A fitful night. My cottage was literally on the edge of a bubbling creek, which is lovely during the day, but deafening at night. Its incessant gurgling made it difficult to discern where exactly those other creepy nighttime noises were coming from. I know it's perfectly safe, and the sounds of the countryside are supposed to be soothing, but it's a rough transition to make from the white noise of traffic, sirens, chattering people and garbage trucks to the creaking of the trees, the rustling of small animals, and the oppressive silence of the night.
I met Andrzej in the studio for yoga at 8:15 a.m. It was a very good session, with lots of loosening stretches and positions that seemed to open up the body both physically and spiritually. After yoga, we had breakfast in the main house: homemade granola with nuts and seeds (raw), fruit, almond milk, and grapefruit. And a big pitcher of water with sliced cucumbers and lemons. Delicious. There are never more than 6 guests allowed at a time at Spirit Springs, but for the first few days I was the only one there, so I had the privilege of Andrzej's undivided attention. We talked about death and new beginnings, and the word "emergency." Emerge and see opportunities for growth in the midst of chaos and overwhelming change.
It was a sunny day, so I set out for a hike after eating, and climbed to the top of one of the local trails which provided amazing vistas. On the way down the hill, I began feeling absolutely exhausted, and an indefinable sense of fear and panic began welling up inside me. I've been through a lot lately, plus the stress of this whole retreat thing. These feelings are understandable. I simply have to learn to ride them out, and remember that they always pass. There's no need to let the fear build upon itself. See it for what it is, accept it, and let it go. As Andrzej says, if you look directly into the fear, it usually diminishes; like when you turn on the light, the scary monsters suddenly disappear. If only I could believe this was true. I want to believe!
Around 2:00 p.m., I met a nice young woman in the studio for a healing massage. She also prepared two raw meals for me, because Andrzej had to go away for the afternoon/evening, so I would be completely alone until the following morning. Yikes! For a while, I just wandered around the property, walked along the creek, played with the cats, and then I went into a little tailspin. I curled up by the fireplace in my cottage, listened to an encouraging voice-mail that Mr. G had left for me before I left (the only way I'd hear his voice all week long), and started obsessing about how horrible this whole idea was. This is totally not my thing! Yoga, meditation, spirituality. It's just not a good fit for me! What was I thinking? What am I going to do with myself? I have to tough it out. I've made a commitment, if only to myself; I can't go home now. Crap, it's only Tuesday! Aaaaaaaa . . .
"If you try to win the war with your mind, you'll be at war forever."
After a while I went up the main house and ate some of the food that was left for me with sweet little notes explaining what everything was: forbidden rice with avocado, gazpacho soup to be poured over a bed of sprouts, blueberry hazelnut cream for dessert. All raw, all lactose and gluten free. I made myself some peppermint tea, and headed back to the studio to watch some of the DVDs that Andrzej had recommended before he left. He has quite a library, so I watched things about quantum physics and spirituality, and a woman named Gangaji and her teachings about death, and what a blessing it is. Everything she said made sense, but it's a difficult balancing act to "accept" death as one of the most natural and beautiful -- and inevitable -- of life's transitions, while still understanding that one must also grieve the loss. Yes, I appreciate that we are all glorious manifestations of the greater life energy, but I also miss my mom and dad, even if what I'm missing is really just their physical forms. That's all I knew! But not really. I knew their love, their essences, their spirits. And those things never really die. But it still sucks.
"Allow everything to be as it is. Let everything within you reveal itself to you. Fear is often a doorway; walk through it and see what's underneath. Ask yourself the question: What or Who am I? You are not your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or personality. All of these things exist within you, and yet there is a deeper "you" that is able to witness and observe them. Who is this observer?" (Adyashanti) I basically spent the evening in solitary spiritual study. What? Yes, that's right. So unlike me. And it was good. I went to bed feeling tired but enriched.
(Note: Please excuse the sometimes hokey spiritual imagery that accompanies these blogs.)