On the evening of September 10th, 2001, two birds hit the sliding glass doors of a studio where I was attending an afternoon class on retreat in Southern Utah. My friend Sianna and I silently left the room to go outside.
One bird was down, the other, its mate, was circling nervously. We gave the bird our love and reiki, to no avail.
Later that evening we performed a burial ceremony in the woods for the bird who passed. We wept unexplainably.
The next morning I woke up to a phone call in my yurt - the Twin Towers had been struck by two planes.
After the shock, the tears, the group collective prayers and meditations, the reality of our new world began to sink in via emails and phone calls of concern.
One such call was from Jane Fryer, founder of Inward Bound, a retreat and travel company that was hosting our retreat at Locanda Del Gallo, in only three weeks. "The travel industry is toast, my business is doomed, do we go to Italy?"
Half of the 28 participants had already asked for their money back.
My response? We go! I was determined not to let misaligned terrorists stop us from enjoying life, nor squelch our freedom.
I got on the plane to Rome ready to take down any bad guy. I even got my fellow passengers to agree to help if we saw anyone sketchy. The plane was empty - I had four whole seats to myself.
A courageous group of 14 yogis arrived at Locanda Del Gallo the next day, a little depressed, a bit nervous, but ready to have a transformation.
Every class was filled with a depth and paradox of feelings: Grief and despair mixed with an undying sense of hope and unity. The pain of loss blended with a sense of humor. Together we learned to hold these opposing emotions in the space of Locanda's piercing silence. Together we showed up with love. Our hearts lead the way.
We chanted, we prayed for the world, we shopped at the Prada outlet, we took silly yoga pictures with our new accessories for comic relief, we ate a lot of pasta, we cried, we loved and we danced.
That's me and Jane ten years ago, hamming it up for some much needed comic relief, decked out in Prada and Miu Miu.
On the final evening we gathered in colorful clothes at the tip of Locanda's precipice and created a mandala made of objects we found in nature, infusing each with our love and prayers for peace and harmony on the planet.
It was clear, that yoga travel would not end. This was just the beginning.
And sure enough, this was the first of 9 more closing mandala ceremonies that have since occurred on that very precipice.
Inward Bound went on to thrive and is still alive and well today. We are so grateful to Jane Fryer for gracing our lives with this magical slice of heaven on Earth, a place where dreams are born, hearts are mended, peace is found and PASTA reigns true!
We are thrilled to be going back, for our 10th year, this October 1-8th! This time joined by Douglas Brooks for a juicy topic all about love, baby. Check him out flashing the 12 Kali Mudras in this video about this year's retreat:
And as always, please leave a comment below. :)