True Nature Travels Blog

The True Nature of Family


Just a couple of hours ago our Chant Together: A Family Bhakti Yoga Celebration with David ‘Durga Das’ Newman, Mira Newman, and Friends departed. It was a wonderfully rich week of retreat. Bhakti Yoga is also known as the yoga of devotion and love. The essence of this week was just that.

Standing on the incredible Finca Luna Nueva Lodge property, I gaze into the distance at the vast rainforest before me. When looking with one point of view, all I observe is a sea of green; when looking closely I see the intricate web of life before me, with the vast array of flora and fauna. Trees, flowers, birds, water.

The journey of retreat reveals a similar comparison. Each retreat in a way is very similar: a group of people coming together, practicing together, residing as a community, and then journeying onward. But, when we really move into the intimate intricacy of retreat, what beholds is truly an exquisite, unique experience to live through.

This week we explored a new facet – opening to the potential of sharing the retreat experience with families. Our retreat had three families with children: a mother and daughter, and another couple, along with some single adults. In the past I have had apprehension about the potential distraction that the family element might bring into retreat. I have been familiar for many years with a paradigm of retreat that was quiet, introspective, and focused towards a sense of personal time. I was curious about how this would be impacted with the element of children and family.

photo (19)David brought forth a beautiful reflection through his teachings this week. Sharing with us the profound transformation he had experienced over the past several months, his message was that “we all have the opportunity to awaken to the perfection of our ordinary selves.

This message was a perfect teaching for this retreat, which was filled with some very deep moments, but also some very sweet, simple, and light moments of laughter, playing, singing, sharing meals, and more. Speaking with David yesterday I was sharing my feeling that this retreat might not have had quite as much depth and healing as some retreats, but it had a lot of light and fun. David shared, “Maybe the deepest healing can be found in 1272111_817736208241640_311867016_othe light and fun?”

Experiencing the playful reflection of Tulsi and Jaya (our daughters) undoubtedly brought forth a sense of joy and open-heartedness to all throughout the week.

To experience retreat with my family, and now my young daughter, is a truly enriching experience. Finding ourselves tucked away in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest near the powerful Arenal Volcano, watching my little girl eating pineapple, spotting sloths in the trees, swimming in the Tabacon Hot Springs, and sitting at a candlelight Kirtan at night,  I often have smiled at my wife, Kristin Luna Lay, throughout the week, thinking to myself, “This is quite a life we are living.”

After Week One of three weeks of back-to-back retreats in Costa Rica, I am feeling deeply grateful, inspired, and at awe of the grace and beauty that we are a part of
co-creating here at this time.

I am thankful to all of the souls who journey to come join us, to the Costa Rican people for welcoming us continually to their homes, and for the spirit of the land and the animals that watch over us and smile each day. My True Nature is smiling back.

Joshua Canter
Founder/Director of True Nature Education