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Review & News No.3, Fall 2011Weed seed puff
    "Our sole purpose is to offer the Buddha's teachings through meditation retreats to support spiritual seekers in their search for truth."
-- Marcia Rose

Founder & Guiding Teacher  
Message from the Guiding Teacher
Editorial Overview
Urgent Call for Scholarship Funding
Tribute to Chris Clifford - and Welcome to Robert Cusick
Filled with Light! - 2011/2012 Retreat Offerings
*** Venerable Dhammadinna on Moving Away & Turning Towards
*** Andrea Fella on Recognizing the Feeling of Awareness
*** Greg Scharf on Renunciation
*** Annie Nugent on Using Everything as Food for Practice
*** Marcia Rose on Finding No 'Self' Through the Creative Process as Practice
Stories from a Light-filled Retreat
Free Dharma Offerings
Closing Words & Contact Information
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If you prefer to read the Review & News offline, this e-mail is printable.

Gradation Message from GT

Dear Friends,

      It's mid-June as I begin to write this piece for our annual autumn Mountain Hermitage Review & News. 2011 is a sabbatical year for me, my firWhite hollyhock interiorst since I was given the direction and encouragement from my teachers to teach the Dhamma 23 years ago. During this sabbatical year I have taught only once -- the annual month-long spring Hermitage retreat that Sayadaw Vivekananda and I happily taught together through the month of April. These years have been filled with deep gratitude, joy, and inspiration in relationship to all that has been given to me from my teachers, and of course from our root teacher, the Buddha.

As one aspect of my sabbatical, I will soon be going into four months of retreat from July through October with Pa Auk Sayadaw, thus my writing of this piece for the Review & News so long before it is sent out to all of you. By the time you read this I will have been engaged in intensive practice for at least two and a half months. I have felt the inclination, inspiration and connection with the tradition of deep and long retreat practice since I was a young person, and now as I enter my 70s and am about to begin a substantial period of retreat practice, a renewed sense of joy, gratitude and inspiration for the teachings and practice has blossomed. This, in part, is what has inspired The Mountain Hermitage to offer an expanded program of retreat practice opportunities.

     With that enthusiasm and energy we offer you this issue of the Review & News. There will be some wonderful new (new to the Hermitage) teachers gracing our upcoming practice opportunities with two new week-long retreats--the first, a study retreat on The Four Noble Truths, which will include lots of sitting and walking practice, in November of this year (2011) with Venerable Dhammadinna who has been a Buddhist nun for 30 years. Our second week-long retreat will be in February of 2012 with Greg Scharf and Andrea Fella who regularly teach at the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock. Both of these one-week retreats are open to any interested Dharma students. Truchas mt view

     In the early spring of 2012 Annie Nugent and I will be teaching together at San Geronimo Lodge in Taos during our eighth annual month-long retreat for experienced Dharma students, and I'm delighted to let you know that TMH will be offering our third Self/No-Self and the Creative Process retreat for two weeks in July 2012 in the exquisite Taos Ski Valley area. The last retreat of the 2012 season will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity for experienced students. In November, I will be teaching a two-week Concentration retreat rooted in the tradition of Pa Auk Sayadaw at San Geronimo Lodge.

     As I prepare for my upcoming four-month retreat I'm holding you, our many Mountain Hermitage meditators and extended family of friends and supporters, in my heart and hoping that each of you will find the inspiration, space and commitment in your life as this year continues to unfold and 2012 blossoms to attend a retreat --for a week or two or even a month.  As your life unfolds through the rest of this year and next, keep in mind that the whole of your life is your practice. Let the innate qualities of love, compassion and wisdom naturally emerge, grow and flourish, and recognize and nurture this natural process as you would a small and delicate seedling.

     I look forward to the possibility of seeing you at one or more of our upcoming Mountain Hermitage retreats.


With metta,


Gradation Editorial overview

Ladybug up sunflower                        Inch by inch -

                        Little snail

                       Creep up and up Mt. Fuji


                                    -- Issa, 19th century Haiku poet


    2012 marks the eighth year of The Mountain Hermitage - eight years in which we've offered 16 retreats to 285 yogis, added several new retreat offerings, and all in the most difficult financial times. We've done that only because a small base of committed donors and a generous Foundation have faithfully answered the call for support. We've used our money wisely and well, multiplying its value manyfold in the lives of those we've served.

