August 21, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

So often in the accelerating pace of the dominant culture we find ourselves desperate for silence, stillness and solitude. This can be found by creating a sacred space in our home that we return to each day. Committing to the daily practice of meditation, mindful eating and exercise is another way of claiming sacred space in your life.


Sometimes though we really need to put some physical space between what we are carrying with us – the attitudes, emotions and patterns that impede an effortless and constant connection to the source of love, generosity, peace and compassion that is within us all.

The more I explore myself and make the continual decision to live mindfully, with intention, and sacred connection, the more I notice a need for solitude and what better way to experience this than by going on a retreat? This weekend I was especially blessed to participate in a women’s writing and yoga retreat at the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. The workshop was through Ibex Studios which offers “adventures in creative writing” through workshops and more in and out of Portland, OR. I can’t speak highly enough of them!


Though I shared a cabin with 7 other women, I was in a sort of solitude by being away from my quotidian life. This allowed me much needed space to observe, reflect and be. My meditation practice was very much enhanced during the retreat. I continued to chant my mantra and also the yoga sessions throughout the weekend very much helped dissolve an energetic block that I have been struggling with for a while now. During each session I experienced several beautiful moments of peace, communion with nature and breaking through awkwardness and discomfort to find the grace of acceptance and release.

We hiked 3 miles into the lush primeval forest to our cabin and spent our days hiking around Opal Creek, climbing down rocks to a magnificent waterfall, swimming in the bracing cold pools of crystal blue water and writing in a circle beneath ancient trees. We shared our meals together, preparing fresh, organic, vegetarian meals. We then hiked 3 miles out with a conscious intent to hold onto the gifts of the retreat.

The daily commitments of the ME2 Challenge mirror the activities of the retreat and as I take the time to exercise, meditate and eat mindfully now that I am back home, I am nurturing the seeds of presence, strength, love and creativity that delicately took hold during the retreat. These seeds form a young constellation of mindfulness, illuminating once shadowy corners. They also create a path to follow back to that place of peace and presence in the forest.

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4 Comments to “Retreat”

  1. This is beautiful, Matsya! I love that you use the word “primeval” forest to describe that spot. It’s perfect! And I love, “….swimming in the bracing cold pools of crystal blue water and writing in a circle beneath ancient trees.” Unh! Such delicious memories. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Becca- I can’t wait for the next retreat!

  3. Matsya,
    What a treat to find this link to your piece. Opal Creek already feels like a faraway dream, so I so appreciate having evidence that it actually existed. I’m inspired by the fact that you are taking you are honoring the lessons we shared and gleaned in those three, magical days together.
    Take Care,

    • Hi Gillian! I know what you mean – the weekend was truly magical. I hope we will have a chance to practice yoga or write together again soon! And thanks for checking out Touchstones of the Sacred.


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