IMG_2819IMG_2827IMG_2838“Well that retreat was a terrible waste of time. I wish I had stayed home and cleaned the toilets.” Said no one. Ever.

And yet for most of last week, I had this nagging feeling that a weekend retreat was just not how I needed to spend my time. If I could have come up with a more compelling alternative than cleaning toilets, I may well have bailed. Friday dawned and I just wanted to stay in bed.

I’d like to say that it was all grand as soon as I got out of the house, but Friday was a long day of reminding myself to just keep trying. Noticing the patch of blue in the gray sky, the one brilliant red vine maple among the stand of green conifers… It takes tremendous energy to meet a couple dozen new people, to explore a new place, to be open to new experiences. But the beauty of a retreat experience is that at some point your own mental chatter submits to the guidance and instruction of a leader. Saturday morning the skies slowly cleared and Sunday was downright sunny, the skies seeming to mirror my headspace.

Of course, in the end, a few days full of stillness and breathing mountain air and kindred folk was nothing but good for my body and soul. My shoulders are softer, my mind is quieter, my notebook is full of ideas to explore.

And I can ignore the state of the toilet for a few more days. I have lots of practice.