Truck being stalked by Cougar

Truck being stalked by Cougar
Truck Being Stalked by the Cougar

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Being Where I Am Retreat 19-20 March 2011

We (Peggy, Michaelle & Jaimie) left Waynesville about 2:15 and headed southwest toward Springdale Arkansas (just north of Fayetteville).I drove they rode :).......... Food was a main topic during the ride. I knew I was going to blow my diet all weekend. Well I started it off right -- we ate at Shogun for dinner Friday night. Only had a few bites of rice and Japanese noodles. Ate mostly steak, scallops and vegetables. Had a few bites of Jaimie's sushi. Everything was wonderful. Left there and headed to Target to walk dinner off a bit. We all ate too much.

Something didn't agree with Jaimie at dinner and she paid for it most of the night. I so hoped she would be ok in the morning. When we all woke up Jaimie was feeling good. We had breakfast (cheated with 1/4 of a waffle) then we all went back to the room. The hotel seemed brand new. There was a building across the street with a water wheel.

Everything that follows came out of my journal. Want to share my entire experience. We are off on an adventure to Wattle Hollow Retreat Center. A weekend of meditation, yoga and silence. There were 17 people attending. Joy to lead us through meditation and Mark to lead us through yoga. Mark owns Dripping Springs Farm near Berryville, Arkansas.

We were supposed to arrived at Wattle Hollow about 10:00 am. We left the hotel at 9:15. We drove another 30 miles or so arriving about 10:00.

Greeted Joy and felt immediately welcomed. Signed in and signed up to be the "bellringer" for the weekend. I figured if I couldn't talk I could still be noisy. Joy gave us our room assignments and showed us around.

Peggy, Michaelle and I are in Sea World, Jaimie is in Cobb Castle (for the plumbing). Peggy is downstairs and Michaelle and I are upstairs on the other side. Most of the buildings are handmade, there are compost toilets very commune style. Sea World is pretty. There are fishes swimming through the walls. Turtles floating about. Table and chairs, miniature Earth Mother, curving natural staircase. Stained glass everywhere.
 As soon as my things were in my room and the truck parked "up top" Jaimie, Michaelle and I went to the creek. I am glad we went then because that is the only time we had down there. I went barefoot. Sat in the middle of the creek on the boulders and put my feet in. It was invigoratingly COLD!!! We hurried back up to the meeting room.

It was time for lunch. Sweet potato soup, salad, one fig newton & 1 piece of bread. It was all wonderful. Everything is organic/vegetarian. The food was put on a mat on the floor and you ate where you wanted to. Joy suggested we put our fork down between each bite and no chattering (so the silence begins). This is going to be a wonderful weekend!

We had a bit of time after lunch so I was laying in a sunbeam. I have singed up to be the "bell ringer" (the bells are different metal objects that acted like gongs. I can't talk but I can make noise :).

At two o'clock was the first Ashtanga yoga class it lasted two hours. And it was HARD.. already then i felt muscles that I had forgotten I had. It was very traditional! Breathing with movements...hold..... hold........ look here to focus.

After yoga I was again laying in a sunbeam outside. Could hear the breeze coming through the trees, there are insects already out, the squirrels are chattering in the woods. Can you hear the world around you? You just need to stop and listen! Someone is pouring water.... I can hear it hitting the ground. Nineteen people and we are all alone in our own individual world--seeing and hearing something different. But it is time to go and ring the gongs :)

That was fun!!! Now was the time for meditation. It lasted for three hours. Not continual but in 20 or 30 minute increments. It was hard. I was sleepy and sitting up. Have to find a focus. Not sure at this time that I liked sitting meditation but I loved WALKING slow meditation. Though still I didn't have good focus. Snakes and lizards intruded and ruined my focus. I am finding that sitting still is hard............... almost impossible. I can do this.

another 20 minute break and then Yoga again.... this time it was "Yen" postures. Letting gravity do its job. Hold...... Hold.... breathe............. breathe. Think Jaimie will get ideas from this for wall/mat yoga.

Supper is cooking I can smell it. I must ring the gong. Time for dinner. STARVING! Not sure what it is yet but smells good and I am sure I will cheat again. Yes.... coconut tofu with ginger sauce, salad and something :) also seed cake with Thai sauce. Wonderful. It was delicious.

We have 30 minutes before the next session........ not enough time for the creek :(. Joy spoke about meditation. The stages, the hindrances, how to focus. We meditated more. It was beginning to get easier. I want to figure out how to do this more than once a year. I am feeling myself come together. As we meditated the moon was rising (it was the brightest and biggest full moon in years) About 9:30 we went outside for Joy to release us for the evening. Moon was HUGE in the sky. Joy invited us to come and watch sunrise. As we were leaving the coyotes were howling in the woods, there was an owl flying about. Frogs jumping in the garden.

Showed Michaelle where the bathroom was. Then crawled up into my bed. Let me pay attention to my breathing. Do I fall asleep on an inhale or exhale??? How am I breathing when I wake up??? I am unsure of how I was breathing when I fell asleep. Think I heard mice through the night. Imagine that......... in a mud hut with mice!!!!

