2015 Spring Renewal Meditation Retreat Recap

One Dharma just completed our fourth Spring Renewal Residential Retreat at Bethany Hills. Each April I especially enjoy our time in this beautiful and natural setting where our hearts can open in tandem with the flowers and leaves after spring rains.

Ferns by the Pond at Bethany Hills

Ferns by the Pond at Bethany Hills


Altar Flowers by Frankie Fachilla

I appreciate all of nature’s seasons but spring is my favorite. In my twenties, during some of the darkest, loneliest years of my life, immersing myself in spring each year gave me a sense of possibility that my life could be more than the sadness and grief I lived with daily. As I witnessed newly leafed trees growing greener each day, purple wild iris opening along the water’s edge, and birds breaking into a melodious but raucous symphony every morning as the sun rose, I allowed my heart to open completely, to release my armor and touch the warmth and vulnerability of new life. This tenderness of heart nourished and fortified me through this otherwise long and lonely season of my life. Slowly, as the years passed and I reached my 30’s, the possibility of renewal that had once seemed so removed from the rest of my life blossomed at last. This awakening enabled me to live my life more fully, to move through my grief and find friends and love again. Thank you spring for sustaining and warming my heart when I had no other way to touch this moment with love and gratitude.

Double Web

Double Web

These two lovely poems, speak to the retreat experience of opening heart and mind in this moment. Both were written by attendees at our spring retreat.

Water Meditation

Water extinguishes fire
Takes away the angry,
burning desire to eat
everything in its path.
Be water,
drown in this moment.
Watch the world and its stories
pass like waves.
They aren’t yours to grab.
Try to grab them and
they disappear like
scattered stars,
reforming later, still
constellations of emptiness.

Instead, let the waves
crash over you,
their powerful fingers
tear at you then recede
into foamy nothing.
Crash and recede, crash and recede.
Nothing to do
but feel the sun.

– Andrea Hewitt

Cattails by Pond

Cattails by Pond

The retreat ended, rain stopped.
The geese have landed at the lake,
Sun shining thru clouds, I see clearly.

– Jeff Miller


Clear Skies Reflected in Pond

2015 Mindful Photograhy Calendars Now Available

These calendars were created with photos from our 2014 October Contemplative Photography Retreat. Created once again this year by Shelley Davis-Wise, each photo includes a dharma quote or poem. The calendars are for sale during our regular hours and are $20 each. They are a fund raiser for One Dharma. Here is a sample image:


To reserve your calendar(s) or arrange for pickup, email onedharmainfo@gmail.com

Mindful Photography Workshop

Cultivating Clarity, Receptivity and Joy With a Camera

Saturday, October 4, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Rural College Grove, TN

Registration deadline, Friday, September 26 doublelog

Please join us in a beautiful rural setting for a day of mindfulness as we combine meditation and the practice of contemplative photography. We will use our cameras as a means to reflect our awareness of this moment in its ever changing forms. This approach often yields unexpected and remarkable results that differ from conventional shots. There’s no need for expensive equipment or technical knowledge, just a willingness to meet the moment in an open and receptive state.  A simple, yet profound joy often arises in this alliance of mind and heart, camera and surroundings.

Led by meditation teacher and artist Lisa Ernst, the workshop is suitable to beginning and experienced meditators. In addition to several photography sessions, the workshop will include meditation, silence and group interaction. The retreat site, about 35 minutes from downtown Nashville, includes wooded hills, fields, rock formations and interesting structures.

The fee is on a sliding scale from $75 – $100. Two reduced fee slots are available for those who need financial assistance.

A $50 deposit reserves your space and is due by 9/26. Paypal is available here. If paying by check, make it out to One Dharma Nashville and send to One Dharma Nashville, c/o 12 South Dharma Center, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Please include your email address. Details and directions will be sent in advance of the retreat. For more information email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.


Contemplative Photography and Meditation Retreat Recap

Orange Bugs on Pod  photography by Lisa Ernst

Orange Bugs on Pod
photography by Lisa Ernst

On October 5 I led One Dharma Nashville’s 2013 Contemplative Photography Retreat at Penuel Ridge in Ashland City. It’s a beautiful retreat site and very conducive to meditation and photography. Rather than writing a general recap, I thought I’d share something written by one of the attendees, Tracy Wilson about her experience at the retreat:

Some Things I Learned on My Contemplative Photography Retreat

by Tracy Wilson

1. Birds, butterflies, caterpillars and bees wait for no one! They are as engaged with their busy little comings and goings as I am. All things change and change is constant and uncontrollable.

2. I tend to stop breathing when taking photos. When I don’t breathe, my shoulders tense up and I feel uncomfortable. So…breathe!

3. I tend to want to make adjustments to the subject of my photo…moving a leaf here, adding something there. The best photos are taken when I just let things BE as they are and accept. When I let go of trying to control them, I am more at ease and mindful and get better shots.

4. Light changes with the whim of the clouds and the turning of the earth. Photography depends on the amount of light available. It changes what and how I see things and what the camera picks up. When the light changed from morning to afternoon, the world was “new” and many things were illuminated that I had not seen before. Light changes everything.

5. Moving through my day mindfully is very relaxing and decreases inner conflict. The more I slow down, the more I see and hear.

6. Focusing on a leaf floating in a reflective pond quiets the mind.

7. Walking a Labyrinth is a lesson in patience and a beautiful way to walk mindfully. I’d love to have one!

Leaf and reflection in pond at Penuel Rigdge, photograh by Tracy Wilson

Leaf and reflection in pond at Penuel Rigdge, photograph by Tracy Wilson

To see more of Tracy’s shots from the retreat, go here.

Photography Retreat and 2013 Calendar

The  registration deadline for the Contemplative Photography and Meditation workshop is this Friday, September 27th. The location at Penuel Ridge offers many excellent opportunities for interesting and varied photography. Also, I’m pleased that Shelley Davis-Wise has generously offered to create a calendar of our photographs as she did last year. The beautiful calendar was a big success, and also a nice fund raiser for One Dharma.

An image from our 2012 Mindful Photography Calendar

An image from our 2012 Mindful Photography Calendar

You can see images from last year’s calendar here.

To register for the workshop, go here.

Dying to This Moment

In dying to this moment,

We lose ourselves,

but gain everything.

And as Rumi eloquently puts it:

When you lose all sense of self the bonds of a thousand chains will vanish.

A Flock of Egrets - photography by Lisa Ernst

A Flock of Egrets
– photography by Lisa Ernst


Our 2013 Mindful Photography Calendars are Now Available

These calendars were made from photos from our 2012 September Contemplative Photography Retreat. Created by one of our participants, Shelley Davis-Wise, each photo includes a dharma quote or poem. The calendars are for sale during our regular hours and are $15 each. They are a fund raiser for One Dharma. Here are a few sample images:

For more information email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.