Circle of Stones: Women Flock to Institute of Noetic Sciences Autumn Retreat with Judith Duerk

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In an era of financial worries, competition for jobs and education, and high technology upkeep, women and girls are under tremendous stress at home and in their work or school life. Lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday living, is often the connection with oneself, with others, and with the sacred connection to feminine wisdom. As the year's cycle slowly changes from light to dark, Judith Duerk invites women to draw together and sort through all the parts of their life and choose what should broaden and flourish and what can be left behind, as she leads a Women's Retreat Weekend hosted by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, October 23-25.

Lots of women have lost connection to their being-ness

Judith Duerk is the wise woman everyone wants to know. Leading over a thousand retreats spanning four and a half decades, she comes to the Bay Area to facilitate a transformative weekend of reflection and contemplation to empower women, from young adults to business women or entrepreneurs, mothers or grandmothers, to recover their feminine wisdom in a sacred space that encourages them to find their vision and their voice.

Judith Duerk speaks to women in a nurturing voice that is deeply accepting, understanding and empowering, a voice that calls women back to their center of being. "How might your life be different if…when you felt time pressing in on you, there was a place to go where you were allowed to simply be? If, as you sat silently, in the presence of other women waiting in the stillness with you…and you knew that there would finally be enough time for you? How might your life be different if there had been a place for you to be, a place of women, where you were nurtured as you sought to become yourself?"

These are examples of the mesmerizing incantations that Judith Duerk repeatedly poses (with variations) in her two classic books Circle of Stones and I Sit Listening to the Wind. These two slim volumes have uplifted many women and inspired them to seek out the support of other women in their search for meaning and authenticity. "Every woman needs Circle of Stones by her bed," says Joan Borysenko, seminal author, speaker and former Harvard medical scientist and psychologist.

"Lots of women have lost connection to their being-ness," laments Duerk. "Woman learned to distrust her feelings, the truth of her existence." Autumn is a great time of year for going within, a time to breathe, slow down and be, to let feelings, which may have been suppressed, slowly emerge within a space of trust. Bringing women back to themselves has been Duerk's life work as a psychotherapist, music therapist, leader of women's groups, Tai Chi and Qi Gong (Chi Kung) master and retreat facilitator.

"Other women simply listen silently without interrupting, respecting a woman's need for the listening", explains Duerk. "I am awed by the depth of healing that comes as women sit in a circle, by the power of women keeping silence together and by the truth of their sharing. Just the depth of this listening alone helps to move a woman just a bit further in her own understanding of where she is in her life. Perhaps she experiences the beginning of a new area of healing."

The weekend begins with a separate event, A Reception and Gathering with Judith Duerk, on Friday evening, October 23, from 7:30-10:00. Participants are welcome to stay overnight at the retreat center that evening if space is available. The weekend retreat, beginning on Saturday, October 24 from 12:30 PM (lunch) to ending on Sunday, October 25, 4:30 PM is independent of the Friday evening. All meals are included for the weekend retreats guests, and overnight on Saturday night is optional. For registration, go online to: Registration.

The weekend retreat and Friday evening gathering are sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences as one of their own Transformative Learning Weekends, located at the IONS Retreat Center, 101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, 25 miles north of San Francisco at the border of Marin and Sonoma Counties, just off Highway 101 to the west at the San Antonio Road crossroad. In this beautiful 200-acre setting of oak-studded rolling hills, there will be time to connect, reflect, hike, write, meditate, rest and savor fresh, homemade foods. Please bring a journal, a shawl or blanket, and a drum if you have one. Additional drums will be provided. For more information, contact the Institute of Noetic Sciences by phone: 707-779-8202, or website: IONS. Continuing education credits may be applied.


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Claudia Holt
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