People of Color August Retreat
With Kritee (Kanko), Kaira Jewel Lingo, Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish and Imtiaz Rangwala
August 30 - September 4, 2022
People of Color Ecodharma Retreat
- Do you self-identify as a person of color and are a changemaker?
- Do you feel burnt out and/or overwhelmed and need to recharge in an emotionally safe space where we gently witness and honor each other’s experience?
- Can we build a movement that is rooted in our deepest spiritual values and emotional truths? Can we engage in advocacy such that it is an integral part of our spiritual and emotional growth?
- Do you feel yoga, meditation, and trusting, empathetic emotional connection with others can help release internalized white supremacy and other stresses lodged in our bodies?
If yes, come join us for a retreat designed to empower self-identifying people of color involved in change-making work. You could be a community organizer, healer or healing arts practitioner, educator, activist, artist, mom, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working for peace and justice. Through silent hikes, meditation, yoga, guided peer-to-peer dialogue in a strong container of emotional safety and trust, gratitude/grief/rage rituals and other group-work, and talks by the teachers we will explore how we can deepen activism as a spiritual path, learn to honor and transform our emotions through empathy and connection, face the root cause of our suffering, act with deep compassion & courage in these difficult times.
Testimonials from past retreat participants
- The grief circle (Truth Mandala) felt like a vital component of the entire retreat to me. If I were to choose only one thing to keep, it would be the grief circle because it felt so revolutionary and I feel I was able to witness cycles and generations of trauma breaking right in front of me……All of the music, dance, and movement practices were wonderful in that they allowed me to freely play in a way that I haven’t in many years… (Daniela Silva, Texas, 2021 POC retreat)
- Most transformational aspect of the retreat was grief circle, the increased feelings of connection, camaraderie and compassion that followed. Ramon’s movement and dance session, being outdoors, restfulness, bathing in the river and FOOD! (Erica Lee, Colorado, 2021 POC retreat)
- Most transformational aspect of this retreat would have to be the grief circle. Hearing so many other people’s stories created so much space for me to be vulnerable, understanding and allowed me to practice empathy and compassion. After the grief circle was over I felt completely raw and brand new. I was no longer burdened by my story because I was now carrying the group’s story. To honor the group, it was my duty to hear it, feel it and then ultimately wash it away. That way we could be born again and start anew. I think a tangible transformation occurred through the aspect of sharing, crying, feeling and listening. (A.W., North Carolina, 2021 POC retreat)
- Most transformational aspects of the retreat were: Building a solid container of trust and safety, the elaborate and heartfelt rituals and ceremonies (especially the grief ceremony), the kind and thoughtful attention to somatic and metta (loving kindness) practices, amazing food and PLAY TIME (Dr.Karthik Kashinath, California, 2021 POC retreat)
Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center is an ideal location for this nature meditation retreat. The center is extraordinarily beautiful, pristine and peaceful, with a wide variety of trails, wildflower-covered alpine meadows, creeks, and rocky crags. The mountains, forests and river naturally work to settle the mind, while living and practicing together creates personal connections and mutual support.
Is this retreat for you?
This might be for you if:
- You’ve become disenchanted with traditional forms of activism.
- You’ve begun to encounter the direct relationship between your individual wellness and efficacy of your work.
- You’re ready to explore what is possible through deep relating and vulnerability.
- You want to face and transform your grief, fear and anger but not be controlled by them.
- You will be okay with silent meals and some silent meditation time but are not looking for completely silent retreat.
- You are comfortable with being vaccinated and following COVID protocols. You are also okay with silence and being away from internet and phone connection.
This might not be for you if:
- You are not up for the discomfort and vulnerability of sharing some of your truth with others. Our goal is emotional safety and trust, but also emotional connection, and that takes a little bit of courage and willingness to be open and honest about your feelings.
- You tend to get extremely overwhelmed, spaced out, or destabilized in groups, or are currently struggling with intense traumatic stress. Most of us experience these to some degree, and it’s important to know that that’s ok, and a very understandable response to the world we’re living in. But if it’s so intense that you would feel completely “out of control” or lose the ability to keep coming back to the present moment, then this may not be a space that meets your needs.
- You’re looking for a completely silent retreat or a primarily “solo” experience.
- You have a heart-lung condition such that you will have difficulty at high altitude. The retreat center is at ~8500 feet.
- You need wheelchair access.
- You will be uncomfortable by being out of contact with the world. (The staff will have the ability to make and receive emergency calls or emails on your behalf, but phone and internet are not available for personal use).
COVID Testing requirements-No Vaccination needed-updated 4/20/22
Please read the complete RMERC covid policy here. To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, RMERC requires results of a negative covid test to be presented upon arrival at RMERC. See complete details here: https://rmerc.org/covid-policies/. The Covid policy may change at anytime as covid protocols shift.
Each day will include silent seated and walking meditation, yoga and relational practices in small groups or dyads and talks by the teachers. These sessions will discuss how our bodies store and remember stresses, how can we express and release these stresses through movement, meditation, rituals, group-work. We will also use some of The Work That Reconnects spiral practices that tap into our gratitude, our spiritual ground of being, express grief/anger/despair/fear and inspire actions. Please see our schedule for a similar but shorter retreat here.
Cost, scholarships and dana
The actual cost of putting this retreat together is $775 per person. However, we like to offer registration on a sliding scale to ensure economic diversity.
