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Loving, Living, Dying: Journey of the Heart


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Our November retreat at Breitenbush will happen as scheduled. To register, please call Breitenbush at 503-854-3320. Scroll down for more registration info.

The touch-and-go reality that this summer's fires have made so clear also gives the work we will do here an added dimension of truth and depth.

The inevitable reality of living is that all the beauty, passion, and joy of our journeys is balanced by grief, loss, and letting go. Waking up in this world, in this time, can leave us awed by wonder at the shimmering grace of life. And yet, the hurricanes of upheaval and the fires of trauma, tragedy, and death can still shake us to our core. That luminous core will center our work in our time together. 

If you are grieving a recent or long-ago loss or living with a terminal condition, please come. If you know those situations may lie ahead, please come. If you are amazed by this human experience and treasure the surprises each day holds, please come. If the pain of our world, the loss of dreams, and our poignant position on this tiny blue-pearl planet burden your heart, please come. Whoever you are, your joy and your sorrow are welcome here.

SCHEDULE: We will meet in three 90-minute sessions each day, shortly after each meal period. The schedule will allow ample personal time for soaking, hiking, and renewal in between. Optional early morning meditation and chanting before breakfast will be open to early risers. We will meet in the Forest Shelter starting on Sunday after dinner, ending after lunch on Wednesday. 

Sessions will incorporate simple breath and metta meditations, interactive practices, and dharma reflection. Laughter and tears, silence and conversation, humor and tenderness will soften the ground of our hearts. Gathering as autumn deepens, we will be held by the ancient forest and soothed by the river's song.  Information about our presenter, Betsy Toll, is below.

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REGISTRATION: Registration is through Breitenbush at 503-854-3320. Breitenbush's lodging fees and facility fee are payable upon registration. The presenter offers this retreat for danadonations are welcome but not required.  Space will be limited, so early registration is suggested. Due to our theme and our practices, in a relatively small group, we ask those who register to come with the intention of attending all sessions (skipping the early meditation before breakfast is fine). 

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Betsy Toll is the founding director of Living Earth in Portland, where she offers workshops, dharma circles, and coordinates service programs. She has volunteered as a hospital chaplain since 2010, providing support to dying individuals and their families. Betsy’s long association with Ram Dass and Joanna Macy has shaped her work on environmental and social justice issues as well as caregiving; other influences include Roshi Joan Halifax and Frank Ostaseski, whose programs on suffering and dying are a constant support. She is grateful for the wise and generous spirits of these and other teachers who illuminate the dharma trail.

Earlier Event: November 10
Brown Bags: Friday November 10