When I walked into the Red Feather retreat, I was immediately pulled into the artwork on the walls, the crystals on the shelves and the warm, comfortable atmosphere that welcomed everyone who walked through the door. I’d heard about the place from a friend of mine. We were at a party and she talked about how much she enjoyed her experience at the retreat and my interest was immediately piqued.
The owner greeted me as if I were an old friend and, thinking she must have thought I was someone else, I told her that I’d never been there. As I said it, I knew that I’d put up a wall immediately. It’s human nature to be on guard while in new surroundings. For the rest of the night, I felt sad about putting up an emotional barrier in a place that felt so safe.
We sat down in a circle of chairs and waited for everyone’s arrival. Approximately 12 people showed up and grabbed blankets from a shelf to get cozy and warm in their chair. We were going to do deep meditation and channel spirits. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? In fact, my doubt went into overdrive and I wondered what kind of pipe we’d be smoking that night. Instead, the owner let me hold a couple of stones and all of us listened to a drum beat meant to induce theta brain waves as we relaxed into a meditative state.
At first, I was positive that I’d fall over into a deep slumber. It had been a long week and I hadn’t slept well. Instead, I closed my eyes only to see a white light above me. I tilted my head back to see it better, but the light was steady if somewhat muted. While my eyes were still closed, I “saw” a man walk into the room. He was relaxed, but moving with purpose toward the owner’s husband near the windows. The man had long hair and was wearing leather clothing with moccasins on his feet. Although I could see him, I couldn’t have told you what color his hair was or describe his clothes in great detail because it was like looking at a white shadow. I thought to myself, the woman’s husband will channel soon. Moments later, he was speaking in a Native American tongue. It sounded like a language and although I couldn’t tell you what he said, the words sounded strong, confident and soothing.
He spoke for a minute or two and as silence fell in the room, I saw the shadow man walk by the people meditating. His attention was measured and respectful, as if he could hear their thoughts and was contemplating them. When he reached my chair, he stopped and bent over so his face was right in front of mine. I can still feel that focused attention. It should have frightened me, but I was relaxed and knew that he wouldn’t hurt me. He said one thing to me that has echoed in my mind since then.
“You must write.”
After that, I dozed off and on until the exercise was over. We went around the room and talked about our experiences. Each person had something happen during that time together. It felt surreal.
As I look back on it now, I wonder how much of that experience was my own imagination. I am a writer so it makes sense that I’d “create” my own experience. And yet, I feel like there is some truth to what happened that night. There are so many things in this world that we don’t understand. Who are we to say what is real and what is not? Perhaps the lesson is more about being open to experiences and connections with other people. Maybe if we learned to be as kind and open as the people I met at the retreat, we’d have a lot less pain and anger in the world.
In the meantime, I plan to heed the message from the man I believe to have been Red Feather.
I will write.
If interested in learning more about the retreat, you can find them here: http://www.redfeatherretreat.com/
This was written as part of YeahWrite’s weekly non-fiction challenge. To read other entries and vote for your favorites, click the link above.
2 thoughts on “New Experiences”
I read this last night, but I was on my phone and my phone-typing skills are not good, so now I’m back with a real keyboard. I enjoyed your story. It sounds like an amazing experience. You created a soothing environment, and I could easily imagine relaxing there. The Red Feather character is striking. Nice job with this.
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Thank you! I’m afraid that the YeahWrite group thought this was potentially offensive, so they pulled it from their page. Still trying to figure out how to respond.