- $120 (intended for those living paycheck-to-paycheck, especially on hourly wages, or in significant debt. This covers the cost of food during the retreat. This is also the minimum non refundable deposit required by the center)
- $475 (intended for those with access to some income but struggling to build savings and move away from debt. This covers only food and a part of retreat center rental costs. It does not cover all expense categories)
- $775 (intended for those that are able to pay for “wants” and generally able to secure necessities for your household. This covers food, full rental cost, and other costs including a modest honorarium for guest teachers)
- $975, $1175 or $1375 (If you are able to pay more than the cost of the retreat, please do: it will help us offer the retreat to those not able to afford the full cost of this retreat. We really want to make this retreat available for everyone, so please help if you can. All amounts over $775 are tax deductible).
Teacher Donations (Dana)
The teachers are offering their time and energy at no set fee, so as to make the teachings available to all regardless of finances. In considering your dana (generosity) for teachers that will be invited at the end, please give what feels generous to you, given your finances.
Deposit and cancellation
A non-refundable deposit of $120 is due at the time of registration. Full payment will be due 45 days before the retreat start date, your credit card will automatically be charged at that time.
If you choose to cancel your retreat at any time, the $120 registration fee will not be refunded. If you cancel within 45 days of the retreat no refund will be given, but in an emergency we may grant exceptions on a case by case basis.
Food and Meals
Three simple vegan/vegetarian meals a day will be provided from dinner the first day through lunch of the last, including solo food which does not require cooking or a stove. If you want a snack between meals, or supplemental protein, you can bring a small quantity of packaged unrefrigerated food. Tea and coffee along with milk and sweeteners are available before and during breakfast. Please do not bring anything that needs refrigeration (medicine excepted). We believe that excessive snacks are unnecessary: for a boost, a little trail mix or an energy bar is sufficient for most people.
Figuring menus and quantities, shopping, organizing, and cooking are complex and crucial tasks for a retreat. We provide simple, wholesome, natural, predominantly organic, vegetarian meals. We can accommodate common food allergies such as gluten, soy or dairy, but not preferences. Make sure to include on the registration form full details of any special allergy or health needs you have beyond basic vegetarian, and we will contact you if they require discussion. You do not need to specify vegetarian or shellfish allergy, as we do not serve meat or fish.
Some of the work necessary to support the group will be handled by participants during the retreat. You will be able to choose your yogi job, and will keep it throughout the retreat. Most participants find serving others in this way quite enjoyable, and a great opportunity for practice in action.
Please use link to find the form to apply. Once you are accepted we will send you a code to register with RMERC.
We can have a maximum of 26 attendees. All applicants must self-identify as person of color (POC). Within POC, we are aiming for a diversity of age, geographical, racial and organizational backgrounds. Once your application is accepted, you will receive ways to register and pay for the retreat.
What to Bring
Kritee (dharma name Kanko) is a Zen teacher, scientist, activist, dancer, and permaculture designer. She directs and teaches Boundless in Motion Sangha in Boulder in the Rinzai-Obaku Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain and is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Boulder Eco-Dharma Sangha. She is also a co-founding teacher of Earthlovego, a community of meditation practitioners, teachers/professors & environmental advocates from different backgrounds seek ways to deepen synergy between their spiritual practices and their activism through workshops at Lama Foundation in New Mexico. Kritee trained as an environmental microbiologist and biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities, and has done over ten years of research on mercury pollution. She currently works as a senior scientist in the Global Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund and is helping implement environment and climate-friendly methods of farming at large scales in Asia with a. three-fold goal of poverty alleviation, food security and climate mitigation and adaptation among small scale farms. She places deep importance on the need of diversity, and the alignment of climate advocacy with social justice movements.
Learn more about Kritee (Kanko)
Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher who has a lifelong interest in blending spirituality and meditation with social justice. Having grown up in an ecumenical Christian community where families practiced a new kind of monasticism and worked with the poor, at the age of twenty-five she entered a Buddhist monastery in the Plum Village tradition and spent fifteen years living as a nun under the guidance of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She received Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh and became a Zen teacher in 2007, and is also a teacher in the Vipassana Insight lineage through Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Today she sees her work as a continuation of the Engaged Buddhism developed by Thich Nhat Hanh as well as the work of her parents, inspired by their stories and her dad’s work with Martin Luther King Jr. on desegregating the South. In addition to writing We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption, she is also the editor of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. Now based in New York, she teaches and leads retreats internationally, provides spiritual mentoring, and interweaves art, play, nature, racial and…
Learn more about Kaira Jewel Lingo
Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish has developed a pedagogy that synthesizes ritual and ceremony, embodied imagination, social justice, and environment for over a decade. As an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa University he teaches foundations in contemplative learning and theory, diversity and social identity and sustainability. He also focuses on the equity dimensions of the environment through courses in food and environmental justice. He serves as a freelance educator, lecturer and consultant on the links between social justice, sustainability and mindfulness for universities, businesses, outdoor organizations, non-profits and government. Ramon is a certified practitioner of SomaSource and longtime leader/facilitator in the Surfing The Creative®International Youth Leadership Camps, having helped usher hundreds of young people through contemporary threshold experiences. As a previous board member of Youth Passageways and a current board chair for Frontline Farming, Ramon is committed to the revival of rites of passage, community regeneration and imaginal renaissance. He will lead a weekend session at this retreat.
Learn more about Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish
Imtiaz Rangwala has been practicing meditation for ~20 years and is a lay meditation teacher in the lineage of Cold Mountain Zen. He is also one of the founding members of Boulder Ecodharma Sangha. Professionally, he is a Climate Scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he provides climate science support to people managing our land, water and wildlife. He loves to nurture community through his love for cooking, gardening and sharing of songs and stories. He also greatly loves the outdoors and considers nature to be a very important teacher. Imtiaz was raised in the Islamic tradition of progressive Dawoodi Bohras and remained influenced by Sufism. He will primarily serve as the chef and kitchen logistics manager for this retreat.
Learn more about Imtiaz Rangwala