Saturday, November 19, 2011

Expanding Light

A few weeks back I was having a melt down.  No doubt my raging pregnancy hormones had increased the intensity of my upset, but it was a real upset nonetheless.  My complaint, it turns out, held no water as I was quickly shown.

Me: (Crying and whiny) "I don't get to just go away for a few days like you do!  I resent that you can I and I can't!"
E: "Why can't you?"

And "POP!" goes my balloon of pitifulness and victim-laden thoughts.  Well said, E.  Well said.

The universe has been working for me in spooky ways lately.  It has brought people into my life that I want to be in long, fabulous conversations with.  It has answered questions that I have had only to myself.  It is actively laying the groundwork for my life to be filled with people who are interested in the same goals that I am and I am truly loving what it looks like.  This same thing happened as a response to my complaint with E.  The very next day a deal came into my email for a getaway just an hour from here.  Two days and two nights, up in the hills of Nevada City doing yoga, meditation or doing nothing at all.  I bought it.

I panicked.

Rosanna is nearly 2 years old (WHAT?!) and I hadn't spent a night away from her ever.  There may have been one time when a grandma put her to bed, but otherwise it's always been me.  Every single night since she was born, approximately 635 days straight I have snuggled our little bean sprout all night long (and loved it).  Now here I was facing not only two days but two whole nights as well.  The levels of excitement and panic were in a battle for my affection and mostly panic was winning.

When I made my reservation the lady was gentle and kind on the phone.  Talking to her I already felt relaxed and taken care of.  I even got a bit more excited about the while thing.  She encouraged me (after learning what the nature of my visit was) and reassured me that I would not regret it.

Leaving the house that morning to escape into the wilderness was no big deal.  I got kisses and hugs and I was off.  Gone.  What it really felt like was freedom.  My kid was in the caring, loving hands of her father so what else was there for me to fret about?  Nothing.  I filled up with gas and had the feeling like I could really, actually do anything right then.  If I wanted to drive into the Nevada desert I could.  I had only to come home in two days, no one would even know what I had been up to.  Or I could go to the airport and fly to Vegas.  Or drive to Tahoe.  It was like my strings were cut.

I headed up to Nevada City anyway.

When I got there I stopped into a book store for a book that I already owned but seemed to be MIA since our move.  I felt like I needed it for the trip.  I found it in a sweet little book store and had a conversation with the owner about how she had replaced a book onto this one particular spot multiple times.  She couldn't figure out why the book kept disappearing, no matter which book she put there it wouldn't be there by the end of the day.  It was, as she said (multiple times), "Blowing my mind!".  Her bafflement was too much, she had to share it with me.  I giggled to myself and attributed the "mind blowing" to the universe prepping me for my upcoming adventure.
Here's my journal entry from my first night at the Expanding Light retreat center:

Today is the first day of the first night away from Rosanna.  I am in Ananda Village, far from everything.  As I drove away from home I was pummeled with unsure thoughts.  'What did I forget to tell Ethan?'  That Rosanna takes oatmeal with a cube of ice? No, he already knows this.  'What did I forget to pack?', 'What if I don't have everything I need?'.  This particular thought is funny to me now because the basis of life here is 'simplicity'.  Before I left the house I emptied the trash, wrangled some laundry, refilled a sippy cup, cleaned up blocks, wrote out directions for myself, put up the number for E on the fridge.  It was all I could do to not pre-prep meals for them.  I almost packed make-up.  The act of leaving wasn't difficult.  I feel like it should have been.  It wasn't.
On the drive through town I felt free.  Free of expectations and free of rules I created for myself.  I suppose this is why I bought a Snickers at the gas station...then a Filet-O-Fish at Mc D's.  I haven't eaten at Mc D's in at least 2 years.  
It was a terrible choice, I felt crappy afterwards- shocking.
After driving for eons I got here.  My room's in a dorm-esque building.  The room itself is tiny with two beds (no roomie so far) and a space heater.  The bathroom is across the hall.
-Yoga teachers classes going on= lots of hatchbacks
-on my walk I found bear tracks!!!
-dinner: beans & greens soup, sunflower pate, fresh baked foccacia bread and garden salad
-mediation was horrible: back pain, brain restless, feet fell asleep

Later that same night: I just feel lonely.  It's 7:30pm and I have nothing to do.  I have these repetitive urges to call E, turn on the T.V., go online.  None of these things are a possibility.  I am going to brush my teeth, put on my jams and lay down with a book.
Being silent is a part of why I'm lonely.  My "I'm in Silence" badge means I'm invisible.  I hadn't anticipated that.  Goodnight?

