The view from the great hall veranda at Harmony Hill.
The view from the Great Hall veranda at Harmony Hill.

We just got back from a blessed adventure. Wednesday through Friday we attended a family retreat at Harmony Hill, a beautiful healing center near Hood Canal, a little more that 3 hours north east of Astoria.  This has been a wonderful week.  We all feel so lucky to have been able to attend the retreat. To be together- separate from all devices, connecting with ourselves, each other and with other families who have a parent traveling the cancer-ing path.  We are grateful to our friend Ann, who wrote to us about it. We wouldn’t have gone without her suggestion. It is the mission of Harmony Hill to offer the program for free, it is three days of rest, nourishing food, mediation, art making, yoga and support circles. All in an incredibly beautiful setting with lovely gardens overlooking Hood Canal and the Olympic mountains.   Harmony Hill really exemplifies how a space can be healing, and follows up with such loving intent and enriching daily rhythm, that it is truly amazing.

Next to the redwood labyrinth at Harmony Hill
Next to the redwood labyrinth at Harmony Hill
Our family Collage that we made at the retreat.
Our family Collage that we made at the retreat, installed on our refrigerator.

We returned home last night renewed, and inspired to continue with some of the daily rhythms that we experienced on the retreat. This morning our new kitten joined Joe and I in our Harmony inspired morning meditation session.

Mr. Sparky AKA RatBag invited himself into my morning meditation, giving it a purr soundtrack.
Mr. Sparky, AKA RatBag, invited himself into our morning meditation, providing a purr soundtrack.

May all beings know peace.

May all beings know love.

May all beings know compassion.

May all beings be happy.


Today is Sam’s 16th Birthday, so Now I’m going to go wake him up so we can celebrate on this beautiful summer’s day.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. sortingthingsout says:

    First, happy birthday, Sam. May you — and your whole family — have many more and many happy ones more.

    Iris, my partner Ken and I went to Harmony Hill several years ago and benefited greatly as well. (At they one, they offered a massage workshop as well, my fondest therapy of all.). I’m chagrined I didn’t think to recommend that place to you and yours, but I’m glad you found it.

    Spike is coming to town later this month, so I’m expecting to grab fast to her coattails and be able to see you then. I’ve been projecting — from my experience with cancer and especially when I had my stem cell transplant February of 2012 and the year of recovery afterwards — that you have plenty of well-wishes to take care of, in addition to family doings and business doings and down time after treatments and travel, so I’ve been following your pooka journey here. You’re such a thinker and feeler and researcher and liver of a full life and conscientious mother, wife, friend, and citizen that your plate is plenty full.

    Just know that I keep you in my thoughts and keep sending some of those thoughts back to the universe — or wherever they go — with the essence: I hope she stays on that pooka ride a long time because the world needs her. Oh and because you seem to love life and your brood too much to settle for an early exit, as long as you can stay happy and relatively healthy.

    Thank you for the reports and all the musings and sharing of feelings, the sharing of profound experiences and lessons.

  2. Meg says:

    Happy Birthday Sam!!! Wow. 16. Who knew?

    Iris, I’m so glad to hear that you all went on retreat. Wonderful news. I’ve been drooling over the Harmony Hill website for quite some time, and really must get up there with Mark.

    I think the people I’ve met at various retreats (Menucha, Whidbey Institute) have really helped me in my journey, and I’ve been able to help them too, which feels really wonderful.

    Unfortunately, no dogs allowed at retreats though…

    Speaking of which, I would love to have Trudy meet your kitty properly to make sure they get along. When’s a good time? You’ve got my email and phone.


  3. Julia says:

    What a wonderful oasis offering rest and renewal for your family. Thank you for sharing and a very happy birthday to Sam! His maturity and grace had me thinking him a bit older:) Love to you all, Julia

  4. Anne B. says:

    I’m so glad you and your family were able to attend the retreat! I know they can have waiting lists, so I thought of you immediately when the newsletter said there were openings. May your healing continue.

    Happy Birthday Sam! I reflect on when I first met you at the Community Store; a new homebirth mother with babe in arms. I was (and am) so passionate about birth that I’d wished I’d moved to town sooner to support you. After all these years, I’ve finally applied to nurse-midwifery school which was the whole point of becoming a nurse in the first place! I’ll find out in Oct. if I’m accepted. Wish me luck. Lots of love, Anne

  5. Ned and Lulu Heavenrich says:

    How amazingly wonderful. So glad for all of you and Happy Birthday Sam!

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