Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back in the Saddle

"Just let things be, just as they are." --Evie Chauncey, Assistant Teacher at the NW Vipassana Center

Whew! It's good to be home. My intention was to start blogging immediately upon my return, sharing all the insights and inspiration from my latest ten-day retreat, but The Universe had other plans....

If I recall correctly, last year it took me a few days to "plug back in" also and I had a hard time writing about the experience. Oh how I wish I had now.

Last year is, in my mind, a lovely memory of a week of great peace and discovery and ultimately, a greater awakening. The things I remembered were the food (delicious!), the walks (peaceful), the naps (also delicious).

The harder things are fuzzier in my mind: the early rising (4:00am), the hours of sitting with your legs crossed (painful), and the mind-numbing boredom that sometimes creeps in after 90 minutes (or sometimes 9) minutes of meditation.

This year was harder. Much harder.

Not being new to the technique I did not have as much to learn and I did not find every nuance so fascinating. I knew what was coming - that after one whole day (10 plus hours) of observing our respiration, we still had ten more hours of that to go before we moved on. Having experienced it all before I just wasn't as excited about the whole thing.

In fact, there were days - a few of them - on which I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I wanted to hop the fence, somehow start my car without the key (like I know how to do that :p) and drive away, leaving all of my things behind.

But I didn't. I stuck it out and tried to work through it. And I guess I did, but it wasn't pretty. And it isn't something I can automatically say I want to repeat. I WANT to want to go back next year, but I'm just not sure I'm going to want to.

Ironically, I came back with even more quotes, ideas and insights than last year. So, watch this space if you are interested in hearing more.

In the meantime, be well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wisdom from David Pond

"We are the custodians of our inner world." --David Pond

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wisdom from Phillip Shepherd

"The precondition to sensitivity is stillness. In the same way that a pond on a still day will visibly register the smallest insect alighting on its surface, but on a windy day it won't, our ability to feel the whole is directly proportional to our ability to become still within ourselves." --Phillip Shepherd

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wisdom from Tao Porchon-Lynch

"Breath is the power behind all things. Your breath doesn't know how old you are; it doesn't know what you can't do. If I'm feeling puzzled or my mind is telling me that I'm not capable of something, I breathe in and know that good things will happen." --Tao Porchon-Lynch (a 94-year-old yoga instructor)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wisdom from Anne Lamott

"One's heart is the only safe place to be. There's light there, there's company, and quiet." --Anne Lamott

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wisdom From Eckhart Tolle

"If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place."  --Eckhart Tolle

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wisdom from The Universe (at last year's retreat)

"ENJOY, do not attach. SUFFER, do not attach. Be happy." --The Universe, at last year's retreat

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wisdom from Louise Gluck

“...[T]o make a place for light the mystic shuts his eyes." --Louise Gluck, from her poem "Bats"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another 10 Days

"If there is no peace in the can there be peace in the world?" --S.N. Goenka

Last year at about this time I went on my first 10-day silent meditation retreat at the NW Vipassana Center. When I came back, I knew I wanted to go again. And that time has come.

I leave today for another ten days.

Last year I was a bit nervous and unsure. This time, I am excited. I know what to expect and what will be expected of me. And I am ready.

I can't wait to sit in meditation for most of my waking hours. To walk in silence for all of them. And to be free from the constant barrage of mind-thoughts that I am subject to each day.

I look forward to oatmeal and stewed fruit for breakfast every day. To the delicious vegetarian lunch. And nothing but a cup of tea for dinner.

I know that there will be new things too. New ideas. New discomforts. New fears. I look forward to these as well.

While I am gone I will be posting one meditation quote every day to inspire your practice. I hope you will enjoy these words of wisdom.

I'll see you on the other side.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are You Smarter Than a 6th Grader?

"There shouldn't be a leash on life." --Tess

On Halloween my son invited one of his new middle school friends over to Trick or Treat with us. She is a delightful girl - warm. open, chatty and wicked smart.

I was cutting up apples for their snack and she asked if she could have some peanut butter to go with them. "It doesn't have to be much," she said, "My mom limits me to one tablespoon because she says I'll eat all the peanut butter."

She paused and then spoke words of wisdom I wish I had known when I was her age:

 "But why not eat all the peanut butter? There shouldn't be a leash on life." 

Ah-h-h-h. It was a deep-breath moment for me. I just stood still and breathed in the truth of these words and the truth that they had been missing from my world-view for far longer than was good for me.

I know it is time for me to start living without a leash. Cassie (see above) couldn't agree more. Thanks Tess!