Hello friends. I've not posted for a few weeks because I've been away on two very different courses. I love learning new things and having new experiences. What a magical mystery tour this life is.
Last week I went on my first meditation retreat at the Sharpham Barn near Totnes in Devon. As the Universe seems to be guiding me to open a retreat centre, I thought I better start going on retreats! Sort of a 'try before you buy'!
It was a profound experience.
Much of the week was in silence, but we were allowed to smile and make eye contact, which I was grateful for. My favorite day was the silent 36 hours in the middle of the week. As someone who is transitioning from being a chatter-box into living a more peaceful way, being in silence was bliss. Not having to talk to people is such a relief! It's good to share stories but I also really enjoyed not talking. I really cherish quiet times and time alone. (Do you like silence too? Love to hear your from you...)
We woke early each day and I went and watched 4 sunrises in a row, wrapped in a blanket, drinking tea. It was so amazing to watch the sunrise, especially being a late riser. I think I had only seen about 5 sunrises before that in my whole life! I have been missing out on the peace of the early morning. The owls said goodnight to each other, then the birds starting waking up, the geese flew down the river Dart and the world came alive again, in tones of pink and orange...
The other wonderful discovery was being off my iPhone for 6 days! I have never gone cold turkey from my electronic devices before and I was apprehensive about how my children would cope without me, but of course they were fine and had an emergency number to call if they needed to. It made me notice how much I look at my phone so I did some inquiry into this and found many layers of anxiety ranging from my 20 year marriage, running a stressful business, right back to an old fear of not being there for the children, probably stemming back from my own childhood.
So when I felt the fear arising, I breathed into the emotion, giving it full permission to be there and sending it love. Sending loving kindness to your anger, your sadness, your fears, your regrets is like defrosting the fridge, sending warmth to a cold place. It can be very transforming.
I say to myself: Sadness, you are welcome. Anger, you are welcome. Guilt, you are welcome. Fear, you are welcome.
Make all emotions, which are simply energies in motion, welcome. Because what we resist we become. If we resist anger, we are always angry. If we resist sadness, we are always sad.
Why not try it and defrost your fridge :)
I will write more about the retreat in the next few posts, but suffice to say it was a life-changing week, shared with 10 other wonderful people, all practicing self-care and taking time out to rest and be at peace. And I have changed my relationship with my technology, keeping my devices away from my bedroom at night and not carrying my phone around all the time. I bought a watch so that I could keep a track of time without looking at my phone for the time. It's work in progress but I am happy to be making changes that seem bring me more peace.
I am also walking more slowly! We practiced mindful walking on the retreat, walking as slowly as we could, barefoot on the cool damp grass! Bliss. On the day the retreat ended, I went into the city of Plymouth and to my wonder and delight found myself walking more slowly than everyone else. I was in some kind of very peaceful slow motion and it felt wonderful. Where are we all rushing to?!
My second course was learning to navigate the ocean on my boat. Four days at sea with an instructor and we lucked out with the weather. I feel so at home on the ocean and am so grateful to have been guided to buy this boat. Here are some photos from my trip, covering 100 nautical miles, visiting Dartmouth, Salcombe and Plymouth.
It really reminds me of what a incredible wet and watery planet we are having this precious human experience on. I think the 80% of me that is water feels so at home with the 100% sea water! Just like the Little Drop of Water reaching the sea and realizing he was Home. Do you feel the same around lakes, rivers and the ocean? There just seems to be so much peace in the ocean.
Sending you love and wishing you peace.
At our core, we are peace - it's just waiting to be remembered and rediscovered.
- Rob Holmes