When I got there, I was given the option to be in silence for my stay.  My thoughts on it were: why not?  There must be a reason it's offered, so I'll give it a go.  By the end of my stay I was no longer feeling totally invisible, people would acknowledge me with a smile or a nod.  Others would avoid me all together.  

Next Day:
Strange things are happening.  I just walked into my building past two girls sharing stories about going to the bathroom outdoors and discovering mid-squat how close they were to a giant lizard.  Not only did I go to the bathroom outside earlier today, but I JUST now went to the bathroom to discover I was VERY close to a thick black spider as I peed.  Also, I was looking through books in the gift shop and pages I opened up were almost verbatim words used in meditation and in a talk today and yesterday.
After watching a 20 minute video of Swami Kriyananda (the guy who founded this place) we meditated for 7 minutes (way better this time- I sat in a chair instead of on the floor) then went to lunch.  At lunch we blessed /prayed over the food before we filled our plates.  There were many more people around than yesterday.  It sounded like some had been "in seclusion" and are out now.  
I feel happier here today than I was yesterday.  Yesterday I was contemplating going home today.  I almost couldn't even stay the night.  It was no good.
This morning we had an oatmeal style cereal for breakfast with fruit & yogurt & cottage cheese.  The I went for a 2 hour walk.  I saw almost no one.  The most activity was by the goat barn where the ladies were doting over the goats and chickens.  Also by the school where there were no fences and kids were riding sleds down hill thick with pine needles.
I took a nap when I got back.  For lunch we had basmati rice, pinto beans & veggies, steamed collard greens with lemon and garden salad.  I loved it all.  I have yet to feel full/gross after eating a meal here.  I have felt perfectly filled and nourished.  It's fabulous.
I've gone to the market twice.  Both times I got a filled pastry that they make there and it's super yummy.  Going to the market is the most confronting activity so far.  It's not Expanding Light property and I have my badge of silence on.  No one has done anything to make me feel this way.  
There is two hours and forty five minutes until yoga/meditation/affirmation begins.  Having unscheduled time was more difficult yesterday than it is today.  I force a schedule though.  Like the walk this morning was planned, then a nap, then a video, then lunch.  Now I'm schedule-less.  I'm gonna take my book to the lake and read.  I still do a mental check for my phone when I leave the room.  It's strange to not need to be carrying around all kinds of things.
I broke my vow of silence.  After sitting by the lake, reading, I decided to walk to the market for some shampoo.  I left my book, water bottle and camera on the bench just outside the market door.  When I came out there was a little dog sitting on the bench near my stuff.  He stood up and I said, "Hey little buddy".  It figures I would break it talking to a dog.
After energization, yoga & affirmation and meditation was dinner.  We had cauliflower soup, barley bread, egg salad, garden salad and pinto beans & veggies (from lunch!).
Afterwards I sat in on a talk about healing methods: diet, heliotropic, prayer and affirmations.  The guy leading it had just spent a week in solitude.  He saw no one and spoke to no one for a week!  Dang!
I'm going to leave after breakfast tomorrow.  I've watched the video on my camera of Ro counting to 18 a few times and it's an understatement to say I cannot wait to see her.

That's the last thing I wrote.  Some things about the place I didn't expect are that it was fairly spiritual.  Not in a "pray to God" kind of way.  The prayer over food was more of a thanks to the universe for putting us in this place and time that we are able to have food that will keep us thriving.  I really enjoyed that sentiment.  Their philosophy was hard for me to grasp entirely (being in silence didn't lend itself to me discovering the parts of information that were missing for me) but I gathered that they didn't entirely subscribe to a "religion" but instead to an unending pursuance of higher consciousness.  Their prayer and practices are all aimed at reinforcing that path, to keeping themselves mindful of what it's going to take to achieve their goal.

I was surprised to discover I wasn't really appreciative of the time until I left.  While driving away I felt it.  I felt full of fresh air and deep peacefulness.  I was only gone for 2 days, but I can still access it.  I remember siting by the fireplace with my book and thinking: this is why I'm here.  I can sit here, be still and my ankles aren't being used as steps to shimmy up onto my knees by a vibrant one year old.  I could sit here for the next few hours and no other responsibilities would present themselves.  

And that is ultimately why I went.  

No comments:

Post a Comment