hope

beautiful fragile flower

tend it well

Upcoming CIL Graduate Retreat – June 2022

Thursday, June 23rd – Sunday, June 26th 2022 in South Salem, NY 

This learning retreat is open to all CIL graduates, and will explore themes crucial to both our personal evolution and our participation in the collective. Personal evolution and that of the collective call out as never before to be interwoven. It becomes more and more clear that unless we gain empathy for one another, for the inter-being of all that lives and breaths, for human beings who are different than we are, for all species, we shall near a brink of no return. Tich Nhat Hanh asks for us to hear the crying of the earth. Now our climate is changing too fast for many species to survive and threatening our human population with mass migration and homelessness. Now innocent people of Ukraine are being ‘othered’, called ‘Nazis’ and suffering as Europe has not since World War II. How is this possible? In these times, each one of us is called to find our way to be an instrument in this evolutionary crisis to tip our world into one of inter-being.

How are we each called to live in and find our way to praise this mutilated world?  How do we regain empathy for ourselves, each other and our battered world? Our planet is at a crossroad, what Joanna Macy calls “The Great Unravelling”. How do we honor our deep hope for what she also calls “The Great Turning”?

During these times, perhaps more than ever, we need community. Many ancient trees live in community. We now know that tree roots breathe with one another, sharing water and nutrients. We want to do the same with and for one another in our CIL community. It is our passionate hope that the CIL community can become one of the many communal pods in which to practice becoming peace, breathing with one another, helping one another with compassion to regulate our own tendencies to ‘other’ when threatened. Integrating our tools from psychological theory, neuroscience and spirituality, we hope to root into practice our devotion to raising up the broken pieces of our world. 

May the ancient trees be our teachers. We too need one another, need to take care of one another in a circle where we bring our hopes and dreams and nightmares. Where we sit together to hear and understand one another with compassion. To be with one another with presence, with honesty, deeply hearing one another, hearing the sacred longings waiting to be alive and to thrive. To find our next steps, both inner and outer.

We are visualizing that we will all feel safe enough to gather in person in New York for our June 2022 learning circle. Trusting that to happen we will meet for three hours the evening of Thursday, June 23rd, then from 10:00am -5:30pm on Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th and 10:00am -1:00pm on Sunday, June 26th, in Alexis’s home in South Salem. The cost will be $750 including the three lunches.

We hope you feel called to participate in one or both of these gatherings. Any questions or concerns, please email either one of us: alexisajohnsonphd@gmail.comjschmruach@aol.com We are using the following as resources if you want to dive into the material ahead of our times together: 

Robin Kimmerer: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Thich Nhat Hanh: Being Peace & Interbeing

Daniel Siegel: Mindsight, A New Science of Personal Transformation

Joanna Macy:  A Wild Love of the World 

Administrative Details: To reserve your place, please send us a check made out to “The Center for Intentional Living”. The total cost for the June 2022 session is $750. The deposit to reserve your spot is $200. Payments should be mailed to:
Kelly Skarupa, 25 North Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591 (Please make sure the check is made out to The Center for Intentional Living.

Never give up   No matter what is going on, never give up. Develop the heart. Be compassionate. Not just to your friends, but to everyone.  Be compassionate.  Work for peace.  In your heart and in the world.  Work for peace.  And I say again Never give up   No matter what is going on around you. Never give up. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

After forty years of offering our three year programs in the United States and Europe, the Center for Intentional Living has graduated its last three-year training program.  We continue to offer annual CIL graduate retreats and study groups.  We have given much thought to how we wish for this website to continue its journey in a way to best carry forth the spirit of CIL. 

Our teachings have centered primarily on child development and the traumas of childhood that reverberate emotionally, somatically and spiritually into adulthood and into future generations. At this time, we are committed to carrying forward our teachings into the area of social justice.

We who have knowledge of trauma are aware of how witnessing news of what is happening at the southern border and other places of disaster can cause us to be overwhelmed and thus prone to shut down, to freeze, and to feel helpless.  It is our hope that this website will offer a sense of community in which to find a center of inner resilience from which to take action. We need one another in community in which to speak on behalf of the children and families and the earth and wildlife, none of whom have their voices and desperately need ours.  We hope you will join us so that we support one another in compassionate involvement in doing our part to lift up and mend what is broken. 

Read a position paper by Alexis Johnson, Ph.D. and Judith S. Schmidt, Ph.D. urging the Biden administration to redress the mental health impact of the southern border crisis on children and families. 

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention.

L.R. Knost

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Images from the southern border