Sunday morning I woke to Joy banging on the gongs. It was a beautiful sound. (would love to wake up daily that way). I didn't want to get up but wanted to grab every minute I could. So I decided that I would go down to the meeting hall and watch the world wake up. I dressed and grabbed my flashlight (it was still dark out) decided it was silly to have the flashlight so just left it downstairs and headed to the meeting hall. My favorite tea (black tea with chai spices and soy milk) was waiting. I grabbed a cup of tea and 2 blankets and went out to the deck. The sky was still dark gray. No animal sounds the only thing I heard was the movement of air in the trees.Then the most amazing thing began happening. The colors were changing. I wished I had my camera but I wasn't moving until I felt that first sunbeam strikes me. The colors were amazing..... dusty blues, pinks, oranges, tans. Listen... the birds are waking and singing-- calling to each other. There down in the valley the cows are waking I can hear them. I can also hear some human movement around me but no voices. Not a sound that distract the beauty of the world awakening.

The sunrise was like the sunset I have seen at the Grand Canyon. Better than SPECTACULAR!!!!!

I began in my head cheering the sun on to break through a small cloud bank - which was just at the top of the hill. I see white lines............. then the flashes begin. Eastern Lights!!!!! (I guess the air was moving the clouds and it made flashes of sunlight) EASTERN LIGHTS.  The sun is climbing higher in the sky and I sat there in the sunbeam basking in the warmth .... already missing what I think I saw with the flashes.

I have to say I missed the campfire but this was yet another amazing experience at Wattle Hollow. It took about 90 minutes of me sitting pretty darn still to accomplish it. The first sunbeam warmed my heart -- A new day I have been given. What will be next on the agenda.

I believe food. Joy asked Peggy to ring the gongs. That is ok ....... it gave me more time to be in my personal sunbeam. The one the Eastern Lights brought. It is hitting more the right side of my face.

What a wonderful world we have. My wish to you --  my friend -- is to observe a sunrise like the one I just did. Just sit and watch to the east. Let the world wake and a miracle can happen.

Am not sure what is for breakfast -- bread I know :) There are some things I haven't a clue about but I am starving. Watching the world  wake up has made me hungry.

**we are beginning meditation. The sunbeam is coming in the window right now to me -- I still feel the warmth. Must be some kind of sun person.

My mantra while meditating is "big rock" Sometimes I wonder--go off track does this mean that I think I am strong. Watching the sun rise this morning I saw just how inconsequential I was. Maybe my mantra should be small pebble.

Ripples in the water is what Joy is talking about.
breakfast oatmeal with fruit compote, bread, nuts, greek yogurt -- trying to decided what that stuff is...... the hard ricey looking stuff (I think I shall try)

I like eating inside on the floor. This morning I ate outside with the sun shining on my face and reflected in the pond.

Time to eat!!! there are 12 people around me and not a sound except utensils hitting the dishes. COCONUT that is what the white ricey stuff was!!! it is awesome on oatmeal. Had 1/2 a piece of bread... some kind of cranberry.

The sunbeams are warming me. Putting the fork down between each bite isn't really that hard. Just have to remember to do it.

The flashes this morning...... I thought I was imagining them--Beautiful-- over the cloud bank the sun peeking in and out...white lights, blues, yellows, pinks, oranges, tans,..... There is a rainbow in the sunrise too!!!

Another camera moment lost: Joy sits over on a platform by the pond somewhat crossed leg (like cow legs yoga) the word that comes to mind while watching her is PEACE at one with the world! I only ask for a sliver of that peace and serenity.

My muscles are very sore from the yoga yesterday. I am not sure if I am dreading todays sessions or looking forward to stretching. It didn't help that I have sat this morning for sunrise....... for 90 minutes but I am so happy that I did........ G'Morning My World.

Going to meet back in a bit think I will go and pack my stuff and grab camera. I wonder if I can get some gongs at home ..... how peaceful they are. It seems a beautiful sound when blended with the outdoors sounds.

I wonder do the animals stop to listen to "human sounds"?

Meditating again........ My knees hurt worse than when I was in church as a child.

Getting ready for our last meal at Wattle Hollow. It is about 1:00 and the weekend ends about 3:00. What is for lunch.. I don't know but yoga and meditating sure do work up an appetite. It will be the last meal that I cheat on my diet with........

I have become centered again and can feel the difference while here............. makes me wonder. It really is wonderful not to have to think of anything or anyone but me for 36 hours. I haven't even opened my kindle....

But for now time to eat: it was so good.... leafy salad, stuffed squash, banana blueberry cake oh yeah and 4 chips. I have 10 minutes before I ring the gong for the last time. OH OH I found a rock. Imagine..... but it kind of looks like a house and on one side of the roof my thumb fits perfectly.

Am not sure what we will do for the last hour. But I am not getting my bag til I have to.
That last 90 minutes most of us shared our experiences of the retreat. 
 This very long............ if you have read it all thank you. I wish for you the peace I had while at Wattle Hollow. I wish for me to keep a sliver of that peace. "How many times will this pebble roll?" is my personal mantra. I will keep a bit of this peace within me. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome storywriting. You may me feel a part of your weekend and I could picture some of what you saw. Can even imagine the gongs you rang. The one thing I was jealous of was not being with you to see the sunrise or the moon rising. My Sister .. The Adventurer :)