Valerie Skonie, a Hailey resident, founded the Winter Feast for the Soul four years ago in the Wood River Valley. With help from Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center, the Winter Feast for the Soul began as a gathering of 100 people in the Wood River Valley who were committed to meditating every day for 40 days. The idea took root and continues to grow.
The Winter Feast for the Soul, a 40-day period of spiritual practice, takes place Saturday, Jan. 15, through Wednesday, Feb. 23. Last year, 20,000 people around the world in 30 countries took part in the event, which was recorded on the website at www.winterfeastforthesoul.com.
The event inspired a Children's Feast for the Soul, which has found its way into schools and homes around the world. In addition, state and federal incarceration centers throughout the world have prisoners participating in the feast through a Prison Outreach Program.
The Dalai Lama has endorsed the Winter Feast for the Soul, and Deepak Chopra said, "Meditating 40 minutes a day for 40 days, as done in the Winter Feast for the Soul, won't just further one's conscious evolution. Humanity will be at peace when enough individuals choose to make peace a part of their spiritual practice."
Rosemary Cody, a Wood River Valley feast coordinator, has arranged for events to begin locally Thursday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m., which includes a Rumi poetry reading and an opening ceremony Saturday, Jan. 15, at 7 a.m. Both events take place at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center in Ketchum. Light on the Mountains is at 12446 Highway 75, south of Ketchum between Gimlet and Bigwood Landscape. In addition, daily meditation sites have been organized in Ketchum and Hailey through Feb. 23.
"This would not be a worldwide event if it wasn't for technology," Cody said. "It does connect the whole world."
The public is invited to bring their favorite Rumi poem to read or simply listen to the poetry of the inspirational 16th-century Persian poet Thursday, Jan. 13.
It was one line from Rumi that inspired Skonie to birth the Winter Feast, "What nine months does for the embryo, forty early mornings will do for your growing awareness."
"People should take part in the 40 days of meditation because it links others with peace around the world and peace within themselves," Cody said. "It's not just for world peace. It can reduce stress in every day life."
Many online guided meditations are recorded each day during the Winter Feast for the Soul. Buddhist, Christian, Sufi and several interdenominational meditations are offered as well as Four Minutes of Stillness for young children. In 2010, nearly 35,000 downloads of these meditations was tabulated during the feast.
For details, visit www.winterfeastforthesoul.com.
Winter Feast for the Soul events
Thursday, Jan. 13
- Special Evening of Rumi's Poetry at 7 p.m. at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center in Ketchum. For details, call 720-7868.
Saturday, Jan. 15
- Opening Ceremony at 7 a.m. at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center in Ketchum. For details, call 720-5138.
Wednesday, Feb. 23
- Closing Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Sun Valley Road. For details, call Victor Roper at 539-3771 or Rosemary Cody at 720-7530.
Daily meditation sites in Hailey
- Monday-Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Sun Club. For details, call 720-7530.
- Wednesdays at 12:15 at the Hailey Yoga Center. For details, call 788-0907.
- Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at 414 Second Avenue South. For details, call 721-2583.
Daily meditation sites in Ketchum
- Monday-Saturday at 8 a.m. at Copper Ridge Building. For details, call 720-8183.
- Wednesdays at 8 a.m. at Kirk Anderson's studio in Northwood. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
( Sundays at 8:30 a.m. at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center.
( Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in the sanctuary.
( Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. at St. Luke's Hospital.
- Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at All Things Sacred in the Galleria. For details, call 720-5138.
- Thursdays at 12 p.m. at All Things Sacred in the Galleria. For details, call 720-5138.
- Mondays Body Energy Meditation at 12:10 p.m. at All Things Sacred in the Galleria. For details, call 720-5138.
- Sundays at 3:30 p.m. at home of Mary Ann and Jim Chubb. For details, call 720-5138.
- Wednesdays at 6 p.m. at Cally Huttar's office above Starbucks. For details, call 720-1783.
- Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. Oneness Blessings at Nanette Ford's office, 380 Washington Avenue. For details, call 720-4244.