     In this eighth momentous year, we also pay tribute to Retreat Manager Chris Clifford, who will be sharing management responsibilities with new manager Robert Cusick. And with a special urgency, we renew our annual call for scholarship funding.

      Although our challenges are great, so also is our faith in the future of The Mountain Hermitage. Our core mission remains strong, the commitment of an expanding circle of loyal friends and a hard-working Board is unwavering, and the shepherding of a wise and experienced guiding teacher combine for a positive outlook well into the future, unknown as it is.

                      HERMITAGE NOW ON FACEBOOK

Come visit us at our new Facebook page, where we will be sharing information about retreats, teachers, the Dharma, and our home here in New Mexico... with photos and links to make the experience richer.  We hope you will join us to stay in touch with what is going on at the Hermitage... and we'd love to hear your ideas & comments! Add your name to the growing list of dharma friends who have "Liked" us on Facebook, or just come by for a quick look every now and then...

Curious?  Just click here....  Like us on Facebook 

Gradient Urgent call..

     As the economic contraction continues, we are increasingly hard-pressed to meet our modest financial needs. The Foundation we've depended on for substantial scholarsBegging bowlhip support can no longer offer help of any kind, and we are actively seeking out other foundations that might step into the gap. Under the direction of TMH Board Member Dr. Bonnie Duran, we are undertaking a development campaign to seek $20,000 to $30,000 in new grants that will enable us to continue to make the Dharma available to the many whose desire and dedication is great, but whose resources are sorely limited.

     Will you help? Your philanthropic gift of any amount may make all the difference in the life of a yogi who, thanks to the help of friends like you, is able to carry the fruits of the Dharma more powerfully into the world.  While we are working on securing grants, the process is often a long one. Please respond as quickly as you can with as generous a gift of support as feels right for you, so we can make awards to the many who have already requested aid.

      If you prefer to support the general operating fund to help pay critical retreat

expenses, we would also be most grateful for your generosity. Among those expenses are modest facility rental, stipends for retreat personnel, travel/food for retreat teacher(s) and manager, and office expenses.  

                                                                Poppies red

A gift of any amount will be received with utmost gratitude, and will help the Hermitage

continue to offer many needy yogis critical scholarship support.  

Please visit  for more information.

Gradient tribute to

       "Oh yes, this is why we do this ..."

     "I knew Marcia as a teacher from IMS and the Forest Refuge. I had recently Chris Cliffordretired when I saw a flyer from the Hermitage looking for a retreat manager," Chris Clifford says. "I wanted so much to see New Mexico and serve the Dharma at the same time, so I applied and the rest has unfolded."

    From the fledgling days of the Mountain Hermitage through seven challenging, rewarding years, Chris Clifford has been an indispensable friend and professional colleague. Her wisdom, guidance and management expertise continue to be critical to the ongoing commitment of the Hermitage to serve the many yogis who have joined us in retreat, and now carry the Dharma into the world. Chris will now be managing only the annual month-long retreats, turning over management responsibilities for all other retreats to Robert Cusick. She will continue as Treasurer for the Hermitage, keeping close watch over the organization's finances.

     Her tenure as retreat manager has yielded some deep satisfactions. "I've really enjoyed the staff experience of living in a community, almost like a little monastery, for one or more months at a time," Chris says. "It's been such a privilege to spend so much time with Marcia living and working together, slowly transformed by her wisdom and kindness."

     When we asked Chris to share a rewarding moment from her long career, she said, "There's a time when all the start-up activity subsides and people start to settle in and engage with the practice and I feel 'Oh yes, this is why we do this.' I also love the closing circles when I get to hear and see in the glowing faces how much this opportunity to practice has meant to everyone."

