I am away on retreat right now, and because I am grateful and want to share it with you, I hereby present my view:
I could certainly get used to a vantage point of lush trees, a placid lake, and a stunning sky, and yet I am quite aware that my experience here is temporary.
To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure I should come.
To retreat or not to retreat
Less than a week ago I quit my job to focus on my own business, and my first action as a full-time entrepreneur was to…take a bus to the Berkshires?
Because Past Me knew that Future Me would need it.
Past Me suspected that Future Me might feel pressured to immediately focus on getting right to work, that she might protest that she had no time for relaxation and reflection.
Past Me was right on both counts.
Which means that, like it or not, Present Me is spending time away from what’s familiar and preparing to meet the unknown.
The effort of letting go
You might think that everyone is relaxed and quiet at a retreat center, especially one with a focus on yoga.
Instead, it feels sort of like summer camp for grown-ups: lots of scheduled activities, minimal down time, and a fair amount of giddy chatter all around (except for during silent breakfast).
Of course, participation is not required.
Technically, I could stay in my room all day and sleep. But if I did that, I’d miss out on other valuable opportunities.
However, the truth is there is no way I can take advantage of everything on offer here. And feeling anxious about activities while mostly wanting to rest is not an enjoyable paradox.
So, as I’m prone to do, I took my queries to my spirit guides: Why am I feeling anxious? How can I best appreciate my time at Kripalu?
And, as they’re prone to do, my spirit guides gave the wisdom to me straight:
All of these freedoms and restrictions are illusions for you to receive accept and choose….
Continue to let your inner desire guide you. You cannot wrongly retreat. Nurture your every wish, gently and with quiet joy. All is well, all is well, all is well.
All is well, all is well, all is well.
I can nurture my every wish, gently and with quiet joy.
I cannot wrongly retreat.
And I can let go.
Which I did. I’ve experienced more naps than activities, and that is fine with me.
For the love of a tree
I am pretty sure that Future Me is going to be grateful to Present Me for choosing freedom over stress, for trusting that whatever happens on this trip is for the best.
However, if I start to doubt my judgment, I have excellent evidence that I can trust my true tastes.
Which is to say, I have faith in Future Me because Present Me and Past Me both fell in love with the same tree.
As soon as I got here on Sunday, I went for a walk. I saw a tree and I loved it immediately.
Then after I got settled in my room and started thinking about the first time I stayed here, I had an inkling of a memory.
I was pretty sure I’d written about my previous experience, and sure enough, I confirmed that Past Me published a post about Kripalu in October 2011.
You guys, Past Me fell in love WITH THE SAME TREE.
And after reading through what I wrote six years ago, I felt assured to see that Past Me had more than just great taste in trees.
She also understood that, “I can forever find my way. Nature will nurture me no matter what, and its loving energy is an absolute constant in an ever-changing world.”
We live in an ever-changing world, with ever-changing bodies and ever-changing brains.
But some things are constant. The need for retreat. Truth. Trees.
And loving energy.
Oh, yes, we can count on loving energy, while at rest or in action and everywhere in between.
That is goodness I can breathe in wherever I am, and wherever you are, I hope you breathe it too.
Love > fear,