Retreat Day Two
It is very softly snowing. I awakened to gray light filling my room, and a spectacular view of the White Mountains outside my windows. Showering, putting on yoga clothes, coming downstairs, I find only a few of up awake. The wonderful, thoughtful, gentle, and generous Wonderwell staff are around, and have put out fruit and coffee and many kinds of tea (a real breakfast will follow). There is quiet conversation, and the sense of being held by each other and by the universe.
Everyone safely arrived yesterday for lunch, and I think we all were dazzled by the beauty of this spot. Apparently, Wonderwell was built as the summer home of a (very) wealthy NY couple, and even has a concert hall! That beautiful space is now the heart of the home, a large and beautiful room (pictured on the website), used for meditation and yoga and meetings and reflection. The name reflects the fact that, in 150 years, the well has never run dry. But I digress.
Lunch was delicious, hot and sour soup and spring rolls and cheeses. There was a semi-awkward, semi-comfortable vibe in the room. Some of us knew one another, but half did not, and the conversation felt social and balanced between stranger and friend. After lunch, we gathered in the beautiful large room and had our first discussion. What was intended to last an hour and a half went on for three hours--three hours of incredible honesty and intimacy and tears and laughter and hugs. By the time we finished, we were closely bonded.
The afternoon continued with small group discussions (one around couples issues, the other for singles), and a wonderful almost hour long guided meditation and tnen wine and appetizers, followed by a delicious dinner. We then enjoyed a creative arts session, led by Samten, that used clay as metaphor and object. To put the positive spin on this: it is kind of nice to see continuity in one's life, and the stable thread is that I am totally non-creative. Years ago, when I was a Brownie leader, the little girls flocked to the other leader whenever there was an arts and crafts project. The only change in this theme is that I am no longer embarrassed.
So, there is a summary of the activities, but little about the experience. I am going to have to ponder this for longer to come up with the right words to fully describe the fellowship and grace and, yes, love, that has filled this healing space. One woman, describing the reality of living with advanced cancer, said: "I feel as though I am being slowly erased." Another later countered that, here, together, we are filling ourselves back in.