewarding conversations all weekend long with people about working towards their goals and dreams. I met so many beautiful people and was able to witness such tender truth and heartfelt emotion from the core of their magnificent souls as they blessed me with their thoughts and experiences.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Weam speak about memoir writing, especially because I am in the process of writing one myself presently. Creating a collection of stories from the heart is a transformative process that will allow me to shift my energy and experience deep personal growth. I appreciate her emphasis on creating quality material and utilizing professional editing – good advice for all types of writers.
I loved hearing from Robert E. Haskins about handwriting analysis and when he analyzed my handwriting on my name tag, it was amazing as to how accurate it was and how the information flowed from his higher self to me. As he spoke to our group, he emphasized that in getting to know ourselves, we then experience tremendous growth. As we explore our subconscious mind we find buried information that will allow us to transform, heal, and move forward on our path.
I had the pleasure of enjoying Mr. Haskins’ company as we sat together at lunch and offered gratitude for the bountiful food before us – lush salad greens with every imaginable topping, a variety of dressings, soups, and a beautiful meal of turkey and gravy prepared for the all the groups visiting the Colombiere Conference Center in Clarkston, Michigan.
With big smiles and warm hearts, we shared life experiences, ideas, philosophies, and expressed what we appreciated about that moment – the birds perching on the large trees out the window that we chose to sit by and the wonderful people joining us at our table. Truly a kindred soul, I deeply felt that I had met him somewhere in a previous place and time.
After lunch we went on a replenishing walk with Patty Shaw where she facilitated her workshop Wake Up Your Nature. She helped us to release that which no longer served us creatively and to gather inspiration and connection from the earth and our ancestors. It was a powerful experience and some participants shared what they felt. The most memorable for me was from the woman who noticed the bright yellow autumn leaves of a bush on the staircase as we ascended into the light and how it reminded her of her first spiritual awakening and it left goosebumps on my arms.
Next, I traveled through a labyrinth as Lisa Argo facilitated our journey through spirit and writing. The process was very much like the path of life, ever ebbing and flowing, passing through the light and the dark, the fast and the slow, through long and short segments, as we move through all the seasons of life. We encountered twist and turns, unexpected moments, and encounters with other people as we walked our path. I was offered release, illumination, and deep insight about where I am headed on my own path currently and that I am entering a phase in my life where I am going to be sharing, creating, and doing more of what is true to my heart.
In the following workshop, Weam Namou talked about journaling and how we can use this as a writer. I have kept journals for nearly all my life, sometimes writing more during certain periods than others, and this is material that I can draw upon when I am writing my books. We talked about the benefits of journaling which includes physical and mental well-being. We talked about honoring our time, the balance of life, and how journaling can help us to transform our lives in all areas.
Stiff bodies and writer’s hands were then stretched out along with our minds as Sandy Naimou presented Writing for Yoga. Connecting in to the earth on our mats in a cool dark room as Sandy played singing bowls helped us to assimilate that day’s experiences while stretching our bodies gently. For those who were unable to get down to ground level, an alternate chair yoga experience was incorporated so that all were able to benefit.
We reconvened in the Chapel after dinner where Vince Anthony Pitre facilitated his Deep Insight Gong Meditation. First, he described his experience with hearing gongs for the first time in Hawaii and how it has magically transformed his life. As the deep blue-colored glass of the chapel windows grew darker with the sun setting behind the billowing clouds outside, the room darkened and softened as he began to introduce the gongs to us, each vibrating within its own frequency and range. With our eyes closed, we delved into a spiritual journey, our cellular structures vibrating as the gongs offered us transformation. A diverse sharing of experiences enriched the following moments as we listened to the encounters of those around us with open minds and hearts.
There were so many special moments – too many to share here. What was most important to me was connecting with people. It was beautiful to see how every workshop and presentation was interconnected and very valuable to my writing and spiritual path. Other activities over the weekend included a Recapitulation exercise on Friday night and an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium on Sunday. A Fire Ceremony was scheduled for Saturday night but a light rain prevented it from occurring so instead we met indoors. We shared nourishment and our observations from the day and how we could carry these insights forward together to make the world a better place. I know that when I left on Sunday afternoon that I felt like a different person than when I arrived. The powerful and transformative energies of our connection is palpable and I feel empowered and ready to create!
The retreat was designed with this in mind: “The spiritual and writing retreat will allow you to enhance your writing, personal, and business life with the help of various ancient, sacred, and creative teachings, including writing and storytelling.” Every moment embraced this philosophy as I came together with this group of people. Some of us strangers at the start, we all quickly connected with each other to create a cohesive group of souls that found great healing, joy, and support as we spent the weekend together.
I am so excited for our next conference and retreat – I knew in my heart that this event would be extraordinary and meaningful. Because it was created from the heart of all who contributed to its existence, it has the power to gain momentum and to continually touch more and more lives. Just as the flower of life extends outward, overlapping in layers, ever expanding like our great universe, gatherings like this are what will heal our world, allowing us to envision and create that which is benevolent and good and share it with others. I offer my gratitude to all who were a part of this event. Namaste.
This event took place on October 5 – 7, 2018. For more information about the Path of Consciousness visit https://thepathofconsciousness.com/ – I hope to see you there next year!