This week, I am on super-secret stealthy retreat.
I know, I know: How can it be super-secret stealthy if I keep telling everybody?
Well, here’s the thing. On the outside, I’m pretty much going about my regular routines. I’m working, parenting, hanging out with my honeys, and dealing with domestic chores. The retreat is internal. It’s an exercise in mindfulness.
See, this week, Havi Brooks, she of the marvelous and inspiring Fluent Self, is leading a week-long Destuckification Retreat in California, on the Monterey Peninsula. As I type this, she and her fellow retreaters are probably engaged in Twenty Minutes of Evening Wackiness — at least, that’s what it says on the schedule.
I would love to be there, but couldn’t figure out a way to make it happen. So — because I love myself and want myself to be happy — I’m trying out a compromise.
Even though I can’t go on retreat right now, I am going on retreat.
I am playing the Home Game.
Initially, I had figured that this would involve a lot of me following along with the schedule as best I could from here. During the morning and afternoon teaching sessions, I planned to delve into the archives of Havi’s blog, seeking out posts on destuckifying. During evening check-in sessions, I would blog about my own experiences. (I wasn’t sure what to do about the Old Turkish Lady Yoga, but I was having fun thinking about it. I figured I’d spend some of those sessions bending and stretching while groaning loudly, and other sessions watching my really annoying yoga DVD while shaking my fist and cursing under my breath.)
Well, things haven’t quite gone as seamlessly as all that. For one thing — silly me — I had forgotten to consider the difference in time zones. I think it finally hit me on the morning of the first or second day, when I was feeling a twinge of guilt for still being in bed at 7:30, then suddenly realized that it was four-dark-thirty in California, and that most of the people at the retreat were probably still in bed, too!
I also simply have not been able to keep my own schedule in precise parallel with the retreat schedule. Still, as I’ve been exploring this week, I’ve found that it isn’t so hard to release that expectation, to let it go, to let things be. So, maybe I’m learning about resistance and deshouldifying at midnight instead of three in the afternoon (or even six in the evening). That’s okay. Not a problem at all.
No, the real discovery, for me, has been the power of intention. I made a decision sometime last week to align myself with that Destuckification Retreat this week, and I have felt myself in alignment. Even as I tackle my usual responsibilities, there is a secret (super-secret stealthy!) corner of my mind where I am on retreat: learning, shifting, evolving, destuckifying.
Is this every bit as good as if I’d been able to attend the actual event? Of course not. Does this mean I need never trouble to find a way to attend one of Havi’s actual live retreats? Hell no. I’m still missing out on a lot of fantastic, life-changing stuff this week, and I haven’t stopped dreaming of getting to one of those retreats someday, ASAP. (Are “someday” and “ASAP” contradictory terms? Well, never mind that.)
Even so, this week has turned out to be quite an eye-opener — a study not only in mindfulness, but in possibility, and empowerment.