Tag Archives: retreat

Something New – Part 2

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *

In my second month (January) I have had a more difficult time deciding what my be a stretch for me.

Due to scheduling, I missed an opportunity to teach English for an hour at the local elementary school. Even though I am in Mexico and many opportunities abound, I have discarded many ideas.
I could hike a nearby peak, but that didn’t seem expansive or very different to me. After all, I have hiked many times and am not a huge fan. True, it would have been new because it is a different peak, but other than sweat and bugs it didn’t really feel outside my comfort zone.
I could have gone on a kayak ride in the lagoon – but again, I have done that before and all of the opportunities felt forced and in groups of people whose company I would not seek out.
Does it sound as if I was quibbling? Yes, I does to me, too.
Ultimately, however, I wanted to do something that would stretch me. And since I am here on a mental, physical, and spiritual retreat, I decided to move in that direction.
So my challenge is to live in the space and move with the assumption that it is truly okay being exactly who I am. I am trying to be aware of that little tightening response in my body when I am going against myself. I am working to be aware of when I am dodging and darting to please others. For moments at a time I am  breathing deeply in the satisfaction of just being myself. This means responding authentically. It includes saying no when necessary and speaking my truth when appropriate.
Holding onto myself is a part of this, too. Not giving so much of myself that I have nothing left. And when I must give, retrieving myself – disentangling my spirit and replenishing myself physically.
I know. It doesn’t sound like so much and sometimes it isn’t. At other times it is a gigantic change in me. As with everything, it’s a process…
The Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Challenge, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

The Beginning of Growth

P1050093In 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.
The Student

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Filed under Living our best life, Paths to Progress, Point Seven - The Epicure, World Religions

Resistance and Retreat

I am rarely in resistance mode when in retreat. Interesting…

Does this mean that I am only happy when I can do exactly what I choose without interference and without opposition?

Does this mean that I am not doing anything worthwhile when I am alone and away from my scheduled life?

Does it mean that I work better without a schedule? Well, yes. It does. I am the most happy and productive when I am following my nose.

And I have not yet found a way to live this way in my daily life when not in retreat. For me, life involves commitment. Although I no longer work for pay, I still have responsibilities…jobs, if you will.

I’m wondering, though, if much of my scheduling is self-imposed. Perhaps I would get dinner on the table even if I didn’t decide what time I MUST begin. Perhaps in my volunteer job I could be more spontaneous in my visitations.

I’m not sure.

Daily life in community seems to involve some commitment and a part of that is to create a timetable that works for others as well as myself.

The answer will be, I think, somewhere in the realm of looking forward to commitments once they are made instead of allowing my automatic resistance to sully the experiences. Attitude will make the difference.

It will also involve acceptance.

And, as usual, I will remember to be grateful that I am healthy and active and capable of doing the things I do and that I am important in the lives of the people who are important to me.

Life Student

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Filed under Self-Acceptance Project, Self-examination