A note from Ari Kalfayan, lead organizer:
After a year filled with endless political drama & a general sense of helplessness, it seems as though people are asking, how can I help make a difference?  I too have felt the heavy weight of political turmoil, but instead of sitting by, I want us to take action and come together. While most people are still thinking about what to do next, I believe that it’s time to gather as a  community to focus on creating connection and inspiration. In doing so, we can align with our shared energy and shift humanity’s path. And that why I’m inviting you to a retreat experience like no other --  the first ever New Moon Yosemite. This retreat is focused on creating a special kind of connection to self and tribe that fills up your soul, leaves you inspired and empowers change. Read on to hear more about why I felt the pull to create this unique experience.

Warmest Gratitude.

Through the Night to the Top of Yosemite

For years, my friend Ari has led his friends through the night up the Yosemite Mist trail. We journey through waterfalls and groves, across meadows and up staircases, finally arriving at the base of Half Dome. We ascend the final 400 feet just before twilight, arriving at an empty summit to celebrate, rest and marvel at nature’s beauty. It feels both like an age old practice and a modern ritual.

This Spring, our journey was unique as we dealt with the wet and the cold as we hiked through the night. We ascended Nevada and Vernal Falls, soaked by a deluge of snowmelt rushing down from the mountains above. Some of us were more prepared for the water than others, and the toll of wet feet was real. We walked throughout the night, taking breaks whenever we needed it, and eventually arrived at the dome. My boots were still wet as we ascended the dome, and at the top, it was below freezing. Our little family huddled together in the shelter of the granite and waited for dawn. I, as usual, sat on the outside, on the edge of the cliff, and took it all in as the night waned.

Finally, the sun began to emerge. It was magical. The building crescendo of bitter cold and exhausted bodies -- the anticipation as we scaled the cables in the dark -- it released at once into streaks of light shooting across the valley and a warmth filling my heart. Yes, the sun rises every day, but this day we gave it its due. We journeyed through the dark, up 4800 feet spread over seven miles to the top of the temple that is the Yosemite Valley, and bore witness to the sun’s rise.

The experience left me with a natural high. As I descended the cables, I reflected on the cosmically rare chance that I would be born here, in this place, on our planet, and have the opportunity to watch the nearest star pierce the horizon, showering life giving waves onto our home. It’s pretty mind blowing when you think about it.  The coherence of energy as we collectively meditated and directed our attention to the single point of focus -- it changed me. And I walked down those seven miles feeling light, aligned in my intention to spread the love and share this with others.

This year, we’re taking a leap. We’re sharing our Yosemite adventures with our community -- the people we love. We’re calling the ritual New Moon, as it coincides with the alignment of the sun, the earth, and the moon. Our intent is to reach out and touch the people we care for, to bring them with us on a journey. And although we won’t be hiking through the night to the top of Half Dome (this would be a dangerous journey at scale), we will be exploring the parks vistas and hidden nooks, witnessing the Valley under the guidance of an incredible group of healers and practitioners who have dedicated their lives to the study of sound, movement, touch, and focus.

For the cost of the ticket, we will be providing three days of food, lodging, and transportation into the park. Additionally, there has been an incredible outpouring of support and energy from our network of healers and practitioners, who will be guiding us through various modalities of presence and meditation.

This is a great chance to learn and experience, whether you’re a yogi, or, like me, new to meditation and healing.

The ticket cost ranges between $295 and $999, based on your lodging preference. For the lower range tickets, we’re providing the experience below cost -- accessibility is key for bringing this experience to the ones we love. And for those who can afford it, please lend your resources to help make the experience a possibility for others, as it will subsidize our entry level tickets.

The festivities will commence on the evening of Thursday, October 18th(weekend)at the Yosemite “Bug’ Mountain Resort and Spa, where we’ll kick off New Moon with a welcoming ceremony. We’ll continue until Sunday morning’s check-out, October 21st, autumn 2018.

If you’d like to talk more about it, do not hesitate.

Is this it?  

That’s what I felt following my 4th Burning Man experience, after helping to create and lead one of the largest camps and art pieces on the playa.

Let me be clear: I love my camp mates! I love what we created together! I love the Cuddle Puddle! I loved the intensity and harsh beauty of the Black Rock Desert, and the majesty of the Burner-created city & art.

And yet….  I felt like something was missing.  I came home to the realities of San Francisco life wondering if there was something more...

At a festival in  Sweden last year, I discovered what was missing. There, nature was not just a backdrop or stage; it was integrated into our experiences and was the sacred ground that fueled our connection to each other. While there, I created friendships that felt incredibly deep, despite the short time that we spent together.

And I felt like this was something new, something different from what I know is going on in the States right now - and yet, as I talked to others about this, I also realized that this insight that nature is the most powerful ground of connection to life and to each other was as old as humanity. So I was inspired to create a container for this kind of sacred connection with and for my community.

That’s why I have staked my reputation on creating a unique experience in Yosemite National Park for you and everyone else who yearns for deep, soul-filling connection.

Because I need it.

And I have a feeling that you need it too, whether you have been able to explain that need to yourself or just felt it as an ache at the bottom of your soul.  We have this moment to gather our tribe under Yosemite’s granite altars and align our energies. I believe our community needs this. Join with me to make it happen!

There’s an old African proverb: if you want to travel quickly, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together. I invite you to create the inspired and connected community of which we all dream with me.