Packing for one week retreat, starting today with Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella, I am bringing a lot more than the IMC recommended list of 'personal items to bring'. And I don't mean stuff.
It has been a long time, twelve years exactly, since I went on a week long silent retreat. While I am eagerly looking forward to that time of undivided presence with myself, I am also very aware of the many thoughts and emotions that I am carrying with me, in anticipation. Some of these may be familiar to you, who have gone on retreats before. In the pit of my stomach, anxiety, excitement, relief, aversion, doubt, fear, faith, and curiosity, collide to form a nervous ball. In my mind, concurrent thoughts stumble in a cacophony of voices, some louder than others. "This is good, exactly the medicine that's needed at this point in my life." "I wonder what's going to happen." "I hope I will have a good roommate." "I hope the food will be ok." "This is not going to be fun." "I can't wait to come back home." "I wish they had a pool so I could swim." "It will be so nice to unplug, and get away." "Will I be able to sit for that many hours?" "Maybe I can take one long walk every day?" "What will I find inside?" "Will I get down to the bottom of my anguish?" "I hope I will come out with some greater clarity" . . .
So many thoughts, so many emotions, I am bringing with me.
PS - Of course, I will go unplugged for the whole duration of the retreat. That means no blogging, no tweeting, no ninging, until May 10th! May you all be well, and at peace, and may you all enjoy many moments of kind mindfulness.