Apparently I hadn’t told too many people I was going away for the weekend, my husband claims I didn’t tell him, my friend/neighbor forgot. No matter, I slipped away unnoticed and went off on a Women’s Self-Care Yoga retreat on the other side of my county.
The retreat weekend, Friday night until Sunday afternoon took place at a retreat center within a convent, on spectacular acreage in the most gorgeous section of Morris County, of course I took no pictures, had no electronics, and happily disappeared for a brief couple of days from any responsibilities I had.
If I had done nothing but sit in my minimally furnished room and breathed, I would have been happy. Bored eventually, but happy. It was restful for the soul and very centering. There was lots of down time, ( I actually sat in a comfy chair and knit) and yoga and meditation sessions, including one with “singing bowls”, massage, and of course meals, some silent and some chatty. We were given a “word” when we arrived Friday night, that was to be our “word” through the weekend, each participant selected their word from a basket and kept it secret until Sunday afternoon. My word was Serenity. Big eye roll, are we surprised?
And so my weekend quest for serenity started Friday night, and I spent a lot of time thinking about the word, and what it meant and how fleeting it can be for me at times with my busy life. Though I will say that because I spend more time in my studio than I do anywhere else in my life, and my studio is a constant source of creativity and pleasure, and personal challenges which I adore, the serenity or lack of it in my life comes when my work and my life get out of balance with each other. Or so I thought…
We had to answer a couple of questions at the start of the retreat, keeping in mind our “word”. Questions like “The soul is calling me to …” and “I am the one who…” We did a magazine clipping collage Saturday afternoon to explore these questions and our “word”.
So here is what I learned in a nutshell…
The soul is calling me to be balanced.
In balance is serenity.
I am the one who controls the balance in my life.
I thought that to achieve serenity there must be balance.
I was wrong…
True balance in all things (as it was pointed out to me) is largely unattainable.
The quest is to achieve serenity even when life is out of balance.
Life is unbalanced, that is a gift and a challenge and that’s OK. Creative people turn that unbalance into something visual and expressive.
The goal is to find my way back to my center, to find my own serenity within the unbalance that is life.
All pretty cerebral stuff. I came home Sunday afternoon quite full of serenity and ready to greet the world.
I moderated a serious family squabble between my kids.
I cleaned up all the recycling that the wind had blown all over the driveway and snow covered lawn.
I cleaned up the dangling Christmas lights that the wind blew down. (Note to husband in Saudi Arabia. It is time to come home. The Christmas lights need to be taken down.)
I returned a couple of phone calls to friends who were having issues in their lives and didn’t know I was away for the weekend.
I went to the grocery store to buy food as there was nothing to eat.
I went to my studio to check my email.
I looked at the email and started to get an anxiety attack.
I shut off my computer and went for the Mojito Mix.
It was a great weekend.