Saying Goodbye

A decade ago Don and I met with Father Cory of All Saints Church in Saugatuck. The three of us sat in that beautiful treetop room. We explored how I might use the church’s retreat house for my programs. That talk led to a nearly a decade of programs. The treetop room became our circle room.

The house was a safe nest. A strong nest. Still there were challenges. We faced a broken furnace, plumbing issues, and much more. It was a funky, shabby and an all-around soulful place. Not too precious to keep us from embracing our own beauty and brokenness.

There were many firsts. For most if not all, they experienced sustained intentional silence for the first time. That delicious dropping in practice that brings us face to face with ourselves and the Divine. We wrote. We risked sharing our words with each other. Often reading with shaking legs and voices. So much happened within those walls. We did find our voices. Made dreams realities. We faced broken hearts, loss of loved ones. We found courage to risk loving again. We had breakdowns in communication and breakthroughs that shook us to the core. We had the whole catastrophe, as Zorba the Greek would say.

The house is no longer available.

I am sorting through a mixture of feelings about this goodbye. Endings offer a time for reflections. Sometimes we are so busy in the process of living that we fail to recognize the magic that is occurring. Someday we will look back and see the very place where we are right now is filled with wonder.

There are so many who brought depth and meaning to the retreats there. Too many to list all but here a few; Mary, Lisa and Stacey who assisted me, wonderful women who placed their hearts in our hands, yoga teachers, and eventually the talented Teresa of Satya Yoga, fabulous caterers, massage therapists, movement teachers and so many more. And Father Cory who held our work with respect and care. Please know if you name is not here, I am thinking of you.

Goodbyes are more present for me at age seventy-five than they once were. Yet no matter our age, goodbyes are important to consider. They are times to; slow down, drop in, and dare to feel all that we can about what is changing. How can we greet anything new if we have not said a proper goodbye to what was once there?

The plans for this year’s spring retreat were already in place. I chose the date, secured the caterer, picked out the menu, and posted my flyer. I did not doubt we’d return.

Often, we do not control when things end.

Sitting there with Father Cory a decade ago, it was clear the house would serve us well. I knew it in my bones. What I didn’t know was how it would end. And though endings are often out of our hands, we can choose how we respond. We can recognize, honor and celebrate what once was. We might even see what we received with clearer eyes as we say goodbye.

When the myth that “this” will go on forever lifts, we can embrace each moment with great love.

10 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye”

  1. An important message. Thank you. I attended at least five retreats in this setting and it was a special place. That yoga room surrounded by trees was magical. The rooms were roomy enough to accommodate all of us. The chairs and couches were old yet comfortable. We are leaving behind a setting where many of us did soulful work. I had some wonderful insights from my work there, met incredible women, laughed and cried there. I will miss the place.

  2. I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Nancy, the women in the group in this historic site where so many lives have been changed. I trust you will land exactly where you are supposed to be. This post is also a perfect reminder to be in the present moment as much as possible and see the gifts that are right in front of our eyes, heart, body and soul. Much love to all that are saying goodbye.

  3. Feeling so blessed to have been able to experience the healing space of this retreat home. Holding your heart in mine as you (and all women who’ve done deep work there) let go. <3

  4. Stacey, thank you for your unwavering support. We shared magic moments there. No doubt I am right where I need to be, sometimes it takes me awhile to see that.

  5. Maureen, your presence is a thread running through the retreats. You always bring depth, humor and writing that cracks me open. Deeply appreciative of your participation.

  6. Beverly Menninger

    I too am glad I had at least my one experience in this beautiful house. It felt welcoming the minute we stepped in the door, and like home throughout the weekend. I loved my roommate, Anita and all of the women we shared each room with. What a gift and a blessing for you Nancy, to guide so many women through that space. You will continue to do so in so many ways and in so many new and different spaces!

  7. Dear Nancy,
    Where ever I “dance” in your light,
    my heart beams very bright!
    In gratitude for being part of
    the Saugatuck Voice Activation Space!
    Donna Prenta

  8. Thanks Bev, Yes, there were so many aspect to the experience that contributed to the healing. The connections with other women were a central piece. I am so glad that you got the share this journey with me and others.

  9. Dear Donna, what a delight it was to have you there. You bring so much joy to a circle. I remember how you worked to stay true to you. You were quite inspiring.

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