    The Mountain Hermitage has become a warm and supportive Dharma family - a family that Chris Clifford holds in highest regard. "I've come to feel that the small Hermitage staff is my family," she says, "it's always a joy to reunite with Marcia, Cathy and Surya to do it again. And now we also have Robert."Robert Cusick


     We are especially delighted and honored to welcome Robert Cusick, whose retreat management experience is long and deep. Robert has managed meditation retreats at Spirit Rock for the past eleven years, and as their former Retreats Program Manager, served on the Management Team. In that role, he interfaced with the teachers, managed the entire retreat staff, and coordinated and oversaw the retreat logistics and administrative systems for their busy year-round residential retreats program.

    What's more, Robert also co-organized and managed, from start to finish, Pa Auk Sayadaw's first two-month U.S. retreat in 2005, and worked with Joseph Goldstein to facilitate the Sayadaw's first retreat at the Forest Refuge in 2006. He has also managed retreats at the Hidden Villa Center in Los Altos, CA.

    Robert will begin his management responsibilities with the February 2012 Wise Attention and Opening the Heart Retreat, and thereafter, with the exception of the annual Spring Retreat, will manage all Mountain Hermitage retreats.

Gradient Filled with...  


Walking San G labyrinth

Most 2010-2011 Hermitage retreats (unless otherwise noted) will be held at San Geronimo Lodge in Taos, New Mexico.  As many of you know, San Geronimo offers extraordinarily comfortable retreat accommodations  and a serene and meditative environment.  It is uniquely loved by our yogis.   


NOTE:  San Geronimo Lodge is wheel-chair accessible. 



with Venerable Dhammadinna

Listening, Contemplation & Meditation - This retreat will focus on study and Ven D in Seattlecontemplation as supports for mindfulness. The benefit of study is that we come close to the thought of the Buddha as a source of inspiration. The benefit of close scrutiny of the Four Noble Truths is that our understanding of dukkha influences how we engage our mindfulness. There will be meditation instruction (in the style of the Mahasi Sayadaw), silent sitting and walking, two lectures a day and occasional group discussion. This retreat is suitable for new students as well as established practitioners.


 February 10-17, 2012:  


with Andrea Fella and Greg Scharf  


Andrea Fella

Insight, or Vipassana meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful awareness. By learning to observe our experieGreg Scharfnce from a place of spacious stillness and balance, we begin to access a natural clarity of mind and openness of heart. As our practice unfolds, we respond to the inevitable joys and sorrows of life with increasing sensitivity, stability and love. Loving kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart's capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.   

           This Vipassana and Metta retreat will emphasize how the unfolding of wisdom through present moment awareness opens the heart to the beautiful qualities of love and compassion The retreat will take place in Noble Silence, and the format will include instruction in both Insight and Loving-kindness meditation. It is suitable for both beginning and experienced students of meditation.

April 3-May 1, 2012:

with Marcia Rose and Annie Nugent

            Marcia head

Guidance for Concentration, Metta, and Vipassana practices will be available.  Our annual  One-Month Spring Retreat offers a unique opportunity for experienced Dharma practitioners to enter a supportive space of solitude & silence for intensive, independent meditation practice. The guidelines for each individual's practice are worked out in consultation with a teacher.     

Annie Nugent

      The program will provide a combination of independent practice with the opportunity to train with the guiding teachers in varying aspects of mindfulness and concentration practice. This will contribute to a comprehensive deepening of practice and understanding. Teachers offer support to students through regular Dharma talks & practice interviews.  


July 9-22, 2012:  


with Marcia Rose, assisted by Sean Murphy

at AustingHaus Lodge in Taos Ski Valley, NM


Movement, Seeing/Drawing, Writing - This very special retreat offers a unique opportunitySean for interested Dharma students to engage in two weeks of practice grounded in

Vipassana teaching and practice with an orientation towards investigating 'no-self' in relationship to the creative process. Along with sitting, walking,

Dharma talks, individual practice interviews and some group discussion, we will explore the flow of creative energy in relationship to 'self-view' via movement, seeing/drawing, and writing.  The retreat will provide an opportunity to train with the guiding teacher and the assisting teacher in these creative modalities along with the development of a sustained mindfulness and concentration practice. This will contribute to a comprehensive deepening of practice and understanding.

