As many of you know, the Feathered Pipe Pipe Ranch has been a touchstone in my life for 16 years and counting, ever since I first ‘stumbled’ onto this Rocky Mountain destination in Montana when I came for a week of study and joy with Erich Schiffmann. I found myself returning year after year (after year). I fell in love with Erich’s style of teaching, but also hopelessly in love with the Ranch community, the casual and easy family vibe, and the sacred land itself.
What I adore about programs at the Ranch is that there is so much space and nature for healing and solitude. The Ranch is set on 110 acres of pristine nature surrounded by national forest in the heart of the Montana Rocky Mountains. Year after year, Feathered Pipe guests say that they love to return to their beloved ‘Pipe’ over and over — not only because they appreciate the transformative power of the innovative programs, but because they long to experience the enchanting, healing power they feel pulsing from the land itself.
Moreover, the Ranch runs only one program at a time, which lends itself to a sweet intimacy and ease that is noticeably uncommercial compared to some other ‘buzzy’ retreat centers where several programs are running at once on a campus. There is never a feeling of ‘busy’ or harried at the Ranch. Everything about the atmosphere is an invitation to kick back, play like a kid again, and breathe easy.
John Steinbeck famously said, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.” I understand now exactly what he means. As do many of us who live in busy urban areas who are often in search of those rare, uncrowded, sacred places on the planet where we can recover our sense of awe for the world. And, in so doing, revive both our compassion for self and the vital prize of rippling greater compassion out to this needful world.
When we first put The Mindful Unplug program together five years ago, our intention was to create a week that was choreographed to include a healthy balance of structured and unstructured time – so that nothing felt rushed, the practices were all accessible, we took advantage of the breathtaking mountain nature all around us, and all the good souls who came had plenty of time to move at their own chosen speed.
Each year’s program is a little different than the one before. We are continually refining the offering based on participant feedback and the demands of the times we’re in.
Our dear friend, Montana’s own, Matthew Marsolek of Drum Brothers is gracing us by returning again (yay!) for our summer 2020 running, sharing participatory sound, rhythm awareness, and voice practices (including an introduction to West African hand drumming). For many folks who came in 2019, time with Matthew was one of the most memorable highlights of the week!
We’ve seen how tending to qualities of mindfulness and inner ease at the Ranch helps people become beacons of compassion and goodness for their families, workplaces, and communities. Our retreat participants tell us that the Mindful Unplug week has been a potent catalyst for recovering equanimity and embracing the bounty of the present moment. If the experience of past participants is any guide, you may even discover that it doesn’t matter so much how crazy the world is. Your contentment and peace can be independent of all that.
Plus? The truth is that we always have a boatload of good old-fashioned FUN on in our Montana Big Sky playground.
Our eighth running of the homegrown Feathered Pipe Mindful Unplug is about deepening our exploration of life affirming rhythms. The alchemy of mindful movement, all-levels yoga, meditation, community sound and rhythm practices, dance, song, and poetry offers more than a transitory antidote to stress, July 13 – 20, 2024, “The Mindful Unplug: Movement, Rhythm, And Nature.”
About Anne Jablonski
A Yoga-Alliance registered teacher (RYT 500) in Virginia, Anne teaches at Sun & Moon Yoga Studio, serves as President of the Feathered Pipe Foundation (she midwifed the Mindful Unplug!) and works for busy startup companies. She knows all about what it’s like to yearn for practical ways to insert pauses into a heavily scheduled, rat-race-y life. Anne’s mission is to return you home with skills to plug back in consciously so you can step back into the world of noise and technology equipped to nourish and safeguard your own health — and apply your consciousness for good of all. Anne’s teaching draws on inspiration from her most influential teachers: Erich Schiffmann, every fine poet, her cheeky teacher within, and the Feathered Pipe Ranch itself.
Learn more about Anne: yogasetfree.com