Mondays at Menla with Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
A special feature showcasing some of the individuals, groups and organizations who help make Tibet House’s Menla retreat and Dewa spa in Phoenicia, New York the special place that it is. In this installment of Mondays At Menla, we’re honored to sit down and talk with Sacred Stream’s Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D, Foundation of the Sacred Stream
You’ve taught at Menla in the past years. Could you speak on what it’s like to return annually?
My time at Menla every spring and fall is something I look forward to all year. There is very little that is more engaging, educational and inspiring than teaching with Bob [Thurman) this is, of course, one of the reasons I look forward to returning to Menla. I am always happy to reunite with the members of the staff – the work they do allows so many people the opportunity to come into contact with this very special land.
You’ve co-taught two programs “Embracing the Sacred Feminine” + “Shamans and Siddhas” at Menla over the years, What is the difference between these two retreat offerings + what is it like teaching them annually. How will this year’s experiences be different?
“Embracing the Sacred Feminine” is a class that focuses on discovering our relationship to the abundant, nurturing and mutual power of the great mother and “Shamans and Siddhas” is the exploration of two wisdom systems – Vajrayana Buddhism and Shamanism, which is an earth-based system found in many cultural contexts.
On Co-Teaching with Robert A.F. Thurman
Bob has been a strong proponent and admirer of the great feminine – and he values the role of women in society more than any man I have ever known. Yet, the more teach this class, the more I see his ability to directly touch into the power of the great feminine rather than going through women to access it.
Do you remember your first visit to Phoenicia, New York? We’d love to hear about your impressions about what it was like to visit Menla for the first time.
The first time I came to Menla I came with monks from the Gaden Shartse Dokhang. Menla provided them with the sustenance they needed to continue the tour. When teaching at Menla, I always see that same support & spaciousness active in the students’ experience.
To read more about Isa’s first visit to Menla Retreat and Dewa Spa, read her article “Reflections on Menla“.