My Retreat Turned Into Retreating

On my way...

I’ve got my feet up, my heart out, my head on. I’m not sure if I’m ready or just resolute, but I’m on my way. Confronting my resistance with 7 days of all day, every day meditation. It might blow my mind to bits. But that might be a good thing.

That was the photo and those were the words rattling around within me Friday. Right before I turned my phone off, handed it to my hubby, and arrived at the ashram.

I’m not sure how to describe the week that followed. People like to ask if I “had a good time”, but “good” is not exactly the word that fits. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t exactly good either.

Useful. That was the adjective I settled on.

It was a useful week. Enlightening. Challenging. Helpful in many ways. Heart-wrenching in others.

I knew I’d be confronting my resistance to meditation, but I had no idea what that resistance was. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how I was about to crumble. Shit, I’m not even sure where to start, how to explain it, to describe the gamut of internal movement I went through and where it has lead me, and where it might be leading me now.

I mean, I see it. I feel it. I just have so few words for it.

Five meditations a day (I had thought it was only four). The first one at 6:30am, to which I could barely drag myself out of bed for.

That was my experience the first 4 and a half day actually. Bone-fucking-tired and can’t drag myself out of bed (or off the couch).

I’ve never slept so much in my life. I’d be awake just in time for the first meditation (fall asleep during it of course), then wake long enough to eat breakfast and take a shower, head to the second meditation and fall asleep within 15 min after until the third meditaiton, then eat lunch and try to read until I fell back asleep again, wake up just in time for the fourth meditation, have dinner, and then either fall back asleep until the last meditation or fight to keep my eyes open until I did.

Sleep, eat, meditate, punctuated by reading and discussion circles (of which I often fell asleep during).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised actually. My body tends to put me to sleep when I’m moving through deep work. I’m pretty sure it’s my spirit’s way of making sure my head doesn’t get in the way. I just hadn’t planned for it.

I also hadn’t planned for the way in which I retreated into myself.

Or all the crying.

Cracking open is hard work. It’s messy and more than a little embarrassing. There are so many parallels drawn in my heart, so many images my mind showed me if where I was.

I went expecting to confront the things in my world that were challenging me but all those things fell away. Instead what manifested was my own bullshit, but reflected back by my immediate surroundings. Instead what I dealt with was the deep gorges held within me. (Meaning you can’t do work in your world by withdrawing from it. At some point you’ll have to step back into your world to apply what you’ve learned.)

And there were two main things I saw within me:

  1. Exactly who I am in this body, this mind, this personality, this set of needs, these emotions, this heart.
  2. How skillfully I’ve avoid it.

I saw patterns through eyes that have never seen so clearly. I saw my heart behind a brick wall – to protect it from the world, but also from myself. I saw what I’m capable of – both good and bad. I mourned the death of everything I wanted to see. I rejoiced at what I had long insisted wasn’t allowed in my world.

I realized that one of my greatest desires is to know myself, and then I realized with a sudden start that I did know myself, and part of that self was the desire to still search, to still learn, to experience the depths of myself, the parts that can never fully be known – that that is what makes me Tara. Digging into the depths with ease. Finding beauty in what others see as darkness or ugliness or fear. I realized how dangerous those very pieces of myself could be if not handled with care.

I saw a lifetime of my real self reflected in a thousand choices, a hundred styles, all the ever-changing parts of my chameleon skin pulling together to make a whole. How every varied place I’ve been in my life was really all aspects on the same spectrum I play on.

I think I went hoping to transcend myself and my ego, and instead I ended up fitting more snuggling into my own skin.

So much more happened. Things that tore my chest open and toppled me to the floor. But each time I try to write them out, they draw themselves back again.

Right now I’m unraveling what all this unraveling means for me back in the “real world”. I can feel a need to shift, to reclaim, to embrace myself (with a bit of a middle finger to the whispers in my head that I shouldn’t). I’m wanting to unravel how to hold onto this comfortable, settled place I found when I stepped away from the busy and the crazy and the push-pull of the world.

But until I get that figured out, I’ll leave you with this, because it makes me laugh…the cocktail and decadent meal I treated myself to after I left Friday night. Because every week at an ashram should be celebrated with alcohol, baby back ribs, and cheesecake, no? ;)

What? You don't celebrate a week of meditation at an ashram with a cocktail, ribs, and cheesecake?  #yesidid #keepinitreal

P.S. Synchronistically, we’re still talking about Self-Acceptance in the Sisterhood this month. Have you joined us?

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