“I currently live with a chronic debilitating illness. As a result of this, I am frequently home-bound and limited in my activities and physical abilities. This further increases isolation, loneliness, depression, and the daily struggles of living with a painful illness. While I have been medically advised to increase my level of physical activity, it has been challenging to do. I finally started hiking for the first time under the thoughtful planning and organization of a group hike led by Zenyu. Every detail was carefully communicated to all 14 LGBTQ participants – what to wear, eat, bring, and expect. The hike was a joyous experience of being in nature with lots of people who were new to this activity or had less experience with it, and there was a great deal of support provided to each person by the organizers. We successfully completed a 7.4 mile hike to Annette Lake while soaking up sunshine, waterfalls, and the beautiful greenery all around us. An entire community of people awaits this hiking trip becoming a monthly adventure, sanctuary, and a space to deepen our connections.
I have also been attending the sound meditation and healing sessions led by Christine for several months now. Each session has had a profound impact – on me individually and as part of the group who is present for that session. My spiritual health has been nourished and strengthened by the bonds of community and by a powerfully gifted spirit guide. Whether I can attend the sound meditation or not, I feel a greater sense of peace and comfort in knowing that this space exists and is accessible.”
-Nitika, queer South Asian woman and spiritual seeker
“I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed today’s session. I’ve only tried meditating a few times, attending a few guided workshops and could never get into it. This was the first time that I participated in a guided healing and meditation that I actually thought was helpful. So again, thank you!”
-Grace Kong, Khmer In Action
“Zenyu’s leadership and community contributions are genuine actions to improve mental and emotional and physical well-being. Personally, to know that there are spaces for Queer People of Color where I will be fully accepted and supported has been invaluable to my life. These spaces are far and few between. Moreover, the organizing and leadership of Zenyu has generated access for people like me, who are carless, to go hiking in the mountains and go on spiritual rejuvenation camping trips. These activities not only get me out and about, increase my physical activity. While hiking, I am enjoying the outdoors, the beauty of nature, and engaging in uplifting conversations. Hiking connects me with people who are becoming a social support network to increase my individual emotional and mental resilience.”
“Hiking and meditating with other POCs has been tremendously empowering for my relationship to my own body, to exercise, and to building vibrant community among marginalized peoples. In the daily grind of work and home, these monthly meditation and hiking experiences have given me a safe and loving home for building healthier habits and better relationships.
The opportunities that POC hiking and meditation provide is personal as well as professional. I work with low-income students of color in two Seattle Public elementary schools, where I teach nutrition and cooking. It is important for me, as a role model for healthy habits, to be connected to the practices that I try to instill in my students, and I rely on these monthly groups to keep me invested in my commitments.”
-Bean, queer youthworker
PRAISE FOR ZENYU’S SPIRITUAL WILDERNESS RETREATS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR:
“After the Spiritual Wilderness Retreat, I was inspired to meditate everyday since! The food was great and I loved the schedule: the meditations, diversity of events, discussion about cultural appropriation and the spiritual path, the creation of our altar. Thank you for this opportunity as it has seriously changed my life!”
-DeAnn Alcantara-Thompson, the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse
“Christine and April, our leaders, were compassionate, flexible, humble and encouraging as they guided us through deep meditations, spiritual exercises, and profound healing ceremonies. They created a warm, open and safe space for us to share and dig deeply into our internal landscapes, but I never felt pressured to share more than I felt comfortable. Overall, I felt completely held by their well-planned retreat structure, leadership during the retreat, and by the incredible community surrounding me. A thousand thank yous to Zenyu!”- Nari Baker
“Deciding to come to his retreat was the best gift I could have given myself during a time in my life of great transition. I felt so taken care of by Christine and April’s thorough preparation and organization that made this retreat possible. This time of healing and connection helped me vision what and how I want to manifest my being and the work I am doing in this world. I am so grateful to Zenyu for reconnecting me to nature, community, and my highest and most joyful self.”
– Meng Yu, FEEST Coordinator
“There are so many things I am thankful for in this world, and Zenyu is very near the top of that list. I was thinking how to list all the wonderful memories and special gifts the retreat provided me, but I really feel as though words can’t even begin to express how much of an impact the retreat had on my spirit. Lots of R words come to mind; rejuvenation, refreshing, replenished, reinvigorated…but love is the biggest gift that was given this past weekend. Thank you for your boundless love, you give so much to so many, which allows us to continue on our paths to hopefully give others the love you have given us.”
– Rachel Anthony, Childhaven
“Thank you, Zenyu, for existing and providing us this opportunity to heal as a community. As my body and mind have begun to react to the stress of my life, healing has become a large part of my life. As a queer mixed-Latina working for social justice change, I find myself in a constant struggle to defeat the feelings of burn out and difficulty connecting with others. In the legal profession in which I work, I often feel like an outsider. It was so healing to enter a space where I felt I could be me, with others who wanted to know the real me. Being surrounded by trees, water and the sky provided an atmosphere that allowed me to feel more grounded. It also encouraged me to seek out nature more often and in a more spiritual way in my daily life.
Most of all, the opportunity to share, reflect and go inward surrounded by individuals with the same value system and similar experiences had a larger impact than I could have imagine. The POC retreat will prove so necessary in continuing on my path toward spiritual growth. Just in the past week the loving supporting environment of the Retreat allowed me to be and feel more present with friends, loved ones and all those I encounter in my work as a social justice advocate. It also helped me address differently the many difficulties and oppressions I encounter on an institutional and societal level that often leave me feeling hopeless.
I left with new healthy practices of meditation and positive thinking. I also left committed to continuing these practices. Thank you for making this space for healing possible. I didn’t want to leave that safe space, and cannot wait to take advantage of more Zenyu events.”
-Lillian Hewko, Social Justice Advocate, Legal Voice