|Sycammore tree at Hope Spring's Retreat center,|
In 2002, Anne Burns opened the Noble Circle retreat at the Heartwood Retreat in California. Shortly later, 8 Dayton, Ohio area women joined together and brought the Noble Circle Projects here. Their focus was to bring complementary healing techniques, particularly nutrition (or gentle eating) and exercise (using the Chinese healing art of Qi Gong (pronounced "chee gong"), as well as other techniques. Many of the original women had practiced these elements in their own lives and they found them useful.
I had heard about the Noble Circle project Dayton from my husband's cousin Maggie who did Qi Gong with one of the founders, Jan Lively. In addition, every year the Dayton Daily News ran articles about it right around the time they have their fundraiser called "The Aware Affair." I didn't really know the details. I didn't really understand how it worked. I also had no clue that there was a waiting list to get in on their retreats.
When I found that I had a cancer recurrence last year, I sent emails and asked about the retreats. I admit, I was in a panic. I told them about myself and found out that I couldn't get in, but that I would be put on the list. Each retreat they accept 15 women....in the Fall, I didn't get in either.
This spring, I got word that they had had a cancellation and that I was "in." I admit, I'm very strong on the nutrition part and try to practice that with the family (I admit, I have a sweet tooth and sometimes succomb to that), I was frantic to start Qi Gong. I had participated in a couple of classes of walking Qi Gong in Connecticut, but no one really offered classes on a regular basis or in a location/time which was good for me. In addition, my high school friend Janean Crapo runs a dojo in Battle Creek, Michigan and teaches Qi Gong and she's been after me for years to start practicing.
Still, you don't know what to expect. I must say, it was an absolute pleasure. While there, we were treated to wonderful vegetarian or almost vegetarian foods, Reiki, reflexology, and massage. The three days were PACKED with information, activities, and Qi Gong. I think they managed to put what normal people would do in a week into three days.
One thing which was very neat is that we were all women who were facing cancer....many of us were Stage IV, some of us were currently in treatment, others were completing treatment, some were out for a while. We have breast cancer, ovarian, pancreatic, melanoma, cervical, and neuro-endocrine cancers represented from either the participants, the past-participant volunteers and some of the practicioners who volunteered their time. Having more than just breast cancer was a good thing, although I have to admit, more of us had breast cancer than any of the other types.
We will continue meeting on a weekly basis for 10 weeks, then once a month thereafter. These are all remarkable women and I am honored and blessed to have been with them. As Robyn (aka Breast Cancer Diva) said, there's a reason we were all put together at this particular retreat. I think she's right.
Now, if only I can get the Qi Gong down...and integrated into my life....only a half an hour...but so far I've been interrupted by hail storms, children, and other things...maybe just forming my intent and visualizing it will work. .... :) It is my hope that the Noble Circle Project will spread even further an you all will have opportunities to participate either as volunteers, practitioners, or as one of the participants in the program.