One need not have experience with any of these modalities to participate in the retreat.

Aspen bark


From 2010 retreat: 

In the fading light 

Silent yogis sit outside

Making sweet haiku


November 5-19, 2012:   



Red poppy center

This retreat will offer an introduction to and support for the practice of concentration (Samadhi) as taught by Burmese meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw. As we cultivate concentration... purification, a clearly focused attention, joy, tranquility and equanimity begin to blossom within deepening states of Samadhi/concentration. These qualities prepare the ground for a deeply penetrating insight into the nature of existence.


Go to for Introduction, Guidelines, Registration & Scholarship Forms for the above retreats.  

Gradient Reflections on...
Venerable Dhammadinna on Moving Away & Turning Towards


      If we have had so much experience of difficulty and disappointment all our lives, why haven't we become wise on account of our life experienVen D in gardences? Moving away from dukkha or suffering masks it. Turning toward dukkha, investigating dukkha unmasks it and leads to understanding dukkha.

            What constitutes moving away from dukkha? One pattern of moving away is to try to get a better mood by eating something delicious, or watching a movie, for example. We want to dispose of discomfort by absorbing into something pleasant and soothing. If it works, we feel satisfied, but there are hidden problems with this strategy.

            There is an allure to pleasure - it is oh so nice to get what we want. But we build up an assumption that we are hardly aware of. We see these desirable things as securely delivering us from our discomforts. The Buddha gives us a clue: "We are seeing a refuge in things that lead to bondage." We get a sense of this bondage if we pay attention to the anxiety that is active in the background when we are planning to get again an experience that uplifted us before. How can I get it? Will it be the same? The very feeling that we lack something is oppressive. Oppressive also is the effort and expense to get that special thing.

            Another problem is that at a time of life crisis we never draw strength by bringing to mind the great meals we have enjoyed. We felt so great at the time and set such importance on getting good things to enjoy. We never questioned this program and assumed pleasure would be a refuge from distress. When we face a serious loss we feel disappointed to see that pleasures are utterly empty of any ability to be that for us. In that regard, they are really valueless.

            Empowered with the tools for mindful investigation, we observe again and Thistle flower dead 2 again that pleasant experience is fleeting, ephemeral, fading quickly. Seeing this impermanence undermines our attachment, breaks up the demand we place on these things to fulfill us. Turning toward dukkha begins to unmask the problem of wanting to get a better experience. We begin to feel more and more independent of all that seeking and grasping. As that independence grows we recognize it as equipoise. This peace of mind is a real treasure for us. It is a reliable source of happiness and strength.

            From the perspective of maturing practice, we see that people who are untrained in the Dharma don't have this inner happiness within their reach. For worldly people there is no escape from unpleasant feeling except by way of pleasant feeling. It is very poignant because we know from our own experience how fraught and turbulent that way of life is. It may strike us that people are as vulnerable as little children who have no protector. An irrepressible tenderness may follow. We become willing to rise up and work to bring them something of value.

Andrea Fella on Recognizing the Feeling of Awareness


     As we engage in a daily life practice, it is helpful to become familiar with what it feels like to be mindful and present. At times throughout our day, we come into mindfulness; it happens spontaneously, effortlessly, for just a moment. This actually happens to us more than we realize, Andrea face shotbut it's like the air we breathe: we don't notice it. Typically we get a split second of knowing what is happening, and then we start thinking about what we noticed, or planning about it, or remembering something we did yesterday that was similar to what we're doing now. We usually simply use awareness to navigate our lives. We have an experience: the water is hot, we know it is hot, and we jerk our hand out. We notice a stain the linoleum, so we go down to clean it. We use the recognition of what is going on to plan, to further our lives. We rarely recognize the quality of mindfulness itself.

    While the feeling of knowing that you are aware can seem like a subtle feeling, actually, it is a feeling that is very familiar to us, but we rarely pay attention to the feeling. If you know that you are reading this article, then the feeling of awareness is there in your experience. Don't look too hard for it. Just explore how your experience feels when you know that you are aware. Over time, you will begin to recognize the feeling of awareness. As you become familiar with this feeling, you will notice yourself coming back into mindfulness many, many times throughout the day. In the midst of an activity, you will suddenly recognize that you are aware of what is happening. You might be reaching for something, walking across the street, finishing a meal, or driving the car. Appreciating these moments creates the conditions for you to recognize these moments even more frequently.  

