I spent 3 days at an exclusive ‘zen’ meditation retreat on Staten Island, where Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA led tea ceremonies and told us how to unlock our…

Posted: April 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm


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Tea ceremony exploration led by Nicoletta De La Brown, with RZA and the campers. Courtesy of TAZO

"I feel [that] transitions and shifts are happening [with us] now. When I was on my walk, I was observing the space in general, and instead of looking at the top of the trees, I was visually [thinking of] the roots and [downward]. Doing that helped me see that we're all connected," said camper Peter Lange. All of the campers were in agreement, sharing that they'd hope to continue a yearly retreat outside of Camp TAZO.

"I'm forever changed because I really am," said camper Julian, who later photographed RZA. "I feel like everyone wants to collaborate and no one wants to do the work, but everyone here has left [an] impact on me [within] 24 hours, and that's crazy to say."

"Yesterday, it was okay to be vulnerable, [we] were touched by everyone's artistic ability. What I got from walking to the water and listening to [Guided Explorations] the rocks are there, but the water was high, which means shit was heavy. We all [have] weight on us, but the water was not out of bounds, it's still in control," said camper Tishmone.

Fellow camper Marjua Estevez, who was moved to tears from the experience, shared that she previously didn't want to attend Camp TAZO, as the trip was held shortly after she moved to Miami, leaving her feeling displaced. "The last place I wanted to be was here, I didn't want to be with strangers, I didn't want to share anything about myself, I wanted to shrink myself and be invisible," she said. "Knowing what I know now, I would've regretted not coming here. Hearing everyone's stories gave me permission to reclaim parts of myself that I had lost."

It seemed that our intentions from the first day had been fulfilled, prompting an emotional finale of Camp TAZO: Zen. RZA explained that the program wasn't just for advertisement purposes, but connecting participants to fulfill their own artistic vision, just as he did with Wu-Tang Clan. "My potential is bringing people together, and when they come together, it's up to them to exchange, stay together, and create something great," he said.

After we left for our respective states, despite only attending the retreat for two days, our group chat still remains active. Whether seeking wisdom from RZA or wanting an opportunity to travel, each camper reconnected with their creative abilities and a new alliance.

For RZA, the group's connection was simple: "I looked at everybody [and thought] that maybe there was something I could add on to. I saw a spark in every one of y'all [and] understood where you guys were in your creative process," he said. "All these different personalities are within this group of people. I chose everybody for a specific reason, and I feel really confident in that."

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I spent 3 days at an exclusive 'zen' meditation retreat on Staten Island, where Wu-Tang Clan's RZA led tea ceremonies and told us how to unlock our...

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April 14th, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Meditation