Breitenbush Registration OPEN!

4s4w 4th Annual Breitenbush Hot Springs Women’s Retreat

With the changing of the guard in the U.S., I am sad to say goodbye to an era that most of us, as a caring society, have worked so hard to achieve. We never really gained the status of full equal respect for all, but our path seemed to be making its way there. It’s been many steps forward and some steps backwards, but all-in-all, since the 1960s, we’ve made so many wonderful advances in human rights, the environment and climate, and nuclear peace.

As we head into this brand new political and societal era, it will be more important than ever to gather with others to build new bridges, new models, and new ways to truly step into who we really are as a collective and individually. Like the Phoenix bird, it often takes crashing and burning in order to truly begin living. Out of all of this chaos, I’ve seen people beginning to step forward to speak in their full power, and I am encouraged by this. We are in for a very interesting adventure.

Anyhow, it’s important that we come together in any way we can in small or large groups. People feel healthy when they feel included. A sense of belonging is what makes for a strong family, as well as community bonds.

I don’t have anything to offer couples or the guys or the younger girls just yet, but I do have my 4th annual Breitenbush Hot Springs retreat for women coming up at the Summer Solstice – June 19th thru the 22nd. This is a super sweet and casual gathering ~ kind of like going to summer camp, except better! I feel honored and lucky to be an annual faculty member there now, as none of these retreat centers are easy to get into.

https://4s4w.com/events-2/womens-annual-retreat-at-breitenbush-hot-springs/

Because of the phenomenal date that they gave me last year and this year, this event will fill up quickly. I can only take 19 women into the small-ish yurt that we have for our workshop space, and right now I have 9 women already signed up! We’ve already got a few returning attendees and some who wanted to get in last year. The workshop, the sisterhood, and the hot springs make for a perfect getaway.

https://4s4w.com/events-2/womens-annual-retreat-at-breitenbush-hot-springs/

So please…check out the info and reserve your spot now, especially if you want to get the lodging of your preference. Read all about it by clicking on the link provided.

Info and Registration HERE

4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Many things are in the works for 4s4w this year! I’ll provide updates as things unfold.

Much love and thanks to you,
Suz
PS: If you have any trouble going through the checkout process when registering, please reply to this email to let me know. I’ll get your registration squared away. 🙂

A Winter Wonderland Hard to Believe

Today I witnessed pure magic.

The weather opened its arms long enough for me to leave the pirate ship to go to a meeting in town. All good, made it out easily, even thru the icy challenges on my road. I was grateful to see that once I reached the asphalted street, the snow crews had lain crushed rock or salt or sand or whatever it is they put on the road, on this one. It’s a long, steep grade, and I didn’t want to go sliding down it. I continued to be appreciative of this expertise and care shown on every street I encountered along the way.

As I wound my way through the back streets of Ashland toward the coffeehouse that is stationed in a residential area, I marveled at the exquisite beauty, and all at once, felt transported to the pages of a fairytale picture book. The sparkle of the heavy snow on the trees and roof eaves, and the brightness of the light all around, created a winter wonderland that frankly, was hard to believe. I felt both giddy and calm, relieved to witness and experience such medicine from nature, because surely it was that. My cells received a blessing from every flake that landed on my windshield and then wiped clean. Something symbolic there.

I was reminded that after my meeting, I should stop and get groceries as the storm is supposed to get heavier over the next couple of days. Being a little cocky, I decided to also stop after that to get my favorite Vietnamese curry to-go.

When I walked out of the restaurant, I feared I had done one too many errands. The snow was now falling harder and the streets once again, were completely covered. I needed to hustle home, yet take it easy. Turning onto my road, I was happy to see that someone else had driven up just prior, showing that the road was still fine. I stopped and snapped these couple of pics along the way.

Now, all snuggled in with lots of food, and always plenty of work on the computer to do. Maybe I’ll make some hot golden milk and watch a movie.

Blissed out and sincerely thankful.

I’d like to add: Sending warmth to anyone sleeping on the sidewalk, and holding a desire for our collective thinking to make finding a sustainable solution to homelessness a priority.

