Fall Retreat

Breathing in, I feel gratitude for the opportunities that I am so richly afforded, and the spiritual community of friends I get to share my practice with.

Breathing out, I feel refreshed and energized.


This past weekend, I had the great fortune of attending our Montana Open Way Sanghas fall retreat on the Flathead Lake, with visiting Dharma teacher Leslie Rawls. Each of our two annual retreats start on a Thursday evening and end on a Sunday afternoon. I feel so very grateful to have access to these opportunities twice a year, so close to home. Our local retreats are truly a gift.

Thursday, a northern drive which lulled my two travel companions to sleep, revealed a trusted tender sweetness I’d not shared with them before.

Friday, our first full day of the fall retreat revealed cohesion of the part of me that wanted to be somewhere else this weekend, with the part that wanted to be here.

Saturday, the water pitching and heaving under gray skies, revealed how similar the mind is to the lake’s surface and how quickly things can change.

Sunday, a 2-hour car ride with a friend, revealed another lovely layer of understanding and celebration for how other people’s experiences sculpt and enrich my life.


My favorite bits & pieces from the notes I took during Leslie’s Dharma talks:

The way we practice is important – but not everyone picks up on it.

We don’t have to take on the big issues to make a difference in the world, we only need to tend well to the person in front of us.

From an MLK reading she offered: The measure of a man is not revealed during times of comfort and convenience but during times of tumult and trial. (this is my own para-phrase)

The truth is in our own experience, not in what we read or what someone tells us.

If we can’t be here right now, we can’t be anywhere.

The heart heals when it rests; we have to regularly nourish our practice and ourselves.

From a reading she offered (by an author I unfortunately cannot recall the name of): “Thinking we know a better way for others, is a subtle form of violence.”

Rest in your breath like a hammock.

Please enjoy your practice. As Thay teaches: If you’re not enjoying your practice, you’re not doing it right.


Here’s an 11-minute montage video I put together with footage I took during the retreat:


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