Geg Scharf cropped
Greg Scharf on Renunciation


     The word renunciation doesn't have a particularly positive connotation in our culture. It might be interesting to sit with this word and see what your response to it is; how does it sit in your heart? Often we see renunciation as a kind of self-inflicted punishment. We mistakenly think renunciation means that we will no longer enjoy anything, that our lives will become a gray, bland, dullness. At best we might regard it as something that might be good for us - like bad-tasting medicine. If we really look at our practice, we'll see that as we bring mindfulness to our unfolding experience, we are exploring the landscape of renunciation, learning, moment by moment to let go. As Ajahn Sumedho says: "The way of spiritual life is a movement away from the distraction of attaining or acquiring. It is a relinquishing, a letting go. It simplifies our lives, freeing us from that which is unnecessary. There's no judgment or rejection, it is pure mindfulness developing in the present moment - the only place truth can be found."

     In our lives, within the terrain of our own hearts & minds, and in our relationships to others, we see over & over how suffering arises. If we strip away our stories and explanations we see that clinging to anything at all leads to suffering, to struggle. Renunciation is really the response of wisdom & compassion in the face of that. There is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying the things of the world. The Buddha does not judge happiness born of the enjoyment of worldly pleasures but he does point to its limitations, uncovering a fundamental misunderstanding: It is the energy of grasping and craving Flower underside that is the root cause of suffering, not anything inherent in the objects of worldly pleasure and happiness.

     The Buddha offers us the chance to make a trade. From the Dhammapada: "If by giving up a lesser happiness, one could experience a greater happiness, a wise person would renounce the lesser to behold the greater." Moving from the endless pursuit of desire to a meaningful relationship with renunciation is not to move from happiness to grief, from a state of abundance to one of lack. Instead as Bhikkhu Bodhi says: " It is to pass from gross, entangling pleasures to an exalted happiness and peace, from a condition of servitude to one of self-mastery. Desire ultimately breeds fear and sorrow, but renunciation gives fearlessness and joy." This is quite a powerful statement - that renunciation might actually lead us to fearlessness and joy! Who wouldn't want to make that kind of trade? Renunciation is seen as so important in this tradition because it is held as the very practice of freedom. Rather than being presented as something dismal or bleak, renunciation is seen & described as a practice of joy and happiness and its ultimate fruition is the greatest happiness, that of peace.

Annie face shot
Annie Nugent on Using Everything
 as Food for Freedom


     When we are faced with the challenge of bringing the practice into our everyday lives, it can seem like a daunting task. Out of this we may become despondent and slowly our good intentions about practice begin to recede into the background as we become seduced by worldly distractions, relegating our practice to a period of formal sitting some time in the day. While this is an important part of the practice, it is only a part. What about the rest of the day?

    Rather than limiting the practice to some special period of time on the cushion, can we learn to see every situation as an opportunity for wisdom and compassion to grow? For example: whilst driving our car is there aversion to other drivers or are we perhaps daydreaming? When talking with others are we judging or wanting something from them? When preparing the evening meal are we rushing, leaning in to the moment?  In the midst of these ordinary, worldly situations can we notice how we are relating to the moment?

    The Buddha tells us that the end of suffering comes with the uprooting of the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion. Thus our job is learning to bring awareness to the presence of these unwholesome habits in the mind and not acting on them - this is how they are ultimately uprooted. In this way we are working towards ending suffering.

    But this takes time - the patient, sincere willingness to begin with a gentle but determined encouragement to be aware of what is happening in the mind in one small moment. This is perfectly doable - nothing grandiose like being aware "for the whole day". One moment of awareness begets another. Slowly and repeatedly throughout the day noticing what our attitude of mind is in any moment. Asking the question: "What's happening in the mind now?"

