La Vie En Ruffian: The Transcendental Club

by The Daily Front Row

In what might be one of our favorite Ruffian adventures ever, Claude Morais and Brian Wolk took a recent break to detox from fashion week and headed upstate for an adventure at Easton Mountain in Greenwich, New York. Take it away, boys…

“After weeks city-bound and preoccupied with all things fashion, we were delighted when we received an invitation from our friend Daniel Nardicio to attend The Dream Academy Workshop at Easton Mountain Retreat. Communing with nature, in the spirit of our transcendental forefathers, seemed like the perfect antidote to the frenetic existence of our last three months. Convening in Union Square, a group of 20 of us boys caravanned three hours north to pastoral Greenwich, New York, our home for the weekend.

Easton Mountain is truly a utopian paradise. Beautifully nestled amongst 175 acres of rolling hills, tranquil ponds, and endless hiking trails, this sanctuary center’s mission is to facilitate the integration of the body, mind and spirit and create a fellowship of long lasting and positive relationships for all those who attend. After settling into our room in the guesthouse, we headed down to the great room for our orientation. The smell of the roaring fire and fresh baked goods had us sold the moment we walked in. This particular weekend was centered around organizing goals into priorities and finding ways to activate them. Our first exercise was simply writing down five things we were proud of and sharing them with the group. What seems to be a simple exercise actually required quite a bit of thought. After our initiation we headed out on a tour to check out the chickens and goats, and to get a lay of the land. After spending some quality time with the farm animals (FYI: Goats are extremely friendly and intelligent; we predict they’ll be the next potbelly miniature pig) we headed back to our room to put on some rustic country weekend attire for dinner. Supper was hearty and delicious and gave us a great opportunity to get to know our Easton Mountain weekend brothers. After dinner we all watched a movie in the great room and headed to bed for the big day ahead. 

The next day’s schedule was filled with many challenging workshops and classes. After early morning yoga and breakfast in the sunroom, we headed to the great room, where Daniel led our first goal workshop. We were randomly partnered with another group member and made a list of 50 things we would like to accomplish, from the mundane, i.e. buying new sheets, to the life changing, i.e. traveling to India or transforming one’s body. After we made our list we divided it into A, B and C, in terms of priorities, and then once again re-prioritized our A’s into A, B and C. We than proceeded to read our 10 most important goals to the group and spent the remainder of the day plotting ways to achieve them with the support of our new community. Other workshops during the day focused on “The Power of Yes”, activism in everyday life, and a massage workshop which we opted out of to go ice skating on the pond. Late that afternoon, Daniel took us on a special sojourn to The Ice Cream Man, a local delicacy where gourmet ice cream is made in the most traditional fashion. They are most famous for their flavor Danish-Cream, which is essentially like eating frozen whipped cream; it’s light and delicious and like eating air! Before dinner we hit the hot tub to warm up and then joined the group for our last night together. After some delicious country fare, we gathered ’round for a musical performance by resident composer/musician Freddy Freeman and some impromptu comedy by Adam Sank. In true Daniel Nardicio fashion, the last event of the weekend was a ‘Dance off with your Pants off’ in the Temple (the spiritual gathering hall of Easton). All of us put on our most fashionable undergarment finery, shook our booties, and, in the spirit of Walt Whitman, sang the body electric.  That evening in the moonlight, we took a stroll through the snow and passed the stables and goats to the outdoor sauna in the middle of the woods. The fire was burning warm and the flicker of candlelight welcomed us in the traditional Swedish wood-burning circular structure. We reflected on our goals, our accomplishments, and the wonderful new friends we made in this enchanting and inspiring community.

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