Belonging to Each Other: Falling in love with Mother Earth Together – An Ecodharma Retreat for People of Color
With Kritee (Kanko), Kaira Jewel Lingo, Imtiaz Rangwala, Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish and Asia Whitlock
August 28 - September 3, 2023
A People of Color Ecodharma Retreat
Boundless in Motion is a 501(c)3 non-profit and a trauma-informed meditation community based in Boulder (Colorado). We are building a spiritually rooted movement towards climate action, racial equity and respect for all life on our planet. We host retreats that are at the interface of inner healing (through meditation and grief/rage sharing circles) and outer strategic actions for climate and social justice. This retreat for people of color “Belonging to Each Other: Falling in Love with Mother Earth Together” will be hosted by Kritee Kanko and Imtiaz Rangwala (the two co-founders of Boundless in Motion sangha who are also Zen Buddhist teachers and climate scientists) in deep collaboration with our dear friend and mindfulness teacher Kaira Jewel.
— Do you self-identify as a person of color and work within the climate and/or racial justice movement? Does your life get affected by structural racism on a regular basis?
— 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 climate 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 silence, meditation, movement/dance, and empathetic emotional connection with others can help release internalized white supremacy and other stresses lodged in our bodies?
If yes, come join us at the stunningly pristine and healing Rocky Mountain Ecodharma retreat center (RMERC) for a retreat designed for empowering self-identifying people of color involved in change-making work. You could be a community organizer, healer, educator, activist, artist, scientist, journalist, lawyer, author or storyteller working for climate and justice. Through silent hikes, silent meditation, movement/dance, guided peer-to-peer dialogue, grief/rage rituals, small affinity group work, and dharma talks by the teachers we will explore how we can deepen our love for each other and mother Earth and embrace activism as a spiritual practice. We will 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
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.
Each day will include silent seated and walking meditation, yoga and relational practices in small groups or dyads and dharma 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 a first draft of our schedule here.
Is this retreat really right for you?
This will be good for you if:
— You’ve become disenchanted with traditional forms of activism but you deeply trust that racial and climate justice are related and that we need inner trauma healing to build our collective power.
— 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 are not looking for completely silent retreat and you are willing to give silence and meditation a try. Silence and meditation is not always comfortable but you know that spiritual practice is not about being comfortable.
— You are comfortable with being tested 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 ready to look at how climate crisis is related to racial injustice and inner trauma healing.
— Your life experience means that your life is not affected by structural racism. We recognize that racism inflicts chronic trauma on people of color which can lead to negative physical and mental health outcomes. We aim to provide trauma informed, safe(r) space for BIPOC to access nourishing silence and get access to inner creativity and courage. Safe(r) space means that this POC retreat is exclusive to people who have lived experiences as people of color.If you are a white passing, we ask that you consider your lived experience and let us know what work you have done to center experiences of BIPOC friends who continue to face ongoing stresses due to racism. We understand that this is an issue that can bring up a lot of questions, discomfort, and debate. We also have a number of offerings that are open to all people. Please check events calendar for details.
— 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’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 unconcomfortable 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 Test required: Vaccination not needed
Please read the complete RMERC covid policy here. The Covid policy may change at anytime as covid protocols shift.
PRE-RETREAT. To ensure everyone’s safety, we ask that you wear an N95 mask during travel, especially while in planes and other public spaces, regardless of federal rules, and that you are really careful for 10 days before your retreat. If you have any COVID symptoms please do not come to RMERC until you are well.
To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, RMERC requires that everyone arriving at the retreat center provide a negative covid test result, preferably from a PCR test, taken less than 96 hours before the retreat, or if PCR is not accessible, two rapid home tests, the first taken the day before the retreat, and the second taken the day of the retreat, with 24-36 hours between the two tests. Those using home tests should take time-stamped photos of both test results. This proof of negative test results must be presented before entering the lodge for your retreat.
Cost, scholarships and dana
The actual cost of putting this six day long retreat together is $900 per person. However, we like to offer registration on a sliding scale to ensure economic diversity.
— $150 (intended for those living paycheck-to-paycheck, especially on hourly wages, or in significant debt. This covers majority of the cost of food. This is also the minimum non refundable deposit required by the center)
— $550 (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)
— $900 (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)
— $1150, $1350 or $1550 (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: 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
Our payment, cancellation and refund policy for this retreat includes:
- Non refundable registration deposit of $150 that secures your spot at the retreat.
- Final payments (retreat cost of your choice less the non refundable deposit) will be due and processed 30 days prior to the retreat. Cancellations received 30-7 days prior will get a refund of half of the final payment. For cancellations inside of 7 days there will be no refunds.
- For people getting “full” scholarships (less the registration deposit) the cancellation policy is slightly different: they will only pay half the registration deposit ($75) when registering, and the second half 30 days before the retreat. If they cancel, the amount of the deposit paid to date is not refunded.
Figuring menus and quantities, shopping, organizing, and cooking are complex and crucial tasks for a retreat. We provide simple, wholesome, natural, predominantly organic, vegan meals. We can accommodate common food allergies such as gluten, soy or dairy, but not preferences. Make sure to include on the application form full details of any special allergy or health needs you have and we will contact you if they require discussion. In alignment with Dharma teachings of deep Nonviolence towards all beings, we do not serve eggs, meat or fish.
Seva, Samu, Service or Yogi Jobs
Some of the work necessary to support the group will be handled by participants during the retreat. You will be able to choose your 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 register you 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
Our POC retreat manager will send another retreat specific packing list and sign up for Yogi jobs after all applications are accepted in mid August. Click here for a general “What to Bring to Ecodharma Center List”.
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
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
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
Asia Whitlock is passionate about building and sustaining people of color (POC) communities, decolonizing our minds, reparations by any means necessary, and growing her own foods. After several years in real estate, Asia co-founded Southwest Van Builders where she converts vans into tiny homes as an alternative housing solution. She currently lives in New Mexico. Asia is a two year alumni of People of Color Ecodharma Retreat and in summer 2022 stepped into the retreat manager role for these retreats which are co-hosted at least once a year by Boundless in Motion sangha and the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. Asia can be reached at pocretreats AT gmail DOT com.
Learn more about Asia Whitlock