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Doorway to Joy’s July 2022 Retreat in Santa Cruz 

Finding our path to happiness and joy


We came from various walks of life and from across the state, some of us drove the entire day to get there.  We were greeted by the sound of ocean waves, welcoming faces, and messages from the Persian poet Hafiz.  My message said,

“I wish I could show you,

When you are lonely or in the darkness,

The Astonishing Light

Of your own Being!” - Hafiz


I had been in the darkness for much of the previous year, as I went through cancer treatment in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. Two and a half months earlier, I got the invitation from Doorway to Joy for a women's spiritual retreat based on ancient Iranian teachings with the theme of “free to be happy.” We were invited to come together to pray, meditate, sing, dance, laugh, and enjoy the beauty of nature. I immediately signed-up!


We started our days with guided meditation before gathering to enjoy a delicious and locally sourced breakfast in the dining room overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After breakfast, we gathered to remember and reflect on the teachings of Zarathushtra in the Gathas.  Our group of multi-generational women discussed what radiant happiness looks like in our lives.  We shared what blocks our happiness. We used watercolors to connect with Asha and the rhythm of our collective creativity and to encourage each other to be free to be happy. We could feel our interconnectedness and a shared sense of purpose.  We gained strength from each other and reflecting on the many generations of resilient and joyful women who came before us.


As we walked on the sand and gathered around the campfire, we raised our voices in joy and sang ancient Zoroastrian hymns, calling to the many generations who came before us.  It was not lost on us that many of our ancestors did not have a voice and needed to stay quiet to survive.  We raised our voices and built trust to try and address the multi-generational trauma experienced by our community.


Our way forward is to learn to embody Spenta Meinyu the progressive and expansive mentality that counters the constriction and destruction of Angra Mainyu. During our few days together, we started to build a divine bridge that interweaves the ancient Gothic ways with our modern ways of living, interlacing the old with the new.  We invite you to join us next time we gather, to share your joy and learn with us how to be free to be happy.





Trity Pourbahrami is a boundary spanner with 20 years of international experience

in strategic communications, science communication, and employee engagement

spanning the higher education, government, philanthropic, and corporate sectors.

She is an inclusive leader with a proven track record of effectively engaging diverse

groups and supporting organizations as well as their stakeholders with transformational

efforts. Currently, she leads communications for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s

science program.  Before joining the foundation, she was director of communications at the

California Institute of Technology.  Trity earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in physics

and physiology from the University of British Columbia and her master’s degree in social

welfare and public administration from the University of Hawai’i. She was born in Iran and

moved to Canada with her family during the Iran-Iraq war. She is raising two teens with

her husband of over 20 years, Peter Capak.  

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