The Elder’s Journey: Four Shields of Eldering for Women

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Sep 25th, 2021 - Oct 1st, 2021 | Big Pine, California | Silvia Talavera, Sara Harris | Living the Practices

Throughout the ages, elder women have enjoyed sitting in circle to weave the rich tapestries of their stories, stories that continued to warm and inspire people across time and culture.

What about us, now, in our time? As women in all stages of growing into our greater years, there is a growing passion and a commitment to tell our own stories and to create a new myth to help us to grow into the most positive women elders possible. We have children, or we are childless, we are single or we are partnered, working or retired, healthy or feeling the struggles of the body. Whatever stage of elderhood we find ourselves navigating, it is imperative that we find our way with humor, grace, and dignity. Death awaits us all and how we move through these years is of utmost importance.

Elderhood is a cyclical experience that can be a ripening of our strengths rather than the dulling of our minds through an unlived life. From the words of social activist Maggie Kuhn, “Old age is not a disease. It is a strength in survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illness.” This speaks to aging as an extraordinary achievement. It is an opportunity to re-awaken the imagination towards new possibilities and a renewed spirit inspired by the wisdom of living we have acquired.

As women ripen into the various stages of elderhood, it may be time to re-map the landscape to make room for the emerging new perspectives of what it means to be an elder. Through honoring the years of a life lived and awaken to another level of life. The interior life and search for the sacred. Creating new meaning and imparting our gifts in service, we move towards transformation and into a renewed vitality, creativity, and vision. This program is an invitation to open to what is needed to welcome the elders we are becoming.

Program Overview: During our time together, we will explore ways to deepen into a more conscious approach to how we can live as elder women in the world today. We will recall our personal stories, life experiences, and collected knowledge and discover ways to transform them into our wisdom and our medicine. We will explore an ancient means of looking into the mirror of nature (the Four Shields) that will reflect and support the wisdom of the elders as a natural point for introspection and meaning. These teachings and the earth itself will help to bring what is needed to your own particular stage of this rich new frontier.

Program Questions Contact: Silvia Talavera at [email protected]

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TUITION: $750 - $1,325
DEPOSIT: $300

Sliding Scale: To honor the vast difference of financial resources among us, all of our program tuition is based on a sliding scale. We set forth no criteria and ask that you pay what is appropriate for your circumstances and access to financial resources. You can see recommendations on using the sliding scale here. If the low end of the sliding scale is still too much, scholarship assistance is available , please reach out to the office for more info.

Cancellations: Cancellations are hard on the participant, the School, and the guides. We respect the unpredictability of life, and we are diligent about running an organization sustainably.

-If you cancel 60 or more days prior to the start date of your program, you will receive a full refund of any tuition paid, minus any deposits.

-If you cancel 59 days or less prior to the start date of your program, and we can fill your spot, then you will receive a full refund of any tuition paid, minus any deposits.

-If we cannot fill your spot, and you cancel within 59 days of the start of your program, then we hold you accountable for paying the tuition at the lowest end of the sliding scale.

Submit enrollment form

 Please fill out and submit the enrollment form and then pay the program deposit below. After your enrollment form is complete, please submit all health and liability forms.

Pay program deposit

Deposits: This deposit signifies your commitment to the program and is deducted from the tuition balance. All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. They cover the work of the specific course you signed up for, including all communication involved as well as the fee that guides pay to the school administration for the course accounting. 

Additional Deposit: Some programs require a second deposit to help us affirm commitments. Last minute cancellations make it hard to fill openings and incur a loss of income to the School and the guides.

Tuition Balance: Balance of tuition can be paid before or upon arrival. Simply deduct any deposits made from the amount you’ve chosen on the sliding scale.

Submit Waitlist form

This program is full; however, you may add your name to the Waitlist by clicking the Waitlist button below.

Additional course details & Materials

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We will be camping at Baker Creek Campground in Big Pine, California near the foothills of the Eastern Sierras. The landscape offers many walking trails as well as beautiful areas to find solitude that are easily accessible by foot or car. We encourage people to arrive no later than Saturday, September 25th at 1:00 PM to allow time to set up your camp. Our first meeting will begin at 3:00 PM on Saturday, September 25th, and we will complete our ceremony on Friday, October 1st approximately 12:00 PM.

Though we will be camping the entire time, no camping experience is necessary. There will be guides and assistants to help with unloading vehicles and setting up tents. For those who do not wish to camp, there are motels very nearby. The Baker Creek Campground offers vault toilets and there are picnic tables at each site with a stream that runs through the campground.

ADDITIONAL FEES: Camping Fees TBD

You will be responsible for bringing your own food and equipment, though we can provide some gear if needed. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. You will need to bring shelter and clothing suitable for a full range of inclement weather. 

To address safety concerns during the pandemic, please contact us regarding our current Coronavirus protocols as well as any current travel restrictions. These protocols may affect how you are able to travel to the program. Please note: As of November 2021, unvaccinated international travelers are not currently permitted entry to the USA as per current CDC Guidelines.

All participants must submit the required health questionnaire and liability form.

If you have questions about the enrollment process contact us at [email protected] or call 760-938-3333.

There is no required reading for this program.

Big Pine is located in what is known today as the Owens Valley of California, but it’s true name is Payahuunadü meaning “Land of the Flowing Water”. This valley is the ancestral and contemporary land of the Nüümü and Newe people.

To learn more about our commitment to regenerative relationships please visit Cultural Relations.

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