    In this way we can see that there is nothing special we have to do to alter our day. Only watching how the mind is operating. With awareness we begin to see the unwholesome tendencies of mind showing themselves. With time our attitude of mind shifts from living out the defilements of greed, hatred and delusion towards living from a place of generosity of heart, kindness and compassion and wisdom.

     A joy comes into our lives when we realize the scope of the dharma. We see that it doesn't narrow or limit our lives, but brings a growing ease of mind into life as wisdom and compassion is cultivated in the midst of the fullness and vibrancy of daily life. We come to understand that awareness wakes us up. It is a courageous and a deeply compassionate act because it breaks the cycle of ignorance. Gratitude arises for our lives as they may be manifesting right now, recognizing that the seeds of wisdom and compassion lie in whatever life is offering in this moment. It is up to us to use them as food for freedom.

Marcia with asters
Marcia Rose on Finding No 'Self' Through the

              Creative Process as Practice


    In exploring the creative process as practice, with mindfulness and investigation being the root from which stem the beautiful blossoms of wisdom and creative expression in its myriad manifestations, we find that creative process can be a vehicle for peeling away layers of our habitual conditioned perceptions and reactions, thus a vehicle with great potential for revealing the interdependent and selfless nature of all physical and mental phenomena.

    Whether it be the spontaneity of a moment to moment creative visceral response through the moving body, or seeing with the eye without interposing the 'self', meaning contacting things directly...letting the hand and pencil follow what the eye sees without the thought of 'making' a picture or 'being' creative...or trusting thoughts/words arising as though from nowhere, from no-one...allowing the immediacy and spontaneity of writing to flow from this 'empty space'--we could say that the creative process is about forgetting what we've previously learned which is a necessary step in responding and seeing more directly and precisely.

    Part of moving, seeing and writing is forgetting - meaning forgetting what we think we know about the subject, which includes what we may have been taught about drawing or writing or how we should or should not move the body. 'Forgetting' in this way stops the mind from knowing in its conditioned habitual ways. Consequently one is confronted with the object itself and one's usual way of knowing is arrested. The heart, the mind is open, receptive, appreciative and able to respond to the inner voice, the tone, shape or texture with genuine Three white hollyhocks

authority and autonomy.

    What keeps this openhearted "being in the presence" from happening? A common response is, "the fear of losing control." Though without a doubt there is an ancient and subconscious urge for inventiveness and creative life in every one of us from our very beginnings, it is not so easy to be unarmed--to be without our habitual ways and self-centered identifications. Fear sometimes leaps up in us, and so we train the heart/the mind slowly and with great care to clearly see the nature of our constraints, and let go.

    In our practice, including the creative process as practice, until we can suspend the need for meaning we can't experience direct revelation/insight/wisdom. The way to returning to things themselves can be difficult as we are faced with our 'self'--our seemingly set solid 'self'. At times many of us may experience the simple direct presence of 'not knowing' as feeling stupid, but the most extraordinary insightful experiences I've had all had a quality of 'bearing witness'--of being fully present with tremendous and yet relaxed interest, an openhearted mindful attention and discernment, along with the innocence of humility and no impulse to make meaning.

     Engaging in the creative process with joyful interest and openhearted mindfulness can be a wonderful vehicle for freeing up honesty, authenticity and the essence energy of creativity, all of which help to create the conditions that allow for a direct revelation of insight into the not-self nature of all things.                

Gradient Stories from...

Gratitude ... Deepest Joy ... Enhanced Practice ...  

The Dharma Carried into the World.


A moving message from a physically challenged yogi ...

Echinacea flower openingWheeling Towards Enlightenment

     These days I live in a wheel chair. For me to do anything takes planning - and the cooperation of friends. It doesn't help that I am really rotten at asking for help. I grew up indoctrinated with the idea that you were a failure if you couldn't do things by yourself.

    Those days are over. This disease--MS--has robbed me of privacy, solitude, and a chance to practice in a retreat setting. There are very, very few handicapped-accessible retreat centers. Spirit Rock is one, IMS another. But I can't drive or fly, so both Spirit Rock and IMS are out.

