Thursday, 20 March 2014

Back to reality

Back from 5 whole days of silent retreat, which was both exhilarating and exhausting.

There is something about being in silence... the relief of not having to talk or be social or sociable... and yet still feeling hugely communal that is very special and something I certainly feel I need more of as I get older.

I went to Gaia House, which is down in Devon. A friend from the Highlands came down to stay the night before the retreat started and we left the house before 7 in the morning and 8.5 hours later arrived in West Ogwell (fairly near Newton Abbot). One of the things we couldn't vouch for was whether or not we would get a single room each and, I'm afraid to say, being women of a 'certain age' neither of us wanted to share with anyone. We'd both pleaded our causes in writing when we applied to go on the retreat and when we got there I was taken to my room. It was a double and I was disappointed, but as I waited and waited and waited for my room-mate to turn up, it dawned on me that actually they'd given in to my pleading letter and I was on my own. My friend wasn't quite so fortunate.

One of the things they ask at Gaia House is that each of us volunteer an hour of our time to help out. I opted for chopping veg, which I absolutely loved. A very meditative experience.

The actual retreat was meditation and qiqong. The meditation teacher was fantastic, but the qiqong teacher left a lot to be desired. He didn't seem to be paying attention to the retreatants or their posture and stood mainly with his eyes closed and expected us to follow. I was watching everyone and wondered who was going to get injured first. It turned out to be me! My lower back went into spasm and I was really pleased I'd packed my cold spray. However, the lesson was very much to take care of myself... if I hadn't been so keen on watching everyone else I might well have noticed when I was overdoing it.

There were some fascinating people there. One of my favourites was the lady (and I mean 'lady') who sat next to me with a chair, a mat and 9 cushions and who turned up every day in a co-ordinated outfit together with make-up carefully applied (including lipstick). I don't know why but I thought she was Swiss or French and in my mind christened her Marie-Christine. I was extremely disappointed at the end when she spoke in an English accent. I never did find out her real name so she is forever Marie-Christine in my book.

So back to reality. Today has been spent answering emails and making phone-calls and catching up with what Odi and MM have been up to in my absence. MM went off and did his 33 mile race and proudly announced that he could still walk up and down stairs the day after, which is totally brilliant. Odi meanwhile went off to spend time with her Guide Dog puppy pal Cathy. She had loads of fun and apparently Susan and Gordon (the Puppy Walkers she stayed with) are finding their house very quiet without Odi around.

One piece of very good news is that I'm to have another poem published. It'll appear in the Spring edition of The Eildon Tree. Whoopee!

And tomorrow? Back to meetings and work. Oh dear!

No comments:

Post a Comment