March 2016 - Welcoming Spring
Dear STAR Friends,
After the closing circle at the end of STAR we have been very busy making sure that every part of STAR is moving forward. It had been over 12 years since I had the privilege of leading and facilitating a STAR Group. I am so pleased to say that it was just like getting back on a bicycle after many years, a little wobbly at first and the next thing you know you are flying down the road with your hands in the air.
Every STAR group is special and our February group was no exception. This brave and beautiful group of people were so honest in their desire to release old pain and showed such tenacity as they changed their thinking about themselves, their pasts and their possibilities for the future.
So much hope and love is always found at STAR and the most important love of all, love and forgiveness of the self. I am writing to you from Las Vegas as I am attending a weeklong conference for the National Council for Behavioral Health, my previous employer. Las Vegas is a very strange place to host a conference on addictions and mental health, but it is one of the only ones that can host a conference of over 5500 people. You have to walk through the Casinos to get to anything, it is massive in size, loud, bright and very unsettling. Needless to say, I will be so happy to get back to the Ranch on Thursday to the peace, quiet and beauty of the Arizona high desert.
One of the wonderful things that I have experienced this week was the privilege to host and spend two days with Dr. Gabor Mate’. We have come such a long way since I first started doing STAR in what and how we can speak about alternative ways of healing and Pre and Peri-natal Psychology. Dr. Mate’, a world renowned medical doctor and trauma expert spoke very succinctly about the importance of the maternal/child bond or the lack of it as it relates to healthy/unhealthy attachment. He talked eloquently of the intrauterine world of the child and the impact stress on the fetus.
I highly recommend watching any of his videos online and certainly reading any of his books.
And speaking of books, an excerpt from Star Founder Barbara Findeisen’s new book, "Womb Prints: Discover Life’s First Impressions" is below. We are so pleased that it will be available soon.
2016 Spring STAR Retreat
May 6, 2016 - May 15, 2016
2016 Summer STAR Retreat
July 22, 2016 - July 31, 2016
2016 Fall STAR Retreat
September 1, 2016 - September 11, 2016
I hope you will join us at one of our upcoming retreats.
So back to walking the miles of Caesar’s Palace and hopefully learning from others as well as teaching others about STAR, trauma, attachment and creating sanctuary wherever we are in the world, even Las Vegas.
Peace and blessings,
- Cheryl Sharp, Executive Director, Star Foundation
My book is finished and is at the printers!
And it will be available on Amazon very soon. In the meantime, here is a peek - look forward to sharing more with you.
"Babies do cry it out. The overwhelming biological and emotional need for mothering will demand to be met. It is the infant's primary means of communication. Finally, they give up! They shut up and adapt. They may also shut down. Eventually, the system breaks down, exhaustion and hopelessness set in, and the depressed infant surrenders. Yes, they give up, but what else do they give up? They may look like they are happy, peaceful, and loving because they have really learned to pretend and perform in order to guarantee their safety. The greatest loss is their authentic self, now on idle deep within. They long for genuine acceptance and ultimately genuine reassurance that they matter."
- Barbara Findeisen, Founder, Star Foundation
The Februray Star was incredible for me. I have been working with Barbara at Star for the past 17 years and it is such a thrill for me to be leading and facilitating again. And it is so amazing to be back at beautiful Kenyon Ranch. I remember the day that I drove Barbara to the ranch in my red Mustang convertible. The ranch was in a terrible state and she and Charlie bought it and transformed it into the beautiful, healing retreat center that it is today. I feel I am back home with my tribe!
We had such a fabulous staff and they worked so hard and we all pulled together to make the workshop a huge success! I just can't thank our wonderful facilitators enough!
In my own life, I use a lot of valuable tools to create health and well-being. One of the tools I have been using for about 20 years is meditation. I try to do 20-30 minutes per day, but don't always get it in. Meditation is a practice of listening to your breath and trains you to stay in the present moment. It frees you from the "monkey mind" or relentless chatter that goes on within.
Meditation promotes the "relaxation response" and counters the physical and emotional impact of stress.
It has been documented that meditation can change our gene activity and actually heals our brains. It also improves sleep, general health, and affects our genes at a cellular level.
I highly recommend it and it is very simple to start a practice. Just sit in an upright position and focus on your breath going in and going out of your body. Your mind will wander to thoughts, but just notice it and return to your breath. Set a timer so you will know when it is time to stop. Start with just 5 minutes to begin. Gradually build up to 20, 30 or even 60 minutes.
I hope you will try meditation and I hope it will be a healing tool for you.
- Candace, STAR Foundation, Clinical Director
Thank you to our February Star participants for joining us and sharing some of your experiences below...
“Star is not a place where you can continue your old habits. You are essentially forced to change because “You” realize there “is” a part of you that can and wants to change. STAR is full of amazing loving accepting people, both staff and participants. If you give it the time to work, it will. The process did so much for me. Thank you.” - Jennifer H.
“I’m amazed at the transformation in not only myself, but those I met over these 10 days. I will never be the same, and that is the most wonderful feeling. STAR allows us to release the pain in our hearts so it can be filled with wonderful feelings.” - Kimberly
“This exceeded my expectations and was the transformational experience I had hoped for but was skeptical about. Thank you all.” - Oliver M.
“My experience at STAR was great. The staff and atmosphere was comforting and healing. I learned so much from the process and would highly recommend it to others.” - Emily
“STAR has saved my life! I am leaving with a much deeper understanding of the various parts of and how they influence me in my daily life and in the decisions I make. I feel much more integrated, more whole. Most importantly, I left STAR with a much deeper level of self-love and self-acceptance than ever before. Truly a life-saving and life-affirming experience." - Jeff D.
The STAR Foundation's mission is to provide nurturing intensives where adults experience empowerment and inspiration, and are given tools to transform their lives.
We also hope that you will continue your generous contributions to STAR Foundation in order to fulfill our mission, vision, and values.
There are several ways you can contribute:
- You can pledge monthly support. Your gift helps us cover operational costs, workshop leader salaries and provides a stable financial base for our work.
- You can make a one-time donation.
- You can dedicate your donation to the general fund or one of two scholarship funds; General Scholarship or our new Diversity Scholarship to encourage participation from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Your support will be greatly appreciated. You can make checks payable to STAR Foundation – our mailing address is below. You can also donate online at our website here www.starfound.org/donations. STAR Foundation is tax-exempt under 501(c) (3) of the I.R.S. Code EIN 77-0009281.
Please mail donations to:
STAR Foundation, PO Box 1554, Tubac, AZ 85646
Visit www.starfound.org for more information, to register for a retreat, or to make a donation in support of our programs. The STAR© Retreat is a 501c3 non profit. The STAR© Retreat stands alone among personal growth workshops with its 1-to-2 staff to participant ratio. Its remarkably large, diverse, and knowledgable staff provide you, as a participant, a safe, unparalleled level of personalized attention creating an extremely individualized and tailored experience. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter by visiting the links below.
Kenyon Ranch photos courtesy Susannah Castro, used by permission of the artist. Photos (top to bottom of newsletter) Wildflowers at Kenyon Ranch 1 & 2, Birds with Elephant Head Peak in the background, St. Francis Statue at Kenyon Ranch.