A Path to Wholeness 2012 with Mirka Scalco Kraftsow
The Path to Wholeness Retreat on September 20 – 27th, 2012 was an amazing week of healing and transformation in the company of a beautiful group of people. The Video below was filmed, directed, and produced by Jennifer Szymaszek, and it capture some of the power of this incredible week. Below the video are links to stories from each day of the retreat as an offering of inspiration.
The Week in Assisi – September 2012
The Magic has already begun. If you have never been to Assisi, let me tell you that this is truly a magical place that helps you hear the voice of the Universe a little more clearly, in my humble opinion……… (continue reading)
This song has followed on our first day of the Path to Wholeness Retreat. It is a prayer from St. Francis and is sung with the most hauntingly beautiful melody. Listening to Mirka and her sister Mara sing it brings tears to the eyes! Some of us are now working on remembering the Italian so we can have it with us always. The English translation is:
Sweet Feeling in my heart
Now humbly love is dawning
Sweet to know that I am no longer alone……… (continue reading)
In case I forgot to mention, all of the titles of the posts this week are quotes from Mirka – I call them “Mirkaisms.” She has a way of expressing ideas in unique and colorful ways so that they stay in the mind. This particular one came to light on La Rocca, a medieval fortress on the top of Assisi.
Day 2 was a wonderful day. We headed up the hill to La Rocca after breakfast and gathered next to the walls, which offered some protection from the wind……… (continue reading)
After spending about 2 hours in the basilica, reading and looking at the art I am at the same starting point, I just need more time there, as the more you understand, the more you realize, there is so much more than beautiful colors, and beautiful paintings. The thought the artists put in shaping the viewer experience is incredible. And all this is beyond the pure aesthetic pleasure of seeing the wonderful lapis lazuli ceiling…….. (continue reading)
This very precious day, we were joined by Mario Thanavaro (his website is only in Italian at the moment). He was a buddhist monk for 18 years before returning to lay life in order to take the message of Buddhism out into the world. He has written many books on the subject and taught at retreats around the world,. He is now based in Rome and continues to lead retreats throughout Italy. He joined us for breakfast before we headed out. I will always remember one of his first words to me as I took this photo – “Say, ‘Jesus!’ “…….. (continue reading)
Today, we walked to San Damiano in the morning. This is the church where St. Francis first had a vision of Christ speaking to him from the Crucifix. He told Francis to ‘rebuild my church.’ Francis took this literally, and worked to literally rebuild the fallen structure of the building. Eventually, Francis took that work a step farther and created a revolution within the church.
This is also the place where St. Chiara lived and died.…….. (continue reading)
Padre Gianmaria held a special mass just for our group in the Porziuncola in St. Maria degli Angeli. This was a BIG DEAL as far as special treats for visitors who come here for a connection to the life of St. Francis. The Porziuncola is a small chapel in the center of the very large basilica, St. Maria degli Angeli. This chapel is the chapel of the heart of the Franciscan history. It was given to Francis and his brothers to pray and live. Francis laid down and died just a few feet from the chapel and some of his miracles.…….. (continue reading)
It is amazing that in a just a week, we felt like we really know each other. That we could be extremely open with people who were strangers to us a week ago. Time has been behaving strangely here. There have been so many insights, so many possibilities for transformation for almost 30 of us, that it seems unreal that our first trip to the Basilica of St. Francis was only a week ago!
Mirka told us that she began our time together invoking the teachings of Kriya Yoga because it offers a way to receive Grace.…….. (continue reading)
Other Stories from the Week
Thanks to some interesting conversations here, I started reflecting on what it means to come and spend intense times of study with a master teacher like Mirka. For those of us who don’t live very close to our teachers, the time with them is a precious jewel.
Santa Chiara (Clare) emphasized the importance of working with your hands as an expression of devotion. One observer of the poor sisters said this of how Clare and her followers lived……… (continue reading)
As a new milestone this year, there was a video crew on hand to document the week. Jennifer Szymaszek and her assistant, Erin Dean, were up and down and in and out every place possible in Assisi. The were up before dawn to capture sunrise. They stayed out late to capture sunset. They carried backpacks and cameras as the scurried around the group to try to capture a moment, and they did it with such grace that there presence usually went unnoticed until they interacted with us again. They became like flies on the wall, so I am really interested to see what they have captured.……… (continue reading)