Reflections: Temenos November 2012


Image credit: http://www.forestwander.com

Welcome to Fall! Nature is transforming. Maybe you are, too. In some places, it already feels like Winter is upon us.

This week, I am looking forward to facilitating a new retreat of women and stories. I myself have transformed through this Temenos retreat process. I continue to reevaluate the steps as my life progresses. Below is a glimpse into my very first Temenos experience, originally posted December 15, 2012 on a previous blog called A New Mythology For Women. This was published exactly one month after my retreat experience. A New Mythology For Women has since evolved into other projects yet was a very valuable step to get where I am today.


I was so excited to see Kayser Ridge. Siraj had talked so much about the beauty, about the environment, about how perfect it was for Temenos.

I arrived at Kayser Ridge well after dark. I’d been to West Virginia before. My mother lived there for awhile with her second husband, who was from West Virginia. So, I KNEW we were surrounded by mountains. But, I couldn’t see ANYthing. I could just feel…

Day One of Temenos

Anticipation. Trepidation.

I awoke early on Friday. I was full of anticipation. I opened my eyes and could finally take in the natural beauty around me. Wow! The trees were in that transition space from Fall to Winter. They were almost bare. Their leaves were covering the ground for as far as the eyes could see. I so LOVE this time of year! The starkness before Winter arrives brings me such calm, such peace. There’s no clutter. The world is clean. I stepped outside and breathed deeply! Ahhhhh…What a way for me to start my Temenos. What an inspiration to me for the day.

Day One was all about reflection on the past, all about identifying the influences in my life that shaped me into the person that I am today. I knew this would be a painful retrospection. There were events in my life, some of which started before I was even born, that had a profound impact on me. I also knew that I would revel in the memories of my life, that I would reflect on the good & the bad, that I would lose myself in these memories, that I would come through this experience with some heartbreak, some celebration, some joy, some sadness. What I didn’t expect were the surprises.

I sat outside, going deep inside myself. I grew up in rural Northern Maine. I felt a strong connection to the natural environment & beauty around me. I could breathe outside. I had space outside. I was at ease in this environment, I was safe in this environment. I was home in this environment.

I started writing notes & drawing pictures in my new journal that Siraj gave me, a gift to everyone coming to Temenos. I let the story of my life unfold in that journal. At times I sobbed, at times I laughed, at times I paused to take in the beauty around me. Most times, I had tears silently streaming down my face. What a tremendously cathartic experience. I was finally ready to draw my influence map.

The vision of my future was starting to take shape based upon the influences of my past.

Day Two brought Clean Slate

Joy. Optimism.

After my catharsis of Day One, Clean Slate was going to be simple. Siraj laid out the format of Clean Slate. Simple. I knew what my Clean Slate looked like. I covered family, friends, work, love, life. I knew who was where on my Clean Slate. Simple. I stepped outside once again to breathe and take in the beauty that was all around me. With my introspection done, I was ready to draw my Clean Slate and articulate the icons. How had I failed the container & how had the container failed me? Building mythological figures from ordinary human beings with human failings. Making excuses for those who have failed me and who continue to fail me. Self-sabotaging my own career, and realizing that I was looking for that crack that I could exploit for my own sabotage even today. Harboring deep resentment towards my soon-to-be ex-husband for letting me give and give and give. Falling victim to distractions that were taking my focus away from my life purpose, a life purpose that was taking shape at a rapid pace. With a couple of gently probing questions from Siraj, I realized that my Clean Slate was incomplete. Articulating what was on my Clean Slate WAS simple. What I was going to do about it was another thing entirely…

The clutter of my past was quickly falling away and I was emotionally exhausted. The stark reality of the present was allowing me to see my vision even more clearly and I was exhilarated.

Day Three – Peace. Harmony.

Today brought it all together. Past. Present. Future.

My vision was clear. I knew my distractions, my fantasies, my life purpose.

And, through Siraj’s expert guidance and extreme care, I said it out loud.

My life purpose is A New Mythology For Women.