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Lions Roar : September 2019
retreat, it came to me that all my illness was a mani- festation of spiritual pain. The retreat allowed me to admit to myself that I was holding in family secrets.” Buddhist teachings and practices are particularly useful for mapping physical trauma, says Alexander. She explains that the primary reason to hold DTL as a Buddhist retreat is to bring teachings about compassion, self-compassion, and awareness to the participants. “We can rest in Buddhist practices,” she says. “We are calming the mind. We are touching the heart. We are unearthing our identities. We are piercing the veil of the manifestations we’ve been attached to in order to use our direct experience to heal collective wounds. “We met each participant exactly where they were, be it vulnerable, wounded, longing for connec- tion, or merely curious about the patterned nature of their lives,” Alexander continues. “For many, being able to hear, ‘I see you,’ began a cycle of compassion- ate responses needed to embody deep discoveries.” The first Deep Time Liberation retreat ended with two days in New Orleans, which contains one of the first slave ports established in the British colonies. The group visited Congo Square, where slaves were able to rejoice on Sundays with drums and danc- ing and singing. They visited a well-known, Black- owned restaurant and St. Augustine’s Church, where the tomb of the unknown slave is resting. In visiting the historical sites of slavery, the facili- tators write, “We come to know who we are. We are walking onto the ancestral lands as the enslaved did, sensing that experience, reflecting, then peel- ing back the layers of where our own history and our own family’s stories connect to our present-day experiences. The DTL journey calls forth resilience and helps reveal our true nature that has been lost, stolen, and forgotten over generations of historical harm. We actually are extremely resilient.” ♦ Above left: Retreatant Ginetta Glass in silent contemplation at the Whitney Plantation. Right: Rosetta Saunders and retreatant Beli Sullivan embrace. “The teachers were so incredibly loving,” says Sullivan. “They were the beacon we were looking for.” PHOTOBYRMUSA/ALAMYSTOCKPHOTOPHOTOSBY(L)NOLIWEALEXANDER,(R)DIANEYASKI The second Deep Time Liberation retreat is planned for May 2020, when the organizers hope to offer the retreat as dana to those who can’t afford it. You can offer your support to make this a reality at w w w.deeptimelib.org. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 39