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Archive for May, 2011

Retreat

I went on retreat in March and early April. These are words written at that time. I had been to this place before – Harbin Hotsprings – and as the previous time, i hesitated to return. i planned to stay a few days and stayed almost a month. I have written about this place before – but this time with the focus on the self, the place became more the “me” and the “i” that is called forth. The first time i went – 2 years before – i felt a growth and a blossoming inside – but this time i felt a sense of loss and an emptying out of all that was truly the inner soul – and called on god to help me through. Much is unwritten, but this is it.
While i once needed a retreat, the call is to engage and to connect, not only with the self but with all around. There i felt cut off from much of what i valued, and have realized that a retreat is no longer the answer.

1) I come back to nature and feel disconnected, less time communing with what is. instead i turn within and focus on what is inside, though not solely the soul or the inner light but that which surrounds, the chattering, the emotions and thoughts that i thought were gone but that have found their way back right here, in this place where they have become alive before. instead of opening up, expanding my chest and heart, i find myself hunched over, shoulders closing, closing down. the loneliness and sense of outsider and not belonging have returned once again, feelings i thought i has said goodbye to, “friends” i thought that i had let go of. but they return, call me back like familiar faces that seem less friendly that before. can they sense me trying to say goodbye, that i too am not as friendly as i once was and is it i that shut down against their penetration, closing off the spirit as well.
I commune less with the land although i sleep outside. Sleep deep, sleep well, awaken rested in my nest, but it is time to emerge. the morning is cold, so i hide in my cocoon, and then stay too long, long after i was meant to emerge, and the voices and feelings come up again, the wonderful inbetween zone of insight, wisdom, and connection, turns upon itself, to tears and feeling alone. for i lingered too long, as i do here, as i have in my greater cocoon – turning inwards when it is time to reach out.

The storms keep my here, though i wonder how much longer my world will hold, will the tent stay up for yet another night, but do i venture out there – do i venture far. so i walk the same paths yet again, resting in familiar places, and what once was new and wonderous becomes stale. or am i connecting, truly connecting to my nature after all? letting go of illusions and scripts that i once held, facing that from which i turned away, owning who i am inside.

Storms blow through, the ground shakes, yet i remain peaceful inside, then comes calm and i shake. The winds blew through, strongly, intensely on a saturday night, blowing down branches and limbs, signs and more, shaking the tent or was that the earth – i really do not know, but i sleep, and sleep within,

The full moon, the equinox have passed and on to another season, another cycle to begin. Balance for a moment then light begins to surpass dark, and the season for growth begins. To push out of the ground, and to nurture the seeds planted below, a renewal of life and calling forth. And the super moon, closest to earth in a long while, a culmination of the cycle set out, full fruit, the light is grand, and now it begins to dwindle again, though the stars will appear brighter in the sky.

But i do not watch the moon, sit in its wonder, or the land for that matter – a day with the stones, then i seek out shelter, warmth and dry and crawl within, And i do not shine and thus do not relate, feel wings cut off in the valley here. storms come, predictions of doom, or the earth shaking with the super moon, of another japan, but on this side of the sea, and i hold back, i hold back, and do not explore.

2)Another rainy day and i become more relaxed. Calmer, unhurried, complacent. The stress fades away, as does the urgency, the urgency for anything. I listen to him talk of revolution, an overthrow of all that is wrong and evil, and i listen quietly, not saying much at all – the words roll over me, washing over so it seems. i do not feel involved, though a kernel in me says that i should be, that i should be angry, the injustices of it all, is my quietude just complacency, but the fight is gone, the fight against all he rails about, and also the need to argue with him, a quietude.
3)I long to engage once again – people around and my feelings of aloneness increase – disconnected – not on the same vibe – and a few around which people share. This is not my tribe, i know it now – so why did i come back here. is it my saying that it is not that makes it so, or is it a perception i accurately pick up, and more and more i know it is the latter. and can i say it so, without judgement on either side – of myself or of them, and how do i live in oneness if i perceive a them, and that is the language that i hear so often here. both, the duality of the singularity, but it is something that you cannot call. and can i leave here without feeling bad about myself, and alone once again – because that is the way i have been feeling, and with that the inner life dims.
The focus here is on the self, an indulgent and healing focus, but one nonetheless. and on relationships and sexuality, something i do not share, i turn inwards and feel caged within these valley walls. i talk more, more conversations per day than in a very long time, but feel more isolated nonetheless. disconnected from what calls, and the intensity and passions are gone, a smooth existence but without the shine, a letting go but not a filling up, the joy or bliss of excitement have not called, is this what life is really about?
I say i long to engage and in many ways i do here, but in a way that i feel less connected than before. i do yoga most days, though not for the last two, healing circles, breath work, earthlight healing, a temple ceremony, a dance of universal peace, i cook a bit, and eat in the restaurant, i soak in the warm pools, and the hot and cold plunge, a sauna often right before bed, i walk up and down the hills and paths, and sleep outside in a tent in tune with the elements, and yes, i go online a few times a day, and that too seems less urgent than before. I read a series of national geographics, a book on ancient stones and civilizations, i feed a cat, i put away dishes, i walk a few trails, but somehow i feel less than truly alive inside. i meditate and speak to god, but the passion is gone – elation and despair, a moments joy, but something gets leached out of me. is it merely the waters or is there more. i want to give and grow but i often feel vibed out. is it merely the rain, but i have felt this way in the summer heat as well, the drive is gone, zapped out of me. i do not feel sad per se, just isness, a bit blase and i wonder if this is the goal they talk about. but sadness still arises, and i want to feel truly alive, excited to greet each day, instead of just passing time as i feel like i am doing waiting for the storms to pass – waiting for inspiration from god.
Aside – not written at the time
I feel the pain of one who initially helped me on my first visit now laughing at me as i went to yoga – letting go, no longer afraid, and i crawled back in, stopped going. We were to let loose, feel the body and i did, explore movement, make faces and noises, and i let go, felt alive. But then the jokes overheard about myself and i crawled back in, reliving old pains of daring and shining and then being condemned for it. I hid away again, as i often had, stopped yoga.

