Retreat! Run away! Run away!

I am currently on the third day of personal retreat, having chosen to drive an hour away from our home to a friends’ waterfront house on South Whidbey Island. I am alone on this retreat. Yep, that’s right: Jim, my constant companion for over a year, is not with me for this time of rest, more rest, and then-maybe-I’ll-take-a-nap. To those of you who’ve been following our  recent moves of all kinds, this is huge, and was not even remotely possible but a few weeks ago. Yet when my guidance suggested I just STOP and rest for a few days, and didn’t really specify whether to do this with Jim or without, I came to the conclusion that indeed it was time for a breather and hit the pause button on the constant care-giving, executive decision making, and even working at my slow rebuild of my business as a spiritual counselor.

It is time to not only reboot and regenerate, though. I deeply feel it is time to transform.  After three days in retreat, to transform into what or who, I actually don’t know. But I’m not pushing this process. This is a miracle in itself for an outreach-driven, let’s-get-her-done-and rescue-the-world kind of a gal.

Is there still a lot to be done when I reach home again? Oh yea, more than I want to think about right now. But when I saw that there were empty dates in my calendar between clients and events, and when I noticed that I was growling at Jim like a caged tiger for less and less reasonable reasons, and when I saw with my own eyes that he maybe needed a little break from my incessant attending to him and could be safely on his own for a few days, when all the pieces came together– a place to go, a little extra money from a client to pay for my time away–I sighed and realized: I gotta get out of here before I do or say something I will regret.

As soon as I got here in the early evening, I curled up in bed and slept. Next day, I unraveled a hammock and made it  my base of operations–which consisted mostly of reading the first novel I had in years, and napping–or as my honey likes to put it: “meditating.” Handy term, that one, so lets just say that this is a Meditation Retreat.  There’s No Place Like OM Meditation Retreat. Mmmhmm…

Yesterday, in the middle of one of those meditations, I awoke suddenly to panicked feeling deep in my gut. Anxiety took over, and I wondered and fretted, “damn, what is it? Who needs me?” and I made calls to some loved ones: Jim on the top of the list, of course. After assurances that my peeps were fine, and that the only major crisis in Jim’s life was how to deal with not one but two flat tires on his bike, I simmered down. And then I got it: I had been ON for so long, my body didn’t know what the hell to do with being on PAUSE. And I certainly didn’t know what to do with OFF–as in time off.

So I meditated on this, had a phone talk with a girlfriend about it, and quieted my self down enough to actually finish reading the novel. Slept deeply till something from outside the dreamworld tugged at me: At 4:44AM I awoke to gazing out the window to what looked like 3 huge candle lit birthday cakes floating on the water. Upon sitting up and blinking the blur out of my eyes, I noted three large ships cruising towards Seattle. Earlier in the evening, I’d watched three similar cruise ships sail off into the setting sun–possibly bound for Alaska. These three boats might have been returning from one of those floating vacations. I fell back asleep to visions of floating off to unknown destinations of my own.

When and if you can, it is wise to take some time and space for yourself that is out of time and space. In our busy busy lives, this is getting increasingly difficult. Yet how much healthier will we all be if we just pressed the pause button and breathed? I’ll let you know how this works out for me….oh sheesh, there’s the “work” word, sneaking in. Time to meditate.


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Elke Macartney

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