November 2015 Newsletter

Yoga Group on Mindfulness Walk

Deep Gratitude!

Annette and I just wish to give our deep thanks for all the people that “arrived” at Quantum Leaps this year.
From the Retreat guests to the Personal Retreat guests, thank you so much.  You allow us to live out our life’s purpose of the raising consciousness of the planet and sharing our beautiful Mother Earth with others.


Any book by Thich Nhat Han,
a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.

They are all jewels to read and enjoy.

Take your pick…


Let us know if you have seen an inspiring
movie lately!

Dear Friends,

Stellar Jay visiting our Bird Feeder

As we write this Newsletter, a Stellar Jay has been visiting the bird feeder once in a while.  We always enjoy having a bird feeder outside the office window.  So when we need a break from the screen we can watch the chickadees, nuthatches, and of course the Jay!  The Red Squirrel likes to show up once in a while too for the free sunflower seed feast!  Lovely!  YES winter is officially here.  Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing are fun and fabulous!  We have a few openings yet at Christmas and New Years if you and your family wish a unique getaway into the peace and quiet of the Blaeberry Valley.  The snow muffles all the sounds and we are bathed in a beautiful quiet this time of year.  Enjoy winter and all it’s blessings!

News from the Blaeberry Valley – there are a lot of properties that have come up for sale over the last months.  In particular a 28 acre parcel of raw land right next door to us.  We are looking for people who may be interested in sharing or creating an eco-village!  Call us if you are curious!

From January 28-February 4th, 2016 Brian and I are super excited to be going to Costa Rica to attend a retreat called Return to Nature.  Held in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica at a Retreat called HOME (Heaven on Mother Earth) we will immerse ourselves in the beauty of the elements of Mother Earth.  This Retreat is led by Grace; an Essence mystic and healer, spiritual teacher, and mystic poet.  If you wish more information email us and we will email you the flyer

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a 10 Day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat from November 4-15th.  Below in this months article, are my reflections on the technique and my time away, unplugged, removed from any communications to the outside world, and sitting 10 hours/day in Meditation. Gratitude of course to Brian who looked after everything at Quantum Leaps while I was away!

As on the LEFT, the gratitude for our lives is so great.  This summer was the inaugural summer of the Transformational Labyrinth.  We guess maybe around 50 people walked through this experience and the feedback was so wonderful!  WOW!  The impact on people’s lives, according to their testimonials, has been great.  We are so happy to plant these seeds of change in people’s minds and hearts to break out of their programming and make our world a better place.  Here are a couple of quotes left behind in the sit spot journals…

“I am healing.  I am nourishing myself.  And by doing so everyone and everything heals”
“The symphony of Mother Earth plays it’s melody.  I hear you with gratitude in my mind, body, and soul. Namaste Mother Earth”

Bridal Veil Falls, Kootenay River, BC

Bridal Veil Falls

wild blessings,
Brian & Annette

Brian and Annette at Bridal Veil Falls, Kootenay River, BC (photo right).

Quantum Leaps Retreats
Golden, BC

Recipe of the Month

Raw Cacao Superfood Smoothie

Power of Vipassana Meditation

From November 4-15th, I travelled to the Vipassana Centre of British Columbia in Merritt to go deeply into the practice of Meditation.  This was the 2nd time I was to embark on this journey within, the previous course being 12 years ago.  Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills.  This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities, called Sankara’s, and the end result is for the highest happiness of full liberation.  This technique is how Buddha reached enlightenment.

Since the time of Buddha, Vipassana has been handed down, to the present day, by an unbroken chain of teachers. Although Indian by descent, the current teacher in this chain, Mr. S.N. Goenka, was born and raised in Burma (Myanmar).  While living there, he had the good fortune to learn Vipassana from his teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin who was at the time a high Government official. After receiving training from his teacher for fourteen years, Mr. Goenka settled in India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969. Since then he has taught tens of thousands of people of all races and all religions in both the East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to help him meet the growing demand for Vipassana courses. Goenka has since passed away and because of his insight and wisdom there are hundreds of Vipassana centres all over the world.

