Hi Everyone I work on the board of directors for the Treatment Educat10n Network a 501c3 providing supoprt and education to people living with HIV/AIDS. We do a monthly forum and an annual retreat to Grand Lake, CO at a extremely reduced rate. The retreat provides volunteer massage therapists, acupuncture, T'at Ji, Q'ui Gong, Reflexology and so much more. Most people cannot afford to do ANYTHING like this so we do fundraising all year with the AIDS WALK being the most important. As a partner agency we get 60% back from the walk to sponsor our organization and its events. Information can be found below for our group T.E.N. and The Aids Walk Colorado. I can tell you from a personal place that I would NOT have survived 20 years with HIV without the help and support of this group!!
Our main goal was to raise $10,000 but as there are only 5 days left til the walk, and we can continue to get donations for 3 weeks past the walk I am reaching out for support. Medical issues have had me in the hospital for surgeries and I have NOT had the time or resources (a car) to get out there and generate funds for the walk.
Please if you would consider sponsoring me? I am the team co-captain and would like to set a great example for our team members and the people we help!
www.ontheten.org This is our organization and everything we do!
https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1060907&supId=388505225 This is my AIDS WALK COLORADO page for donations, PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN EVERY PENNY GOES TO HELP PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS AND TRUST ME OUR MEDICATIONS AND EVERYTHING ARE VERY EXPENSIVE!!
This walk provides the most fundraised money for a majority of HIV/AIDS organizations in Colorado and I would LOVE to get $5,000 so that we can invite more people up to the retreat at shadowcliff in 2014
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND CONSIDERATION!
Michael Moffett, T.E.N. Board of Directors, Aids Walk Co-Captain, 20 years Living STRONG with HIV
WANTED TO ADD THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ONE OF OUR ATTENDEES AT THE LAST RETREAT:
GRAND LAKE (July 11-14, 2013)—Outside the Rempel Lodge at Shadowcliff, Michael Dorosh rings the bell, a call summoning the attendees of the annual HIV Retreat to the chapel for the Welcome and Opening Session. As each person enters the quiet, reverent space, he or she assumes the outstretched arms position as Maureen O’Connor waves her sagebrush wand up-and-down and left-to-right across each sacred soul, cleansing the body, and ridding the mind of negative energy.
The Shadowcliff is an historic, rustic, and beautiful alpine lodge that is built on a high-and-large “cliff mound” of granite arising from the North Inlet Stream Valley and bordering Rocky Mountain National Park, Arapahoe Forest, and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The cliff is perched overlooking Grand Lake Village and the Colorado “Great Lakes area.” It was built over a 45-year period by more than 200 volunteers from 30 different countries, on land that is sacred to the Native American community.
“Even upon arrival at the Retreat Center for the first time, I could feel the blessing and peace of the land,” says O’Connor, a regular at the retreat since 2005. “Upon hearing the story of how it came into being, the love and devotion that went into the conception of Shadowcliff – how could it not be a blessed place? The love that impelled such generosity of spirit could not be simply the love of human beings. It had to be divine and I do not believe anyone could come there without being affected by that love, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.”
Retreat Co-Director Michael Dorosh said that Pat and Warren Rempel – the founders and previous owners of Shadowcliff – fulfilled a lifetime dream of creating the sacred sanctuary and making it a very special place. During that process, they raised two sons and one daughter. One of their sons, Scott, came out as gay, and they fully embraced that and became involved in P-FLAG.
Then in 1989, he developed AIDS and died. Back then, people living with HIV got sick and died rather quickly. In 1990, the Rempels came up with the idea of having a Shadowcliff Retreat for people with HIV/AIDS. At first, it was just to get away to a nice place in the mountains for a weekend, but eventually evolved into an agenda packed retreat with discussions, workshop, and seminars. The retreat is now a program of the Treatment Educat10n Network (TEN)†. It is organized and run by volunteers, and is very grassroots in nature and spirit.
“I feel that Shadowcliff holds a magical ability to allow people to disconnect from the trouble, pain, stress and fear that we face in our daily lives,” says Retreat Co-Director Michael Moffett. “As the weekend progresses you find yourself connecting with people on a spiritual level in a majestic setting. Shadowcliff has an inexplicable way of guiding you to people that are kindred spirits, I feel instant connections are made and that these bonds forged will be lifelong. I came away from that experience with a new outlook on the world, myself and my personal struggles with being HIV+, capable of conquering the world. I wanted, more than ever, to return and share that amazing magic with others.”PARTICIPANT VIEWPOINTS
Nigel Brown from Louisville, Kentucky, was first diagnosed HIV positive about 1-1/2 years ago. His initial reaction was one of shock and then experiencing a “touch of denial” then to acceptance and going into the "What to do now?" stage and then, oddly enough, a slight sigh of relief. “Which lead me into all sorts of research and books,” he says. “In a lot of ways I feel and go through life the same, but with more interest in being present for life and living it, whereas in the past, I was more obsessed with what it was like after death. It does affect how I look at getting into any type of intimate relationship and increased hesitancy to be vulnerable.”