    But here in Taos, San Geronimo Lodge is wheel-chair accessible. I did my first month-long retreat with The Mountain Hermitage there in April 2011 which went a long way in helping me cope with my disease in Buddhist terms. The Hermitage provided a personal yogi, recorded Dharma talks to listen to since I cannot sit for long periods, the only truly handicapped bathroom I have ever experienced, and a truly loving Dharma community that at the end of the retreat told me my presence had enriched their practice. I hope they know how much they enriched mine.

 Carol's onion drawing

     In November 2010, 11  yogis, many the grateful recipients of scholarship aid, came to the lovely San Geronimo Lodge in Taos, NM for the second annual Self/No Self and the Creative Process Retreat with Marcia Rose, assisted by dance artist Zuleikha and writer Sean Murphy. Many wrote light-filled letters offering fresh insights from their retreat experiences. Below are excerpts from some of these letters, including a sampling of poetry, and illustrated with drawings from other participants.


There wasn't a single day that I didn't do something to strengthen the creative mind in its constant struggle against the critical mind....

      All three modalities left deep imprints. The movement modality helped bring out the child in me. I felt very awkward and self-conscious at first, but now I wouldn't mind playing in rain puddles! The door has been permanently unlocked.

       The drawing modality brought me to tears. For years I have been reciting: "I Sunflower dyingam the nature to die; death is unavoidable." However, when I had that piece of dried bone in my hands, death was so real and the self dissolved so fast. I realized I could draw well enough to debunk the false beliefs and limitations I had imposed on myself.

        Two moments during the writing modalities stand out in my mind. The second instance came on the last day of the modality. I tried and tried to compose a haiku without success. Suddenly several things happened at the same time - the bell sounded, the sun came out from hiding, the wind picked up. I looked around then felt the locomotion - my yogi friends were getting ready to go back in and the trees were swaying back and forth. Everything came together out of chaos. I recorded the moment in a flash, and this was my only haiku for that day:


Sun light breaks through cloud

both tree and yogis rejoice

their shadows come alive.

 SnoS 2011 Scallion drawing

... my experience in this retreat was probably the best I have ever had.  


It opened up in me a confidence in ability I didn't think I had.  The teaching and concentration on patience and really seeing made me realize the potential for self-confidence and freedom. The interwoven modalities of movement, writing, and drawing interwoven emphasized the ability to really be free, patient, live life fully and look beyond the self. I also learned how to explore new experiences that self -judgment had made impossible. I highly recommend this retreat to everyone and have already shared my feelings with many people and everyone at my sangha.


Go to for

Retreat Guidelines, Registration and Scholarship Forms.


Gradation Treasury of Free

    Go to, and click on Dharma Talks for free downloads of talks and guided sits from the last two years of Mountain Hermitage retreats. CDs may be ordered on a dana basis. Our cost is $4.50. Hermitage Dharma Talks are also available through the web on I-Tunes.

For Marcia Rose's international teaching schedule, click on Guiding Teacher.

Buddha face narrowGradation Closing Words


"If we are patient, determined, diligent, and at the same time relaxed in our practice - it is inevitable that joy increases, peace increases; that wisdom increases. It is inevitable that our ability to live a beneficial and compassionate life increases."                                                                                      -- Marcia Rose


Thank you for your interest in The Mountain Hermitage. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome - and we would be delighted if you would forward this Review & News on to friends.    

E-mail us at:  [email protected]  

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Call us at:  575-758-0633  

Send snail mail to us at:  The Mountain Hermitage   

PO Box 807 Ranchos de Taos, NM  87557 

Our website address is: 

Taos Mountain Evening  

May our practice serve towards the welfare, the happiness,

and the awakening of all beings. 

   MarciaCathy with flowersChris on SanG stairsPaulaSurya in kitchen

From left to right -- Guiding Teacher: Marcia with grandson Alex 

                                 Office chief: Cathy  

                                 Retreat manager & keeper of the books: Chris  

                                'Review & News' writer in residence: Paula

                                Cook extraordinaire: Surya

 Michael in garden

All flowers are from Marcia's garden.... lovingly tended in her absence by Michael.