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Report from the Mountains

Posted 11/18/2014

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  On this third day of our retreat, the sun is shining. When I awakened, the pink dawn was coloring the skylight over my head. It was almost as beautiful as the snow yesterday, but I am surely grateful for easier weather. The sun is now fully up, and I type and look out the colors of the mountains: greens and blues and blacks and browns and patches of white on the higher elevations.

  Yesterday, oh yesterday was remarkable. After the Community Meditation and a delicious breakfast (and have I mentioned how well they feed us? Everything is absolutely delicious, but the biggest favorite was lunch yesterday of home made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. What could possibly be better on a snowy day?), we stayed around the table, sipping tea, and talking about topics that are ordinarily difficult and even unapproachable. We discussed the new state form about DNR, cremation vs. burial, death with dignity, talking with our families and our doctors about end of life decisions. There were some tears, but there was more laughter and a true sense of love and endless support and the natural order of life.

  We then had a marvelous hour plus session with DJ and Jamie from Bodhi and Mind Yoga; their drive up from Boston had been long and difficult due to weather, so they felt especially embraced and welcomed to arrive at this special place. In the Great Room, we sat and lay on pillows and covered ourselves with blankets and stretched and felt and experienced being and being alone together. They concluded with a remarkable head and neck massage that felt like being kissed by an angel. Later, we asked them to teach us how to do it, and we practiced on one another, but I suspect a bit of experience will help.

  Lunch was the perfect menu mentioned above, and then we rearranged our afternoon's schedule as some of us wanted a nap and others "too excited to be together to be sleeping" wanted to sit by the fire and talk. A few found cozy spots to read, and an hour or so of just doing what we each needed was possible. In our lives, there is virtually never a time when we don't have to do or give or consider someone else. It is an incredible luxury to have an hour like this when the only directive is "What do I need right now?" We can thank, I think, DJ and Jamie for helping us identify this blessing.

  When we came together again, in Circle, by the fire in the Great Room, we were family. Most of our discussion was too private and sacred to share, but several women told us things they said had never been spoken aloud and allowed us to love and help them. Without disclosing any details, one woman talked at length re her relationship with God and her worry now that, because of that relationship and promises made, she could not do what she needs to do for herself. Another woman softly pointed out that God had brought her here at this moment, had brought us here together, and was using us to help her.

  I also especially loved a moment when I asked a woman who had been very quiet if she wanted to stay quiet or if she wanted to speak. Because of an earlier private conversation, I knew she had things on her mind. She opted to stay quiet, and, immediately, another woman voiced the exact same concerns that she was reluctant to share. That can only be Grace.

  As dark had fallen, we moved towards the dining room, warmed by a stove, and had wine and marvelous appetizers including an incredible avocado and chocolate pudding/dip. What a marvel! Dinner followed with both raucous and intimate conversations.

  Some of us then attended an evening Community Meeting. Again, there was meditation and then soft conversation. There were, I think, 6 of us from our group and perhaps 12 from "outside". The candles threw golden light on the Buddha figure, and the fires at both ends of the magnificent room burned. What beauty and peace.

  To bed under the slanted ceilings and skylight, overflowing with gratitude and wonderment.



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  • Ginny Hoverman said:
    11/20/2014 12:26 PM

    I feel calm just reading these words. The consistent presence of warmth, love, and light fill me with a sense of belonging-ness. I am grateful to be on the planet among such kind and gentle spirits. Thanks for bringing me in through your blog.

  • Carmen Johnson said:
    11/18/2014 3:54 PM

    Great Blog and great update on what I MIssed. I did not see any info on the Spring retreat. Perhaps you can fill me in? Thanks, Carmen