Women's retreat in Ventura transcends self-judgement
Two friends share their spiritual journeys
By Chloe Vieira 08/02/2012
Fran Duda doesn’t want to talk about herself.
She started her own company, called InnerVision12, in Sedona, Ariz. and has been leading groups on spiritual journeys through the rocky terrain and offering consultations for the past decade. The half-day tours range from $200 to $300 depending on the size of the group. Duda does not plan an itinerary for the day; instead she lets the exploration come about naturally.
“When I work with folks in Sedona I know two things: who they are and where I’m going to meet with them. But those are the only things I want to know,” she said.
One of her clients commented after a journey.
“That day was, and still is, so sacred to me. There were so many things revealed to me on that mountain,” the client said.
Yet Duda insists there is nothing special about her. She says her method is not a religion or a process with a specific number of steps.
“I don’t see myself as a teacher or a guide or a guru, I simply feel called to share my life experience with people,” she said.
At a three-day women-only retreat at the Four Points Sheraton Holiday Inn Express in Ventura beginning Aug. 10, Duda will share her journey with two dozen women who have already signed up to participate; spaces are still available. The theme of the retreat is breaking free of self-judgment.
One of the reasons Duda is so hesitant to talk about herself is because she believes it will lead to self-judgment.
“When you ask me, ‘Who is Fran? Where did Fran come from? What did Fran do?’ along with that comes a tremendous amount of self-judgment of how I’m living,” she said. Duda believes that we can become trapped in the identities we create for ourselves.
This is the first time that Duda has offered a retreat in Ventura. She and her friend, author and speaker Carrie Triffet, decided to organize the retreat while taking a walk together.
“We were walking on the beach one day and I was saying how much I just want to help people in the world stop hurting. We all drag stuff around and it’s painful stuff and it gets in the way of real enjoyment of our lives,” Triffet said.
Triffet, a resident of Ventura since 2002, has authored two books, Long Time No See: Diaries of an Unlikely Messenger and The Enlighten Project. Like Duda, she feels compelled to share her spiritual journey with others.
“I don’t want to be sitting on a mountain top talking to one or two people who want to be enlightened. I want to talk to a lot of people who just want to feel better,” she said.
Triffet was raised in a Jewish family and practiced Buddhism for 20 years before she moved away from it to explore other things. She is currently a student of the book A Course in Miracles, a philosophy of forgiveness in everyday life, which she incorporates in her teachings. She has spoken at conferences around the world.
At the retreat, Triffet will encourage participants to set aside self-judgment, quiet their inner monologues and get to know themselves through meditation.
“It’s not just us standing up yapping at people. It’s a discussion,” she said.
She hopes that participants will leave with a new viewpoint on things, and some tools to continue their spiritual exploration with.
Triffet described Duda’s ability to guide others in her book Long Time No See.
“Here’s what that InnerVision thing feels like when she does it for me: It’s as if a vast, mighty bridge opens up to another realm, and then waits in patient nonjudgment while I decide whether or not to cross. Most of the time I accept the invitation to cross that bridge, and whenever I do, it’s an absolutely awesome experience.”
The women’s retreat will take place Aug. 10 at the Four Points Sheraton Holiday Inn Express in Ventura. To reserve a space, contact Duda at email@example.com.