Since sheltering-in-place started in mid-March IRC retreats have either been converted to online retreats or cancelled. One of the inspiring surprises is how well the online retreats work. While they are certainly different than our usual residential retreats, they have the benefit of placing the practice in the middle of many people’s home life. It has infused many people’s everyday life with a much greater integration with the practice. Many of us now realize online, home retreats led by teachers has been a missing piece of the practice opportunities we offer at IMC and IRC. We plan to continue offering online retreats once shelter-in-place is over.
Starting May 27, IRC is also hosting regular, Wednesday morning “mini-retreats” with our retreat teachers. For about two hours, you can have a tiny bit of a taste of what retreats are at IRC.
We do not know when we will be able to reopen IRC for residential retreats. Our plan is to be conservative about when we open. We are seriously considering not restarting our residential retreats until there is a vaccine, an effective treatment for COVID-19, or some other unexpected development related to the Corona virus.
In the meantime, we continue with the maintenance and upgrading of our IRC facility. We are replacing our old generator, so we have more reliable backup electricity, redoing the electrical wiring so it is ready for our solar panels, and, as funds come in, placing solar panels on the roof. We will also be improving the building in ways that will minimize the spread of colds and flus during retreats.
Finally, our wonderful resident volunteers are sheltered at IRC caretaking the innumerable tasks of keeping the building ready to open again. They have also provided the backbone of support for our online retreats. The RVs are keeping the momentum going of the generosity and goodwill which is central to IRC’s success. When we open again for residential retreats, we will be ready!