This past summer, Don arrived at Sedona Mago Retreat for the very first time. Recently, he agreed to be interviewed regarding his retreat experience. This is his story.
I had a personal situation – my marriage had ended – and I was planning on going to Sedona just to get away and hike, and then I thought, why just go to a hotel? Why not try something more? After some research, I found Mago and it appealed to me, especially because I practice meditation and yoga several days a week.
What made you decide to attend a retreat there and which one did you choose?
There was something about Mago that attracted me. After speaking with someone there on the phone, I was able to better understand the program’s intent. I knew nothing about Dahn Yoga and I didn’t know if this was for me, but I needed something life altering. I took a chance, cancelled my hiking plans, and decided to attend the Four Day Meditation Retreat.
What did you hope to achieve?
My goals were simple. Due to the chaos in my life, I needed to clear my mind and further enhance my meditation practice. Something was missing in my meditation, and I wasn’t even sure what it was.
Did you find out what was missing in your meditation?
Yes, thanks to Genia! She provided key insights into my practice to help me bring my awareness into focus. She recognized the problem – I needed to be centered. She centered me whenever possible and told me to focus on where my awareness was at the time.
What were your favorite parts of the program?
First of all, my instructor, Genia! She made it work. Couldn’t get enough of her and her teachings! The grounds were amazing – especially the Healing Garden. Also, as a vegan, and particular about what I eat, the food was surprisingly good. Lastly, ALL of the staff had an incredible energy that emoted throughout my stay.
How did the Four Day Meditation Retreat help you?
It really grounded me. I was going through a difficult time, my life was in disarray, and the four days in Sedona helped me to leave much better off than when I had arrived. On the five-and-a-half hour drive home, all I could think about were all the good things I had experienced over those past few days.
The retreat also helped me to look forward and with no regrets. I’m looking at today and tomorrow now – my philosophy is today’s a great day and tomorrow will be even better. And I smile a lot more!
What is the most important thing you learned about yourself?
I’d never thought I could do something like this – to take the time to think through things and do something just for me, something to help me become a better person. I could never have done this when I was married. For years, I was faced with problems and stress at work, and then problems and stress at home. I finally had to do something for me, and something inside me said, “Try this.”
How are you integrating your new insights into your daily life?
I start every morning with meditation and, what’s more, I look forward to it – it’s a new day, a better day. Genia gave me direction – to be in the moment by asking myself, “Where is my awareness?” I ask myself this all the time and it’s been very helpful.
How would you sum up your experience at Sedona Mago Retreat?
Very positive – and I can’t wait to return. In fact, when I did yoga at dawn on the grounds, I didn’t realize how dirty my mat got until I got back home. But I didn’t want to wash the energy of that land away. I wanted to retain any energy that I’d gained from Mago to be at home with me!
What more would you like to learn and what do you think is the next step on your spiritual path?
Aside from the fact that I still need to focus more, I’d like to learn how to deepen my meditation principles. I also want to learn more about yoga – especially Dahn Yoga. Right now, though, I need to clear up some things, and it’s rough, but staying grounded is helping me a lot to deal with it.
What other realizations have you had through this retreat?
The best part is I’m not feeling stuck anymore. I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also realized that I have a lot of positive qualities that I didn’t even realize were there. I’m looking forward to putting my life’s disarray behind me.
Do you have any other observations you’d like to share?
Yes, I definitely plan on coming back. I’d heard a lot of things about Sedona and experiences people have there but, to me, Mago is Sedona Plus. As magnificent a place as Sedona is, Mago is special – and different.
And what’s interesting about my journey there is it wasn’t a good time for me to go when I did. There were many distractions going on, very tough problems to face, but it ended up being a really great experience. The retreat was not only helpful in helping me get through some difficult moments, but also became a life altering experience!
Was there anything at all that you didn’t like about Mago Retreat?
The only thing was that bumpy road. Did they ever grade it? It was horrible and I dreaded having to take it again when I left. How about a heliport to get people there?
Don’t you think that road could be a metaphor for life, though – that life is a bumpy road sometimes but either we concentrate on every bump or ease gently over them in meditation?
No. It’s a bumpy road. How about a heliport? That would be a lot better. Really.
Thank you, Don, for sharing this with us. We hope to see you soon!
It’s my pleasure – and I hope so, too!