I'm coming out of my cave now. On Dec. 9th I went to a 10-day silent meditation course in Onalaska, WA.
I had a room with hardly anything in it and I didn't speak for 10-days.
People may ask, "Well what did you do then?" I meditated...and that's it. No other activities except eating, sleeping, and bathing and responding to calls of nature. I do this at least once a year and I have a daily practice. I find it very beneficial. It's easy for me to get lost in the drama of life otherwise...to be tossed and turned by what is going on around me. A 10-day Vipassana course is not easy, it's rigorous. Many people have an idea that going to meditate for 10 days is like going to the spa....ummm...it couldn't be farther from that idea. It's serious work. It's surgery. The benefits I get from practicing meditation outweigh the benefits I've gotten from anything else in life, so I keep practicing. It's been almost 14 years. I feel clarity, peace of mind on a very deep level, balance, and understanding of the impermanent, changing nature of things.
Before I started meditation, I felt a lot of anger, worry, and self doubt. I don't feel these as much anymore and if they come to pay a visit, they don't stay long. The most amazing thing that has happened since I started meditating is that I find myself exactly where I need to be. There's no second guessing. Things fall into place very easily. I get lined up with the right people, places and things. I feel a connection to those I meet and feel the importance of those who come into my life, whether they be a reader of this blog, an author or fellow blogger on another blog, a yoga student, an ESL student, a neighbor, the postman, a stranger, whomever it may be, I feel the importance of why they are in my life. I'm not saying that things don't go wrong anymore, they do, but I don't seem to have a strong reaction like I did before. I'm able to observe the situation a bit more from a distance. I don't feel so attached.
Another thing I've felt like doing since I started meditating is share with others the things that I have learned or the peace and happiness I feel. There's a lot of negativity in the world these days. If I am not aware, I can follow people right into the hornet's nest of negativity. Realizing that I can't please everyone is a big lesson for me. Some people will not be happy with what I say or do, but if I feel o.k. with it, that's all that's important. My purpose in life, I believe, is to share, open up and extend myself to others. Also, there are times when I need to retreat, gain energy and take care of myself.
When I came back from meditation, I wasn't quite ready to come out of my shell, but Christmas was right around the corner and my family had big plans. We had planned to meet at my father's lake house in Washington. I went from the nothingness of total silence right into the craze of Christmas shopping at Northgate Shopping Center near my house in Seattle. Christmas shopping at peak season, if anything, will shake you from your shell. I was still moving slowly through the hordes of people and had to sit down often.
Christmas with my family was nice. It was nice to see everyone and spend time together. I'm not sure I really had time to get into the "Christmas Spirit". I was kind of thrown into it. When I was young, I celebrated Christmas because my family did. I don't think much has changed. The Christmas I see in America seems to be about spending time with family, buying a Christmas tree, buying presents, decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, watching Christmas specials, listening to Christmas music, etc. Christmas is also about the birth of Christ, but that gets lost sometimes, I feel. I am not a member of any religion and I am member of ALL religions. Maybe it's good to celebrate everything. ..to celebrate life! I was happy to finally be celebrating at this peaceful lake setting with family.
I think I was more excited about the new year.... I already feel things are lining up. While I was meditating, my husband and his friend decided to start a yoga business together and they already found a building in Seattle that they are interested in. I feel that this will happen. The most amazing part of the "possible" yoga school is the atrium.
It has an indoor Eichler-style atrium. I've never seen an older building in Seattle with this feature. It's perfect for a yoga school. I feel like my husband and are I both working towards our goals and dreams simultaneously and they both support the same goal of sharing peace, happiness and joy with others. The creation of his yoga school will be a collaborative effort of friends who are painters, gardeners, designers, construction workers. I think it will be so interesting to see this process of so many people coming together to leave a part of themselves for others to enjoy. It's like one big art project. Stay tuned for more information as this project progresses. Happy New Year everyone!!