A New Year Retreat

“Come just as you are.” In each breath, I can feel the fear and joy and excitement all mix together. I want this year to be one of intention, of choosing what I want to have in my life, letting go of what I don’t, and surrendering to what needs to stay. I want to reconnect my breath, my movements, and my thoughts, remembering how good it feels to be filled with possibility. I need space and time for this renewal, to move past the past and to explore what I think I need in the year ahead. This is why I am choosing to attend the workshop, “Connecting to Your Light: A New Year Retreat” with Miranda Chapman, Nancy Murray, & Terri Laggis.

The common thread woven among these master teachers is that each has walked though her own darkness and stumbled upon ways to let in the light. Now, each is intentional in how she creates this light and holds up a mirror to let others find their shine. I have been blessed to be able to experience both Miranda and Nancy’s amazing gift of leading meditations and yoga classes. I was reminded how often I think I know someone’s story, only to discover that I really had no idea. We often don’t know how the person before us has arrived at this very moment or what it took for them to get there. I also enjoyed hearing Terri’s story for the first time, who was described to me as a holistic nurse with a radiant light. Each of their unique stories gives them the insight and compassion to be present for others.

Nancy Murray, credits yoga for saving her after her mother passed away. It was how she found her way out of the darkness. From this experience, she began a new career as a Kripalu trained yoga teacher. Her life barely resembles the one she had before as a certified public accountant. I have the pleasure of calling Nancy my first yoga teacher and the person who introduced me to the concept of radical self-care through retreats. Nancy still wears her business hat as an original board member at Copper Beech Institute. In September, she will lead a group on a spiritual journey through Spain by walking the final 69 miles of El Camino, the ancient pilgrimage path from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.

Terri Laggis began her career as a pediatric oncology nurse. Becoming frustrated with the offerings of traditional medicine, she began to explore the offerings of integrative practices. This journey has led her to study a wide variety of integrative therapies including massage therapy, holistic stress management, auricular acupuncture and biofeedback to name a few.  “Self care is such an integral part of wellbeing, yet it is often missing from a person’s overall health plan.” Terri is currently studying to be a nurse practitioner in the field of psychiatric/mental health with a focus on behavioral health and lifestyle medicine. Meeting people where they are in their journey of health and wellbeing and helping them to find the balance between traditional and integrative practices is where her passion is, providing support to help them achieve their goals and optimal health.

Miranda Chapman, who I rarely see without a smile on her face, beams contentment and joy. It truly surprised me when she shared how she has grappled with depression from a very early age due to chronic pain. “I needed to dim my own light to hold these things. I was hiding in my own darkness, living a very different life on the inside than the one everyone could see on the outside.” She now leads from this place of connection when she visits the jails weekly to teach boundless self-compassion. Miranda is young and small in stature but her presence and love fill each room, encouraging everyone’s energy to grow.

These three master teachers will be present for each session of the workshop, creating a safe and warm space. Angela Martin, CBI’s director of communications, described having these three teachers together is “like being given a giant hug from the Universe!” The general requirement to attend is to “come as you are” with a willingness and curiosity. I hope you are able to come experience each of their unique gifts to help awaken and connect to your own light in the new year ahead!

Kimberlea Chabot is the founder of a hyper-local resource for holistic living called LuckyPennyFound. Please visit www.luckypennyfound.com for more information. Kimberlea lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and considers her husband of 18 years and their three children to be both her greatest blessings – and her greatest challenge to living mindfully. Kimberlea is a regular contributor to the Copper Beech Institute blog, Awaken Everyday.

Copper Beech Institute is the nation’s newest retreat center for mindfulness and contemplative practice located in West Hartford, Connecticut. We offer more than 40 transformational retreats and courses, as well as mindfulness practice and mindfulness at work offerings to help you find the calm, compassion and true happiness you seek.

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