Beauty being God’s handwriting, we were inspired  to open the Fall 17’ season at The Higher Haven with our Sacred Beauty Workshop. Saturday’s class was the third in the series conducted by Chef Chris Ferris, the culinary force behind our retreat center and the source of all things scrumptious here. A small, super group of lovely ladies came together to explore thoughts and feelings on what stirs a heightened response of the senses and of the mind on the highest possible level. Leading meditations and short exercises on beauty held within the context each of the five senses, Chris created a nurturing environment that allowed attendees to delve into sound, sight, smell, taste and touch, with practices that cast light on limiting personal and societal beliefs. With an eye toward then moving constraining ideas to the background while bringing more meaningful connections that consciously shift our awareness to the fore, we took part in an inipi purification Ceremony that’s often the impetus for profound transformation.

Practices utilized music and instruments (sound), cultural images and conversation (sight), essential oils and incense (smell), nourishing foods and mindful eating (taste) and body awareness with beauty rituals using natural products, handmade lotions and dry brushing (touch). Mindful exercises provided emotional adventure, discovery, and budding new ideas. Now-centered and feeling the uplift of the present mind, the group followed Chris’ lead exploring faculties of sensation and how each relates to forming our beliefs about beauty. Finally, the Ceremony brought the day to fulfillment, taking outwardly explored ideas deeply inward, as we psychologically cleansed ourselves of impurities and negative inner dialogue that block the movement toward a fresh new beginning.

Many thanks to Gisel, Hannah, Rosemary, and Sierra, who said that taking part in sharing the red willow shavings and fragrant root and herb mix in the Chanupa or Sacred Pipe was like “smoking a Christmas cookie”. Good one. And thanks to Chris for lending her talents to all we’re building here, as she ushered the women into that secret, sacred garden created by the open-hearted feminine divine

Renewing ourselves in Ceremony empowered us to reclaim our collective nobility, as we all felt the sovereign power of the World of the Spirit draw near. Afterward, I found a piece of crumpled green paper on the altar someone used for the setting of intentions. It said “Health, Sweetness of Life, Fun, Companionship, Safety, and Love.” Then it listed her family members, the people she wished that for and then “The Whole World.” That’s how we do it around here, embracing fully the Native American affirmation "To Walk in Beauty", harkening to the possibility of living in effortless, empowered harmony with all of life, the essence of true abundance. Through spiritual purification, creative self-expression and Ceremonial living, we invest ourselves with the power to be our best, bringing forth our greatest potential. If that sounds like something you’d like to explore further, consider our upcoming Fall One-Day Retreat Days on October 15th and Novermber 5th and 12th, or the next sacred beauty workshop scheduled for Sunday December 3rd.

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
Hózhóogo naasháa dooShitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa dooShikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa dooShideigi hózhóogo naasháa dooT’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa dooHózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’