Watching the ferry pull away from Horseshoe Bay and gently nudge her nose towards Bowen Island, I am still in awe of this beautiful province I have made my home. This rural girl from Manitoba is still astounded by the opportunity to ride a ferry to gorgeous pastoral islands just a short jaunt from her North Vancouver home.

Basking in nature’s glory, the ferry carried me toward my home for the next three days, the Rivendell Retreat Centre. I would be participating in a retreat led by Thomas Kefferputz and his son, Dr. Rigo Kefferputz, focussed on offering “natural and supportive tools to promote inner harmony, peace and health for the body, mind, and spirit.” Dr. Rigo Kefferputz, as seen on CTV television, has been an active Naturopathic physician for a number of years and can be found online here http://www.thepath2wellbeing.com/naturopathy.html.

“Marks” greeted me at the door of the Rivendell, a welcoming ecological facility where guests come to expand their minds through meditation and silence. When I say silence, I mean complete silence, starting from 7:30 pm on Friday evening till 11:30 am Sunday Morning. During this time, common areas are available for visitors to absorb into silent reflection and explore the living spaces of their mind. The Rivendell retreat Centre boasted an “all are accepted” mentality and promotes a distraction free environment.

imgresRivendell2

That being said, the weekend consisted of three main events: juice, meditation and chanting. The juice was provided by North Vancouver’s own The Juicery and contained an amicable mixture of healthy concoctions to replenish and invigorate all weekend long. Check out their website www.thejuiceryco.ca and their cute North Shore location, the “Original” blend and the “Grounded” blend were some group favourites. The meditation and chanting went hand in hand, as only silence was allowed, group chanting was an inspiring reminder that we were not on this silent journey alone and, when I started to feel a bit crazy, the chanting brought a sense of community and calm.

Exploring the inner psyche can always been unnerving process and more than once I had the thought what was I thinking, but as the weekend progressed, I let go and gave in to the journey. This retreat was a safe place to explore my thoughts, free of the chaotic restraints of everyday life that cloud our perception of experience. In the end, I understood this retreat not as forced silence but as brain training, a lesson inviting us to experience ALL of our emotions as bare and honest as they are and NOT to react to them. No easy feat, as you may have guessed.

At the end of the weekend, we capped it off with a final chant and closed on a brilliant journey. As I returned home across the water, I knew I had only experienced a practice in what this form of meditation had to offer and, while I felt elated and peaceful, I knew I would be hungry for more. Until next time Rivendell!