Letter from the Director, March 2021

Equinox Energy

Just a couple of hours before I started writing this letter, something interesting happened to me. I was texting with a friend, telling her I felt a little down and draggy. My friend, a long-time yogi and meditation leader, had recently started studying Reiki. She asked me to sit still, clear my mind and close my eyes while she sent Reiki energy to me. I did what she asked. After a few minutes, I felt warmth around my eyes, a brightening, a feeling of renewal. My friend texted me again, saying, “I have no idea if you felt that, but I sent it as a warmth to your eyes and ears, as a hug around your shoulders, and love to your heart.”

“Wait a minute,” I texted back. “I felt the warmth in my eyes before you said anything about the specifics of what you did. That’s very cool!”

I don’t know much about Reiki, nor do I know how far such energy can travel – but I do know I felt something. Perhaps it was the thought that my friend, whom I love dearly, was thinking of me at that moment and sending me positivity and love. Whatever the cause, I felt an energy that I lacked previously. I checked a few things off my to-do list and hey, I wrote this letter, too!

Energy. Renewal. Warmth. These things are synonymous with spring. Just when you think winter will never end, March materializes in green shoots and pale blooms. Suddenly, you believe you can hold on. Spring is coming, and with it, everything glorious and bright.

The vernal equinox, March 20th on this year’s calendar, marks the turning point when daylight begins to take over the darkness, arching towards the summer solstice in June. With more light and warmth, creative energy begins to stir. Imagination and wonder begin to bubble inside us until we have to move, maybe even dance, to release some of the excitement. Spring is a time to build, a time to move outside our winter cave, and lean into the sun.

It’s the same with our writing. If you’ve been holding back, perhaps feeling down and draggy with a lack of creativity, take heart. The days are getting longer and soon will match, then exceed the dark night. Spring is coming! Renewed energy is coming! It may be time to move outside your regular routine and lean into a new light. (We’ve given you some ideas below!) If you need energy to take that first step, know that RWC is here for you, sending you warmth and love – no matter how far away you may be. Can you feel it? I hope so! It just might be that positive energy, sent in kindness and friendship, travels farther than we think!

Blessings,
Sandy

Letter from the Director, February 2021

A Love Letter to the Colony for the Month of Love

I’m lucky. I don’t deny it. Though directing this place is, at times, a little like juggling crystal goblets filled with water, I’m fully aware of my bounty. This month, the month we show appreciation for the blessings of love, allow me to share a director’s view of some of the most beloved and lovely things about Rockvale. This is what I love:

  1. I love the skies – from the flaming orange and pink sunrises to deep starlit midnights to cerulean blue afternoons, the sky at the colony is always a delight. Look up!
  2. I love the quiet – Our rural corner of Williamson County is tucked away from the rush and noise of the city. It’s a different world out here – one that doesn’t demand anything but offers tranquility to all who visit.
  3. I love writers – I love the conversations I get to have with writers. I’m in awe of their passion for their work, for the intensity of their work ethic, for the kindness and gratitude they show me.
  4. I love writing – I feel affection and pride for the work of the writers who stay at the colony. When a writer has a grand success, a launch of a new book or project, I want to shout with joy! (and I often do!)
  5. I love nature – Plants, mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles. All are alive and wondrous to view and investigate. Even when I have to trap and relocate a groundhog or coax a brown thrasher out of the garage, I’m grateful to be surrounded by the beauty and variety of life.
  6. I love the trails – Each one is a different journey, a unique gift. They were made purposefully with attention to the contours of the land. They were made with love, for love, because of love.

Have you thought about what you love lately? Maybe it’s time to take a brief moment and acknowledge the pieces of your life that deserve your devotion. Love is one of those things that changes you, that moves you along the line towards your best self. I know it’s an overused word with a variety of meanings, but real love, deep and meaningful appreciation and devotion, is not common or cliche. It’s always on the cutting edge.

Try something with me. For no other reason than to celebrate the month of February, make a list of 6 things/people you really love, that delight you so much you smile immediately when you think of them. (I hope writing is on your list!) For the rest of the month, allow yourself the indulgence of loving these things boldly, loudly, joyfully. What if we all made love a habit. What a world we’d have then!

Blessings and love,
Sandy

Letter from the Director, January 2021

Tending the New Year

I started the new year with high hopes and high energy. The “Tending the New Year” Goals Retreat was a rousing success with thoughtful, deep-feeling retreaters and a message of acknowledgment for the past balanced with the urge to say “yes” to our future. I had a birthday, well-celebrated, and I felt happy – actually happy – for the first time in a while. And then the world stepped in to remind me that the atmosphere we live in is still precarious.

This past weekend, a friend died. I felt the land calling and I ran to it. In sorrow, I stepped into the colors of winter – dry brown leaves, sage green moss, tan, cream, ecru, sepia, ochre, and then white at the base of tall weedy stems. It was not snow, not mushrooms, but frost flowers – Frost Flowers! – created when water freezes inside the stems of certain plants and oozes out between the cracks. It is ice. It is frost so delicate it can’t be touched without breaking. I harvested them with my eyes. They were everywhere, blooming a scattered bouquet of beauty, and dare I say it, hope. Dare I wish it – peace.

I’m building a new trail within the forested acreage of the colony. As I determine the best path, marking my thoughts with orange ribbon, I offer prayers to the stones, the trees, the sky visible between sturdy branches. I call these journeys prayer hikes. I am alone, learning the rhythms of the earth. I’ve come face to face with a coyote, interrupted 2 big rabbits nibbling under a fallen log, watched a squirrel hunch in the nook of an oak, accidentally uncovered a hibernating skink, examined (but didn’t touch!) the thick white skin of mushrooms, deciphered the foreign languages of dozens of birds, identified the warning snort of deer, followed a swath of fern moss, and sang with the chorus of a slow creek. This is when I feel at peace. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to leave.

If this year started for you as it did for me – with excitement and energy – and then swung a giant pendulum back towards despair, might I offer you peace? We have a Peace Retreat coming up the first weekend in February. It’s a planned time of quiet and renewal, solitude and serenity. You don’t have to “do” anything. You just have to “be.” (Read more about it below.) If your heart is yearning for comfort, you can cuddle up in our warm farmhouse. If the land is calling and you don’t mind a little cold, maybe you’ll find frost flowers in the woods. Maybe you’ll listen to the earth’s deep silence and hear everything you need to know. At any rate, you’re invited to share the peace of RWC as a retreater or a resident. All are welcome.

Blessings,
Sandy