i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.
five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.
for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.
in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure
i’m NOT going
and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.
(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there… a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there… i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom… i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome… trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)
then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure
and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.
(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel… taking time off seems like a gift right now… money isn’t everything… helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity… being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel… reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)
i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…
you get the idea.
(Lady Queen Rabbit
shielding herself from my waffling with a collard leaf…)
less than two days before the retreat
i still catch my mind waffling.
but i’m going.
see, i saw this video the other day
(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)
and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes
because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart
o the aggression.
i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.
and how fast it comes up
how FIRST it often arrives
aggression before the softening
(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)
sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people
when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored
because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart
or maybe perhaps,
a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.
sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…
…seeing an elder shopping at a store…
…witnessing couples holding hands…
…someone helping somebody else out…
…being with animals…
but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.
i have to remember to soften, to be open.
and i judge myself for this.
that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…
in that aggression is the unconscious habit.
don’t have to think about it, it just arises.
to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.
so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering
that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park
(even though there is a lot of walking)
there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…
if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.
wishing you all a Happy New Year