4)I feel the container holding me in. the valley walls no longer caress tenderly like a happy womb, but close in like walls of a shrinking room. and that is what i do as well, shrink inside. Is it merely this place holding me back for i now am certain that this is not my milieu, both in terms of the natural surroundings that do not resonate – neither calling me forth or pushing me out, but more an overall blase, and of what has been created within – the culture of this place, the thought forms, emotions and mode of life, the consciousness held inside. And how does shrinking back on one level feed the other, a cycle of reciprocal feedback growing deeper all the time, the circuits becoming more ingrained. I try to shift it, but i feel a heaviness pressing down, and that very heaviness holds me back and cuts me off more. i give thanks, for on the head level i appreciate much that is here, and in the heart as well, but it is not my place, and i feel like a caged animal in a foreign zoo, well tended to, but slipping, slipping from what calls inside, what calls to life, the true nature, like a house cat who stares blankly out the window, no longer yearning for what has become but a fuzzy memory, a forgotten life, now content with a stuffed catnip filled mouse, a basket, and food, only occasionally zipping around madly, climbing curtains, not really sure why. But i still yearn
And i feel like i have in other locales, and i see myself shrinking, is it because i am cutting myself off, not joining in, sending out light. but i do not feel it is being called for, i speak to god, but it becomes harder to talk as the silencing begins, and grows. be content they say, but is contentment really this blase. accept what is, and i do, as being as it is, but my heart yearns, is this desire – that desire that some say is wrong, that merely leads to suffering, but is not that desire a form of passion listening to the heart’s song, living, living truly and passionately, living madly and boldly, and is that not but the purpose of life, to live while we are here on earth, to be fully alive and then to die, not to exist in that in between zone, like the zombies of the horror flicks. those who lurch along, heavily, stumbling, eyes not seeing, with expressionless faces and toneless voices.

Is it merely being in a place too long, engaging in familiar actions, and thus thoughts and emotions, that sleep walking through life- the calmness – that leads to sluggishness, And is that not the opposite of being alive, and is not being alive learning to see the life in all at all times, to be in a place, to know it intimately, to feel the seasons, the life force, the changes in all, to walk in awe at all moments, connected, one with the all.

But there are places where each of us feel more alive, for places are containers of energy, and we all have our place(s) in this energetic dance called life. I listen to conversations, of people bonding, on similar wavelengths, and mine is different, even if it were thriving and vibrating fully – they can come together and move apart, but are more akin to partners in a square dance or round, coming, merging, breaking apart, than like a more formal dance, and neither is better or worse, and each have a role, but they are not the same, and cannot be without taking away from each, joining one on one to form a creative force, but the pools for each somehow differ, the nutrient contents of the soil, the place in the garden, though they are all wanted there. But the garden is not the world, and here but a bed, and is merely a place to rest, the soils are not mine, and so i struggle for life, too much water or too little, acidic or base, provided something of what i was lacking, but lacks in other ways, and my gifts do not grow and multiply and are not showing forth in this place.

And does withholding gifts fuel this more, for as i shrink i become less and baser modes of thought and behaviour arise, and it is that which i become attuned to in others, and others in me, and that forms the basis for interaction.

Can i just change the lens and view all differently through the prism of light Or does that gnawing voice and feeling inside mean something and speak to me and is it time to listen, not to the negativity and the criticism but to that call that lay beneath, that call that lay feeling suppressed, smothered out. for that is important, and the failure to listen calls up the former which are but cries in the dark. Cries in the dark. and those cries, can become cries of joy when put to light.
To listen to those whispers, not to muffle them out.
________
I left lost as i had before. A few days at the end i connected to the land on my 4 mile walk to town – the hills and the cows and the areas with the potholes. i walked a trail up the hill, and felt the stones and the creek and new blossoms. but i could not take photos, laptops were an unfamiliar site, and i felt cut off. So i returned to San Francisco – not knowing my next step, knowing that i has indeed retreated.

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