I leave in just a couple hours, and I haven’t packed or even done laundry. I’ve been rushing through all the things I need to do before I leave because once I’m gone I’m actually going to be 100% gone. Off the grid.
Seven days. Nothing but meditation.
No email. No Facebook or Instagram. No internet whatsoever.
I’m not even going to bring my phone. [Insert wide-eyed look of fear here.]
Unless there is a bonafide emergency – something that (heaven forbid) involves a hospital or a mortuary – I will have zero contact with anyone but my own Self and the few others who will be on this little “retreat” with me. (That alone is a big deal. I can’t remember ever being out of contact with Justin or Zeb for more than 24 hours.)
It’s not really a retreat, in the way we’ve come to see retreats. It’s not up in the mountains or filled with yummy organic foods made by some Kitchen Goddess. It’s not scheduled on the calendar and filled with other meditators from around the world who signed up with me (although I did plan my retreat at a time when others were also planning theirs).
Nope. Nothing “fancy” or “sexy” or “dreamy” about it. Which is exactly why I chose it.
It was only an opportunity. A standing offer to anyone who seriously wants to confront their own practice, deepen it, not because it looks fun or beautiful or restful, like a gorgeous vacation; not because it will make me look like any of those things. Those things are beautiful and wonderful and meaningful, but I knew I needed to take up this offer without all that in order to take it seriously.
The offer to stay at a nearby meditation center in the middle of busy commercial part of town. To putter around, read their books on their worn down sofas, partake in endless conversation that will either energize me or totally wipe me out, scribble mad notes in my notebook, DIG IN, and most importantly, take it all a step further – practice how to fully and completely release it and come instead to meet and know my own center of consciousness.
I know it will be intense, not because they or it is intense, but because the shit that has been surfacing as this date approached is intense. Intense resistance, in the form of irritation toward it, fear of it, exhaustion at the thought of it, and endless, endless, endless reasons why the timing is just not good.
I used to think that resistance like this was my inner guidance telling me not to go.
I mean, it’s LOUD, and loud is something to listen to right?
But I can now recognize it for what it is: Bullshit.
We’ve all been there, right? In that space between My Wisdom and My Bullshit, and unsure of who is telling the truth when they both insist the other can’t be trusted?
I faced those battling voices – one being damn near drown out over the screaming of the other – and had to make a choice. Which do I listen to? Which do I trust to be my guidance?
It’s a question we all struggle with. Only this time I knew what personal patterns to look for.
When I made the decision to retreat, I felt a pounding heart, tears in my eyes at the sense of homecoming, anticipation and impatience that I had to wait three months for September to come around, and an undoubtably steady knowing that I needed to be here. I felt an overwhelming surge of Love; for myself, for this opportunity and those offering it, for the journey I am on, for Life and all those who live it with me. I felt confidence in my decision to confront my own meditation practice and felt the same confidence that this safe space would be the right one to support me, without taking any of my crap. I knew it all like I know I have a vagina. It was obvious. You couldn’t convince me otherwise without sounding like a crazymaker.
When the resistance started sneaking in, I felt agitated, critical, annoyed, judgmental, unsettled, uncomfortable. I felt scattered, distracted. Too busy, full of excuses. Short-tempered or full of doubt. I danced on the corner of “how could I” and “it’s just not a good time”. I tried to DIG IN and hit a protective barrier, something that told me to go “Fuck Off” because this one wasn’t going to budge no matter what I did or said.
It sounds like it was an obvious choice when I write it all out – a choice between Love and Trust…or everything else – but it really wasn’t.
Even when I could see the contrast, I still wasn’t sure which to trust. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time showing up for that voice of fear in my life. It’s strong, insistent, convincing.
But this time I decided to show up for that voice of Love instead.
I wrote this in the Sisterhood:
But my mantra has been to “keep showing up”, steadily choosing to follow my initial instinct…Those initial instincts can be so easily buried once the mind starts gibber-jabbering, so I just keep bringing it and me back to that moment when I knew beyond any doubt the choice was perfect. I’m not giving those surfacing doubts the same power to make my decisions as I’m giving that joy and the whole-body-Yes feelings I’ve had (even if they aren’t the stronger sense right now).
I made the final decision on Monday. I chose to just show up.
To keep showing up to my daily meditation practice, even when I really don’t wanna.
To show up to this retreat and hopefully confront whatever the hell is rearing its ugly head and locking me out of the conversation.
After making the decision I had one Oh-Shit moment when I almost backed out – too much to do, too many distractions (too many excuses).
And in that moment I chose to “just show up” again.
Not perfectly. Not with a sweet smile and a fake disposition. I might even scowl at someone when I walk through the door tonight (I think they’ll understand). And I might even just own my bullshit and ask for help.
But even without the bells on, I will definitely be there. Which is more than enough.