Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Cheryl Canfield

They gave it all away. The 3-bedroom house, all furniture, belongings, keepsakes. Everything. Cheryl Canfield, her husband, 11 year old daughter, and a small dog got in their old, green Pontiac with some clothes and headed out to lead a life of service.

With no money, no plans, and infinite trust in the universe, they vaguely headed to a Theosophical Society in Wheaton, Illinois, that they had heard about. On the way, their car broke down beyond repair and the mechanic offered them a hundred bucks for the tires. They took the money, rented a car and landed in Wheaton with practically nothing.

Moved by their story, the Theosophical society took them in, without any such prior precedent. A month later, Cheryl would meet Peace Pilgrim -- an event she would later call her "destiny", an answer to her prayers.

Over the next two months, she attended every lecture of Peace Pilgrim, who crisscrossed the country on foot for more than two decades and vowed to walk until "humanity learned the ways of peace." Cheryl quickly took Peace Pilgrim to be her life-long teacher and would soon take her own pilgrimages, start organizations and write books on Peace's message that would circulate in millions of copies around the globe.

On Saturday, Sep 18th, we will have the privilege of hosting Cheryl Canfield, as she shares first hand stories about Peace Pilgrim and her own journey of uncommon courage and unwavering trust in humanity. This inspiring evening of meditation, dialogue and conversation is hosted in our home and there is no cost to attend; please RSVP for more details (sorry, we can only fit the first 80 folks!).

'Extraordinary View of Life'

All turning points in Cheryl's life have one thing in common -- her response of giving everything away. When she first did that in 1975, she ran into her teacher, Peace Pilgrim. She later repeated that in 1989, when she was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer.

Instead of pursuing radical surgical treatment recommended by her doctors, she retreated in solitude and decided to learn how to "die well". She lived by Peace Pilgrim's three key messages: Preparation, Purification, and Relinquishment. Preparation is about the right attitude toward life; "problems serve a purpose." Purification is about being in harmony with the universe. And relinquishment, is about simplifying life -- "unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens."

In "Profound Healing", Cheryl recount her experience and eloquently notes, "One of the biggest stresses we can put on ourselves is trying to control situations that are out of our hands. We strain with all our might to push the immovable mountain out of our path instead of putting our attention into the things we are able to do in a given situation. A life-threatening illness or catastrophic event can be like that mountain; we can drain our energy trying to get it out of our way when we could be forging a path around the mountain or perhaps climbing the heights where we might find an extraordinary view of life."

Doctors told Cheryl that she had a terminal disease, but year after year would pass and she was more vibrant than ever! She had, miraculously, healed herself.

"What I have learned is that healing isn't about living or dying; it isn't even about illness. Healing is about reconnecting to our wholeness, and living from a foundation of love."

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