Winter Feast For The Soul

November 30th, 2016 Volume 10, Issue No 2

In this Issue:

A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation, and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness
Jelaluddin Rumi
13th Century poet and mystic

Pray For Standing Rock

We encourage you to add your prayers and intentions to a one-hour prayer on December 4 at 10:00 am CST. To get the latest information please register at


Creating Peace in Your Heart

“It is useless to discuss the peace of the world. What is necessary just now is to create peace in ourselves that we, ourselves, become examples of love, harmony and peace. That is the only way of saving the world and ourselves.

~Hazrat Inayat Kahn
20th Century Prophet and Sufi Teacher

As we approach the holidays and the launch of the next Feast it feels like the world is rapidly finding its way to a new normal.  No matter where you live or where you stand on the political spectrum, it is certainly a time to go within to create space for the best of humanity to step forward.  Hazrat Inayat Khan’s words, above, spoken in the early 20th Century offer clear advice for how to deal with the instability that we see around us.
The Feast for the Soul has an important role to play as we enter this time of uncertainty.

… the inner heart, that space
In which seven hundred universes
Are just a lost speck…

~ Rumi

Thirteenth Century mystic and poet, Jelaluddin Rumi, knew all along what we are trying to create here. This knowing of what science has finally proven was very often true of those philosophers, mystics and madmen who have held our attention for centuries. Speaking to us through contemporary poet and interpreter most excellent, Coleman Barks, Rumi reminds us “God does not look at outward forms, but at the love within your love.”


We Need Your Help to Reach a Larger Community

There are tens of thousands, and perhaps even millions of people looking for this opportunity to find peace in their own lives and to share that peace with everyone in their own community.

Please email Sarah McLean if you are interested in helping us extend an invitation to the Feast to others in your own community.

Here are easy ways to share the Winter Feast for the Soul in your community:

  1. Share the news about the Winter Feast for the Soul by forwarding this newsletter.
  2. Email Sarah McLean and we’ll send you a handful of brochures to share about the Feast
  3. Become a Winter Feast for the Soul Local Area Organizer and inspire those near you to commit to the 40-day practice period.
  4. Gather people in your community for an Opening Ceremony on January 15th. Visit this page to find out more
  5. Start a local Winter Feast for the Soul MeetUp group, or share the Feast with the groups you already belong to

To gain support for your practice you can also:

  1. Join the Facebook Meditation Coaching & Support Group
  2. Like the Feast on Facebook and get the latest news and updates: Winter Feast Facebook Page
  3. Email Sarah McLean for additional support during the Feast.



Faculty for the 2017 Feast

Many of your favorite teachers will be returning to our faculty this year. Sufi teacher Shahabuddin David Less and Rinpoche Anam Thubten will each be offering inspiring attunement messages to help deepen our resolve and commitment to our daily practice during the coming Feast. This year for the first time we will have a Muslim Sufi Sheikh, Ghassan Manasara, on our faculty. Ghassan recently moved to the US from Israel where he was active in creating peace in the Holy Land. Rabbi Diane Elliot will join us for the Jewish tradition offering a somatic approach to our practice. Jeddah Mali will be returning after along absence to raise her family. Jeddah has launched a new initiative: Life Intelligence. Her meditations will prove to be a beautiful directive for the uncertain future that we see ahead of us.


Big Changes For The Feast

For the past four months, I have been working in the capacity of co-director of the Feast with Sarah McLean. You may know Sarah as one of our faculty members for a number of Feasts in the past: Sarah and I have been working together as co-directors seamlessly in anticipation of Sarah becoming the Director of the Winter Feast for the Soul. Sarah has been an active friend of the Winter Feast and as a Local Area Organizer in Sedona Arizona since 2009.

My retirement from the leadership role of the Feast has been teetering on happening for some time now. Today I am happy to turn the leadership of the Feast over to Sarah. I know that Sarah and her team will keep the Feast alive for another ten years, or for as long as it is needed.

Sarah calls herself an American Transcendentalist who has been meditating and teaching for over two decades. Her work is inspired by the Vedic, Buddhist, Christian mystic, and Taoist traditions. In 2006, Sarah founded the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Arizona where she created an interdenominational school for meditation teachers around the world.

Sarah founded the McLean Meditation Institute where she has created an interdenominational school for meditation teachers around the world. Before that Sarah worked with notable spiritual teachers such as Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, and Gary Zukov. This history adds to the rich presence that Sarah brings to her work. Her book:  Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in Eight Weeks with Meditation was published in 2012. Her next book The Power of Attention:  Awaken to Love and Its Unlimited Potential with Meditation will be released by Hay House on February 14, 2017.

Please join me in welcoming Sarah to the post of Director of the Winter Feast for the Soul. I will be stepping down from my recent post as Co-Director with Sarah and will assume a position on the Board of Advisors for another year. Thank you all for your support of our work since 2008.

I leave you with this lovely Gaelic Blessing:

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing Light on you
Deep peace, deep peace.

-- Gaelic Blessing

Valerie Skonie

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