The first time you go to a Centre is free.  You become a Monk or Nun for the 10 days you are there.  Everything is provided for you by the charity of others.  A Pay it Forward idea.  If you have done one course, then after you can give a donation.  Then, as Goenka says in his discourse in the evening, you can’t complain about the food!

When you begin the course you must take the Code of Discipline for the 11 days that you are at the centre.  All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:

  • to abstain from killing any being;
  • to abstain from stealing;
  • to abstain from all sexual activity;
  • to abstain from telling lies;
  • to abstain from all intoxicants.

There are three additional precepts which old students (that is, those who have completed a course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers) are expected to follow during the course:

  • to abstain from eating after midday;
  • to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decorations;
  • to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.

After the first gathering you also enter into NOBLE SILENCE for the next 10 days!

So the Discipline is easy, the silence for me is no problem, not eating after 12 noon (so fasting until 6:30am the following morning) also was no problem for me.  It was the Sitting that challenged me the most!  Usually I only sit down i.e at the computer etc maybe 4 hours/day at most; if that.  Now for 10 days I am to sit in meditation for almost 10 hours / day with small breaks of 10 minutes here and there.  There is a 2 hour break for lunch.  An 1 1/2 at Breakfast.  The rest of the time you are either in your room meditating or in the Meditation Hall.  Consider this on a normal day our eyes are closed while sleeping 7-9 hours/ night.  At Vipassana your eyes are closed for 17 hours at least! This was my greatest challenge. But your eyes are so very rested by the end~

For the first 4 days you practice Anapana Meditation which means to just follow your breath.  All you do is notice the sensation of your breath on your nostrils and upper lip.  Sounds easy?  Ahhh the monkey mind keeps jumping in with this thought or that thought.  When the mind jumps in you are to just go back to your breath.  It is meant to sharpen your mind, create a strong and determined mind.  Whenever you wander off to a thought…you stop and return to breath!  So easy!  Ya right!  The mind is a crazy thing sometimes!

As Goenka says in his evening discourses “work diligently and seriously for this is only 10 days of your precious life; take advantage of this time you have gifted yourself!”.  Ahh the evening discourses are something I looked forward to every evening at 7pm.  The discourse was video taped in 1991 of Goenka teaching a course.  His way of presenting is full of clear information, humor, and beautiful stories.  So many nuggets of wisdom are gathered through these talks.  They are fabulous!

On day 4 it is Vipassana Learning day.  This is where we begin to move from just the sensation at the nostrils to sensing sensation all over the body by doing body sweeps.  As we focus our attention on the body starting at the head and going to the tips of the toes with our focus we will experience all sorts of sensation from light and flowing sensation to gross dense sensations.  The precept is that we are to experience all sensation with equanimity; with neither craving or avulsion.  Ahhh easier said then done.  It is ingrained in us to hate the “bad” feelings and “love” the good feelings.  So when I began to do my body sweeps I had a lovely and vibrating upper body and a dense painful lower body.  To approach this with equal feeling was so hard.  Oh MY MISERY!  coming out of my Sacrum!!!!  This is where in Vipassana I began to do my “deep surgery” with my focus and attention to release the “sankaras” coming out of my sacrum.  Oh my Misery!!!  This is where I really had to understand the law of “anicca or impermanence.” As with everything in life, my pain is always changing and impermanent.  So are the good vibrations; those too are impermanent!  Remembering this precept kept me going and going to approach my pain with an calm and clear mind~ wow was it ever hard though!!!!!

By the end of 10 days it was hard to talk again. I finally got to know my roommate!  Such a curious thing to share a room with someone you don’t know in silence for 10 days!

This practice, these 10 days is again the hardest thing I have ever done yet at the end and when I am home again it is so rewarding to have done it.  In life now, approaching all the wanted and unwanted events of my life with a calm and peaceful mind and with an equanimous mind is such a gift.

Vipassana is also about creating and sharing “metta” or “loving vibrations” out to the world!  With intention, at the end of a practice, we can share the good vibrations to the world.  So as Goenka say “MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY”!  It is really that simple!  This is about cultivating inner peace and creating more happiness in this crazy world of ours!!!!!!!!!

Peace and harmony,