"Ripple" Stories from Scholarship Recipients - 3
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Accepting the Gifts I Have to Offer
I grew up in an unhealthy abusive family, and I never had any place I could call home. I never had anyone to lean on or to take care of me. When I left, I was a total mess. I had so much pain and confusion over everything that my life had been so far. I couldn't let anyone get close to me, I felt alone and scared.
After a relationship I was in crumbled, I realized I was so far away from myself. I didn't know what I wanted or how I felt. I tried to think of some of the things that I liked to do- I know this sounds crazy, but I was just so lost, I really didn't know what I liked and didn't like anymore. I had been meditating since a pretty young age, and when I could do it without being bothered, I felt the very tip of something that felt like home, like truth, like me. I decided to try to go meditate for a while. I looked up some retreats at Spirit Rock, and realized that I needed all this money that I didn't have. I was working 2 jobs and putting myself through school. I felt so trapped emotionally and financially.
Then after a few weeks I was talking to a friend who said he had gotten a little bit of help from the Spirit Rock scholarship fund to go on a retreat he attended. I looked it up and applied, and I got enough money to be able to afford to go.
My meditation retreat was the greatest gift. I cannot express my overwhelming joy and gratitude for having been given this opportunity. I got to go be in the beautiful hills, and have the silence I needed to realize how much my heart was craving peace from everything. For the first time, I felt like there were adults around who understood and supported me. I began to understand my own ways of functioning, and could have a glimpse of what it might be to be loved, to let yourself be vulnerable and trust. I found my home inside my own heart. Now I know that no matter where I go I have all I need inside of me. For me, the scholarship was my ticket to freedom.
As for the external ripples, I see so strongly now how every person who can have more love and peace inside of them is a step for the world. No one is separate. As each person evolves, so does the human family- we are one. The gift of the dharma has given me the courage to realize that the same parts of me that enabled me to become so hurt and twisted from my family's actions are those that make me the gifted sensitive person that I am. It gave me the strength to walk down the path that I know I am here to walk- to confront and accept the gifts I have that make me different from so many people.
Now, I am in school for Chinese Medicine and working with balancing the chi in the body to heal the wounds of the spirit. I see how my pain in life was a gift to help me understand what it is to heal, given to me so that I can help and guide others to heal their own turmoil and see their own inner peace. Each person who heals is a step closer to the wholeness of the planet, and a step away from killing each other and the earth. Each drop of ink in water affects the whole. Every opportunity we can give someone to realize what is already within is an opportunity we are also giving to the people that will awaken in the care and love that that person can now provide.
Thank you so much, A grateful yogi
Teacher's Passion Grows
Because of a scholarship I received last year, I was able to partake in a month-long retreat at Spirit Rock. Words fail to describe the unfolding that occurred for me in the space of sanctuary that Spirit Rock is. As a result of my month-long retreat, I teach [dharma] from new depths and have engaged in the two-year Community Dharma Leadership Training. Due to the spirit of generosity, my passion as a teacher has been lit and the spirit of giving back continues to permeate my life as a teacher.
-A grateful yogi
Sober in Southern California
Dear friends at Sprit Rock,
Thank you so much for all the love and support I received at the women's silent retreat with Debra Chamberlain-Taylor last year. It was the beginning of a long journey for me that has, so far gotten me to a woman's treatment center in Pasadena, California. I have suffered with alcoholism for most of my adult life and have sought help several times but couldn't seem to stay in recovery for very long at any one time.
Learning to meditate and to pray, I have found the beating of my own heart. Your People of Color Scholarship made it possible for me to come sit with you, and the effect on my life has proven profound. I love you all and hope I see you again very soon.
Namaste, Sober in So.Cal.
I have just finished the 2005 Spring two-month retreat thanks to those who contributed to Spirit Rock's scholarship fund. The retreat experience was one I could never possibly put into words. "Life-changing", "painful", and "joyous" only grace the surface.
Financing this retreat, myself, would not have been possible. I was just coming out of grad school, so the timing was perfect, but the bank account was not. Now back at home in Washington D.C., the benefits of the financial support will continue to ripple out as I reintegrate into this world.
The Gift of a Family Retreat
I received a scholarship to the Family Retreat some time ago. It was a great lesson in nonattachment because my son was not so keen on being there. I got immediate practice in letting go of what I thought it should look like. I believe we ended up commuting instead of it being residential.
I had learned (and continue to learn) not to impose my agenda on my son, and yet, to balance my need for retreat. Compromise and give and take! It seemed like important lessons for both of us. It was delightful to watch him partake in his retreat chores and I believe this gave him a nice taste of service and how simple acts can ripple out and touch others.
I also believe that it reinforced my own delight in service and inspired me to give back in ways that I could. I think I did some healthy role modeling for my son. I became involved in helping out with a prison project, doing what I could, from home.
The retreat was helpful in that I got to be still and listen. I did some walking meditation and knew that my son was happy with whatever activity he was involved in at the retreat. We saw many familiar faces and made some new friends. Mostly, I was reminded that as a mother, I am perfectly imperfect and that my intention to do good and create peace and joy matters.
I am forever grateful for Spirit Rock retreats, the dharma and the sangha. The peace, joy and insight I carry with me always are the result.
Many Blessings, Many Thanks, Much Love! Lisa
Please send your stories to ripple_stories[at]spiritrock.org and include your preferred method of communication in case we would like to contact you. If you have any questions about writing your stories, contact KennethH[at]spiritrock.org.
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