Sunday, June 30, 2013

Retreat

You may have noticed that I posted quite a few blog entries while my daughter was gone. Now that she is back from Oklahoma, I've too busy reprogramming her to have time for writing. By Wednesday, we were ready to ship her back. She would not go to sleep and it was leading to a bad scene at night and another one in the morning. She is still a natural-born night owl, but things finally got a little better by the end of last week.

The kid's first week at summer camp went well. It's a day program (not an overnight dealio) and she really seemed to like it. She was in a music camp for the first week. Next up, sports camp. That would've been my worst nightmare when I was a kid, but she seems fine with the prospect of playing sports all day.

As for me, I had a hectic week but ended it with a peaceful retreat on Saturday. The retreat was for the women of my church and was held at a bucolic, picturesque retreat center about 25 minutes from my house. I wasn't really sure what to expect but I was game for whatever transpired (please note: I peed in an outhouse). The eight of us spent the morning pulling weeds. I don't pull weeds in my own garden but didn't mind doing it. I am such a crappy gardener that I had to be given very explicit instructions as to what I could and could not pull.  We worked for a couple of hours and were then called inside for lunch. The ladies who run the retreat center put together an absolutely amazing lunch for us. I sat next to a fellow vegetarian and we found that there was plenty for us to eat. When you don't eat meat, you get used to having exactly one choice at many restaurants. "Would you like the portabella sandwich or perhaps you would prefer the portabella sandwich?" Here, there were countless items from which we could choose - from pureed turnip greens to cannellini beans to egg burritos. Good stuff.

After lunch, we gathered for a writing exercise. We were each given a couple of randoms words to inspire us and were then free to roam the grounds . . . to write, to meditate, or to do whatever. I have to confess that its pretty rare for me to disconnect and not feel like there is something I need to do. I wandered over by the alpacas and then over by the chickens. I liked the funny little sounds the hens made. The retreat center features a silo with three little apartments in it (people can rent them and have a little meditative getaway).  So, I sat on the steps of the silo and contemplated the words I had been given: earth and garden.  I made a list of garden-related words and then tried to figure out what to write. Everything I write is constructed via a keyboard; it had been a while since I attempted to write anything longhand.

I didn't really like where my brain was leading me. I thought about fertility and my lack thereof. I never really wanted to call myself infertile, I guess. Then I thought about weeds and gardens. I thought about how the other attendees, all of whom are older than I am, seem more comfortable in their own skin than I do.

So, finally, I wrote this:

I am not the weed.
I am not the thing that's not quite right.

I wrote lots of other lines and crossed them all out. I kept coming back to the first two lines I'd written. They seemed like enough somehow. 

After about a half-hour, the bell rang and we all reconvened. We sat outside under a beautiful old tree. We each read what we had written. Everyone else had written about the beauty of nature and about all the amazing things they'd seen in the gardens and on the hiking path by the creek. The idea was for each person to pull out a line or two from their writing so that we could pull it all together into one poem. I could see right away that my lines were weird and didn't fit with the others, but everyone was very gracious and supportive anyway.

The last hour of the retreat was spent with music. One musically-inclined attendee played the recorder while the rest of us attempted to sing along. I was relieved to see (and hear) that I was not the only one who could not sing.  Finally, we joined together and sang a hymn that we all knew by heart and that all Unitarian Universalists know well:

Go now in peace
Go now in peace
May the spirit of love surround you
Everywhere, everywhere
You may go

May it be so.











I peed in here, yes I did.

3 comments:

Sammy said...

Sounds like an amazing time!

mcumber1 said...

I am so happy that you went.

You are not the weed.
You are beautifully you, perfectly you.

May the spirit of love sorround you.
So simple, yet so powerful.

I am so proud, content, and fulfilled to be part of the UU's in our area...thank you for introducing me. I LOVE my kids growing up UU...loving, caring, questioning, discussing, exploring, serving, respecting, etc., etc.

mcumber1 said...
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