Kwanzaa: The Destination Holds Promise and Light

>>>This post can also be seen at The Huffington Post:
~~
Kwanzaa is not a religious or political holiday, but a cultural awareness celebration.
 
Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili (non-tribal) word meaning, “the first fruits of the harvest”. Observing Kwanzaa offers an opportunity for new, yet timeless ways for exploring one’s self, for living in wholeness and prosperity.
 
Ultimately, I see this as an indigenous approach to wellbeing, which is always my favorite. In my mind, what’s also great about Kwanzaa, is that this is a system that works well for healthy business and relationship mindsets as well.
 
Candles are lit each day, and one of seven principals are discussed over a 7 day period, which goes from December 26th thru January 1st.
 
Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a black separatist revolutionary and educator-turned-prolific writer and professor. With any movement that requires radial action, we’ll find controversy, and this is no exception. I personally find the whole story to be an exceptionally interesting one that has the makings of a really great epic drama. It contains struggle, generational trauma, passion, vision, racism, chauvinism, violence, prison, redemption, peace, leadership, idea-hijacking accusations, criticism, higher education, caring, and tenacity.
 
I think this is the reason Kwanzaa is still around 50 years later. It’s a living event that has similar (or the same) roots and struggles as the culture it celebrates and guides. It’s been a harsh journey, but the destination holds promise and light.
No matter what color or culture you are, and no matter what you feel about these origins, the 7 principals observed each day (see below) are worthy of dialogue and consideration by all of us. The common value found within each is where peace and respect lives.
 
A more thorough, yet brief, interesting explanation of Kwanzaa can be read here: http://mccchurch.org/heri-za-kwanzaa-2013/
 
A quick and what seems fair bio on Dr. Karena is here: http://www.biography.com/people/maulana-karenga-21315383#synopsis

I’d love to know who did this piece in order to respectfully credit. I’ve searched and searched. If you know, please leave a comment. Thank you! – Suz

Suzanne Mathis McQueen

“Yule” means “wheel” and marks the “rebirth” of the sun.

In Celtic and other traditions, the Holly King represents and rules the WANING 6 months of the year beginning at Summer Solstice, which kicks off the losing of light. Then, the Oak King takes over the throne, representing and ruling the WAXING 6 months of the year, beginning at Winter Solstice, which activates the return of light, or, one could say, the “born-again sun”. The Yule celebration lasts for 12 days, going from Dec. 21st-ish to Jan.1st.

There are countless metaphors each of us can come up with for all of this waning and waxing, as the teachings and comparisons are as endless as the seasons are eternal.

But in my deepest knowing, the losing of light represents our aging; our past; all that has come before us; our ancestors; the time to honor all that we have been gifted with by the divine and our lineage. The Holly King, in some interpretations, is the elder. At Winter Solstice, the elder steps aside to allow the “youth” to take over.

“The Holly King” by Briar

The Winter Solstice is the celebration of light, with the Oak King often interpreted as newness, freshness, hope, and peace. I see this light as our present and future. It is the perfect opportunity to step forward into the world with the gifts that were given to us at birth (and that we’ve also developed), in order to serve with light and love. And interestingly, we begin to see the fruits of our efforts at New Years, when we begin again with our plans and enthusiasm. This timing happens to land after the 12 days of Yule, whether we know it anymore or not.

“The Oak King” by Emily Bavilet

While the old nature-based holy-days and Christian origins have become jumbled and mixed, with Santa looking a whole lot like the Holly King,

“The Holly King” by Briar

and the born-again son (or newborn King or Prince of Peace) birth being celebrated at this time, and the practices of bringing the evergreen tree indoors, and all those wonderful Christmas songs that I love that we sing so loudly about pagan yuletide joy and wassailing, yada, yada (gotta love that)—the season, no matter which way you look at it, is ultimately about light, unity, love, and the opportunity to do good things for others.

And that’s all that matters.

Happy Solstice. May we all step out of our darkness and into our brilliance.