In late November/early December I attended a retreat at Teotihuacan in Mexico. Although I was unfamiliar with the leaders of the retreat, I have studied Toltec Wisdom. And I was committed. My daughter-in-law had invited me to join her and I would never refuse the opportunity to be with her.
I knew that my attitude during the week could influence her enjoyment of the experience.. I must behave in a manner which would be helpful to her in this pursuit and not be an impediment. So when asked to state my intention for the retreat, I said with no hesitation, “To be open and without expectation”.
This shouldn’t have been so horribly difficult…except for my personality.
I am a seven on the enneagram. It is a part of my personality to be courageous and adventurous. At the same time, my self-preservation sub-type compels me to be very careful that my needs are met. This means that I can take off to a new destination with a reservation for only one night – but must pack my soft pillow. I can live for a month in a house whose bathroom in the back yard and with no running water inside – but I must carry in a full supply of my favorite decaf c9ffee.
I was confident that I could take a deep breath, control any gritchiness, and enjoy the participants and leaders gathered in the B & B. And the people proved to be a delight. I found when I listened without judgment or agenda, I was treated to the very best of everyone.
The hard part was NEVER asking what was coming. I knew that if I could keep from plotting out each move in this retreat, I would have accomplished something momentous. This may not sound difficult for those of you who don’t plan ahead, but trust me, it was huge for me.
I did not allow myself to ask the minimum of five burning questions each evening. “How long will we be gone tomorrow?” “Is there food available at the pyramids?” “Are we allowed…???” “Can we…?” “What if I…???”
Instead, each day I made the wisest possible decisions for weather and comfort and headed out in silent meditation, approaching the pyramids with my walking partner. Unguarded and open, I found myself savoring the beauty of the surroundings without worrying about my role in the retreat. I could do what was asked of me without concern of “doing it right” since I had not created criteria for what the result should be.
It was a glorious week and a glorious beginning for me. In the months since that retreat I have carried this intention with me in many situations. It is my mantra for being present and aware without being closed off in fear.
We never know from which direction our lessons are coming.