“Maryanna’s success as facilitator of the Spiritual Deepening Nature Retreat lies in her integrity, depth of purpose and her connection to spirit through her love of the sacred land and its people.” -Sue Zajac, Archaeologist, Mayo County Council, Ireland
“Maryanna’s Spiritual Deepening Nature Retreat provided support and courage through some painful choices I needed to make. Her compassion, ability to create a safe space and expertise in facilitation such a leading edge experience contributed to my transformational outcome. She’s a wise intuitive truth teller. I highly recommend her work and being in her circle.” -Monique Morimoto Flaherty, Founder and Principal at SoulWorks Coaching, Boston, MA
“Maryanna led a wonderful spiritual deepening nature retreat. This was a transformative event in my life. Her guidance provided great information, coaching and support without prescribing what we might experience, choose to do, choose not to do. We were fully prepared for our own experience and to make our own way – ‘or not.’ I love her approach.” – John Tidd, Sculpture in metal and wood, Glens Falls, NY
“Maryanna sees the long view, while connecting with the issue of the moment that you dare to bring forward. Whether in the garden, in the studio, on the mountain, in conversation, or in the kitchen, Maryanna hears and reflects what is essential to the story. I trust Maryanna with my darkest secrets and most hopeful inspirations.” -Oren Stevens, Mentor at the Telling Story, Portland, ME.
How do you feel that your life has been impacted by your 2012 quest?
‘The greatest impact is the shift in my relationship with God, mother earth and community. I no longer doubt my faith. Oh, what a gift!! My faith is solid like the rock people, a stronger part of who I am. I feel that my purpose is to align myself with the spirit of the divine and all its manifestations and to hold the wisdom that encourages me to gently work on the process of letting go of all the obstacles that keep me separate.
The quest was a “teachable moment” for working with my emotions. It allowed me the understanding that fear is not to be avoided, but rather to be encouraged as a guide toward that which needs a closer look.
The intensity of my fear and the duality of my experience during the day vs. the night were surprising to me.
‘The revelations of the quest that I have taken back into my every-day life is the remembrance of God’s love that was given to me with an open heart and the trust that I have to learn how to lean upon. I hope to remember the many forms of love that I experienced whether that came from Maryanna, fellow questers, a mother deer and yearling or mother earth. My need for community has been reawakened and that love and light maybe the same thing. When my heart is open, I can see the manifestations of God’s love where ever I look. When my heart is closed or I feel that I am in the dark, this is far more difficult.
‘My relationship with the Earth has enhanced and my understanding of her generosity and endless gifts grow. I appreciate when I can directly walk on the earth. I have a longing for that connection. When I am out after the sun has set, I remember to look up at the night sky. I continue to try to learn to hear the voice of all beings. I think more carefully about my use of the earth’s gifts.
I left the quest a kinder and more compassionate person than when I arrived and this is the gift that I plan to share with my community. The awareness of the courage that it takes to not run from fear is so helpful to me in my work with others who have this same or a similar struggle fear.
‘The experience of the quest takes time and in order to fully open to the opportunities, one has to step out of the obstacles of every-day-life and allow them to be held by mother earth. If we can arrange for this, spirit will help us with whatever is next. A bit of solitude is essential, but perhaps more important, I believe, is temporarily cutting the ties with ones usual way of being. For me, it was essential to leave the cell phone, email and car keys behind.
“A leap of faith”
‘In honor of lightness, I am naming my quest of 2012 as “a leap of faith” during which my relationship with God and community deepened. Spirit provided a variety of opportunities during the week on the land and the most notable being my experience with fear and being “alone” in the dark of night. My faith was challenged and I had to decide if I could let go and allow myself to held in the grace of spirit. Each night I had the repeated lesson of letting go of the controls/security that I have held in place for a many years and surrender to the experience and turn to God for safe keeping. I experienced my vulnerability and had to accept that there was no way to flee from the fear, but rather my work was to stay present to the lessons, both for myself and for all who hold this fear. Each night there was a process of surrender, walking the circle around the fire, drumming or singing the bowl and praying for safety throughout the night.
‘Beginning at dusk, through the night and into the grayness of dawn, I worked with the layers that I have built to protect myself, my ego and need for control. I was blessed with the opportunity to begin the healing process of shedding these layers and opening to the divine. I found a different relationship and meaning to prayer. I found that I could turn to people on the quest for help and discover that they were not interested in judging me, but rather were interested in supporting me. I found that it was a beautiful thing to be able to receive the love of care of others and not feel that I had to earn that or reciprocate the gift in some way.
‘Borrowing from the wisdom of AA, staying open to the intensity of the fear was my version of hitting bottom. I had no where to turn, but to turn to God. In order to cope with the fear, I had to come to a different level of knowing that there is a higher power that is much greater than we are and that when we can shed our false selves we are perfectly aligned with this divine presence. There was no distraction or place to hide. Like it or not, the fear could not be brushed aside, ignored or hidden. I had the raw experience of the emotion and the belief that somehow this emotion was part of a thread that I am suppose to follow. I had the experience of wanting to reach out to another human being and be comforted, but also the awareness that what I needed was more than what any human could provide.
‘And I waited for the light and reminded myself that I am a child of the light. In many ways the quest was as much about the light as it was about the dark. I longed for the light of the day. My spirits were lightened as I walked through the woods or camped out in a selected place that mother earth was willing to share with me. I felt peaceful and serene when I could see the manifestation of spirit in the material world all around me. I felt incredible joy in watching the sunlight dancing on beautiful ferns in wooded areas, the birds circle over head against the blue sky or the slow moving fish move through the cool pond waters. Over and over, I was drawn to the beauty to of the sunlight.
‘Being fully present came with more ease each day and I was able to hear the wisdom of the plant and animal life. Their message was around the importance of simplicity and trusting your instincts.
‘I was drawn to reflect on the circle of our one precious life time. I found birth to be represented with the twilight. The day represented youth and adult years. The dusk was our declining years where so much of the work in letting go and the dark of the night represented death; the complete turning over to the unknown. For six days, I traveled through this process. I came to appreciate the complexity and the simplicity of this process and the importance of putting down our defenses and false belief so we can join this process. I fostered the belief that we are whole even in our vulnerabilities and that our perception of the flawed parts is valuable in our learning to accept ourselves as we are and part of the divine.’ -Maureen Callnan, Portland, ME