hope

beautiful fragile flower

tend it well

Save the Dates! 22-23 Winter Virtual Retreats with Judith and Alexis

The path of becoming often opens with the experience of being thrown. Thrown from our known familiar identity and the landmarks of our lives. This is a particularly powerful reality in our time of COVID. When thrown we don’t know when we will return to solid ground, a known map of our world. When thrown, we enter into what we call liminal space, old ground no longer there to stand upon, new ground not yet visible. 

It is our belief that those of us who can gather in small groups to unfold and turn our True Being toward Life are doing so not only for our own fulfillment but for the turning and healing of our world. In our circles, we shall listen to the call of one another’s longings and also to the cry of the earth. In this spirit, we are offering the two circles described below to all the CIL community and to CIL friends.

Journeying the Transformational Spaces of Dreamtime  

A Gathering with Judith 

Blessing for the Traveller

May you travel in an awakened way,

Gathered wisely into your inner ground;

That you may not waste the invitations 

Which wait along the way to transform you

John O’Donohue. 

This time of living in liminal space, in the spaces between, is a time of loss, of standing in the unknown, in either anxious fear and dread or shutdown into numbness. The challenge and the opportunity of living at this crossroads is to receive the invitations that wait to transform us. In my own life, as I have been lost between a past no more and a future not yet known, I have received my invitations toward transformation from what I call DreamTime, that which comes to us from the hidden spaces of Creation through images in either waking or sleeping life. Companions, ancestors, guides come when we open to them. They come to point our way through liminal spaces into who we have come here to be, to give to life, to lift the broken pieces of our own being and of our world.  

When we journey into Dream Time, we will receive the spiritual practices we are to carry to guide us along our way as we cross into and root ourselves into the new ground of our being. I will encourage you to keep a journal of writings and art work as a map of that journey.

Our gatherings will be to witness and support one another into Dream Time. In each meeting, i shall do some teaching of the landscape and inscape of journeying. For those of you who wish to do reading, I shall suggest meaningful books.  

Dates: November 4, December 2, 2022 & January 13, February 3, 2023 – 3 hours each meeting. Limited to 8 participants.  

Time: Will be determined once we know times zones of folks joining us.

Tuition: $300

Using Regret for Transformation

A Gathering with Alexis

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

It will not lead you astray.- Rumi

As we journey through life we find we have regrets. Often these complex feelings throw us into liminal space, that space of not knowing. Regret is a feeling that involves our higher thinking processes – What if? If Only? We can regret anything, in any domain of life from lost relationships to moral choices, from financial plans to parental decisions.

Acknowledging regret can be useful when we can learn from it. When we open ourselves to this feeling, it can widen our consciousness and enrich our lives. When we consciously pay attention to this painful emotion and listen to its wisdom, perhaps we don’t repeat that particular mistake, perhaps we make better choices. When we block or ignore this painful feeling, we diminish our capacity to do what we came here to do.

Regret is about our actions or even our thoughts in the past. We cannot change the past, we cannot change what we did or didn’t do. So learning to process regret is learning to accept ourselves, our past actions no matter how hard that may be. Processing regret is cultivating healthy humility and self-compassion: yes, we made that mistake and yes we deserve to still have a good life. The process of accepting that which I cannot change is a lifelong learning.

Our meetings will be a mix of learning, personal sharing and processing and witnessing one another on our Path. For participants who like to read, I will suggest readings.

Dates: December 16, 2022, January 20, February 24 & March 24, 2023. – 3 hours each meeting. Limited to 12 participants.

Time: Will be determined once we know times zones of folks joining us.

Tuition: $300 

To register for these retreats please send the tuition check made out to “Center for Intentional Living” and send to Kelly B Skarupa, 25 N Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. Please note which retreat you are registering for. 

Any questions or concerns please either either of us:

Alexis alexisajohnsonphd@gmail.com   Judith jschmruach@aol.com

Our Next In-Person Retreat is Postponed until June 8, 9, 10, 11, 2023

Please Check Back for Information about Zoom Retreats Over the Coming Season

June 8th – 11th 2023 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 2023 learning circle. 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 

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

What Can I do to help?

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Images from the southern border