T.J. Black from Denver, Colorado – the youngest person to attend the retreat – was diagnosed in March 2013. When Black initially found out, he started to lose sleep and became really depressed. “At the time, I was searching for a new career and fresh out of a relationship,” he says. “With everything turning for the worst, I knew I had to do something. I embraced my new disease and started making healthier and meaningful choices. It gave me a chance to wake up and see life in front of me.”
In the spring, Brown began to do Internet research to find the best HIV retreat in the nation—one that was beneficial to his needs and respected his boundaries by providing a safe environment and one that went beyond inspirational coaching that had a holistic and healing approach. He sought out more interaction with others who are HIV positive and who are walking in the “same shoes.” It was important for him to see multiple perspectives of those from all walks of life and in different degrees of time living with HIV, he says.
By attending the retreat, Brown discovered that he was "normal." He learned how to make intelligent medical decisions and heard how others have made theirs. The open discussions has influenced him to re-evaluate and to change some of his previous health decisions and to continue with others already in place, he says. “I got to see how important it is to be honest with myself and my internal dialog and to communicate with others," he says. "I wasn't looking for a group therapy ‘meet-and-greet’ that seems to have an AA meeting feel to it.
“I felt very drawn to the retreat and knew it was an opportunity to heal parts of myself that I hadn't, or was not able to, here at home. It is an amazing experience. I can tell that you get what you put into it. No one is there to make sure you have the healing experience. It all belongs to the individual attending. I went for healing. It met my expectations easily!”
When talking to others about the retreat, Black says that he wasn’t prepared for the spiritual aspect of the place. “I am a very open and thoughtful individual, but I’m also not into any particular religion or spirit. I took it for what it was and embraced the self-reflection and meditation. I loved some of the deep conversations and discussions. I also thought having a mix of both men and women was amazing.”PRACTITIONER PERSPECTIVES
According to Michael Moffett, every retreat offers individuals the setting and environment to relax and open themselves up to new ideas. Participants get the tools to explore HIV, how it affects them, and to offer techniques and therapies that treat the mind, body, and spirit as a whole, he says. Attendees have the opportunity to explore acupuncture, Chinese meditative healing arts such as T’ai Ji & Qigong, chiropractic, massage, meditation, reflexology, and yoga along with many other options including outdoor activities.
“I see the healing arts as helping the practitioner to return to self—to their true self,” says Maureen O’Connor, a certified massage therapist who specializes in Esalen massage. “This in itself is always healing and restorative. It takes one out of the place of feeling like a victim, perhaps helpless and hopeless or afraid, and gives one the opportunity to become the hero of their own story. If taken to a great depth, they allow the practitioner to find within themselves their own reason for being here; solidifies their connection to the Divine; and brings a sense of health, harmony, and peace.”
Christopher Coppedge, a holistic health professional and licensed massage therapist, says that there are many benefits to yoga, T’ai Ji, Qigong, and meditation. They encourage a state of equanimity, lower heart rate, and ease stress levels. Lowering stress levels alone will enhance immune system function. From his perspective, everyone should be attempting to engage in one or more of these activities daily, even if it is only for 10 minutes.
Making his 17th retreat visit, Coppedge specializes in Vital Force Therapy. On his massage table, which is set up in Rempel Lodge next to the fireplace, he forms circular patterns in the air around the body’s chakra regions—aligning them into a state of balance, he says. The concept is that all physical ailments have an energetic root, which causes a physical disturbance. If the practitioner can help the client shift that energetic root (bring it into balance and alignment), then the physical disturbance should lessen or cease, he says.
“Some clients feel body sensations of floating off of or sinking into the table; others feel as if they disappear,” he says. “Some feel warm and heavy. Some feel electricity and see bright vibrant colors. Others resolve past emotional issues and open their eyes with a new found clarity. Some just smile, weep, give me a hug, and tell me that their burden is gone.
"It is our perception of our experiences that make our journey sacred. I try to encourage the retreat participants to take the knowledge they have gained from the retreat with them, and implement those experiences into their daily lives. If we create sacred moments where we stand, our lives become a hallowed passage and our perception of reality shifts on a profound level. But all of this begins at the Shadowcliff Retreat with the mystique that it holds for the participants."
†The mission of the Treatment Educat10n Network (TEN) is to educate and empower individuals with HIV by providing information, skills, and knowledge, in a proactive and supportive environment. Visit http://www.ontheten.org/. For more information about the Shadowcliff Lodge & Retreat Center, go to http://shadowcliff.org/.