Earlier today I wrote a draft of a rather negative article about my initial impressions about Hollyhock, the spiritual/educational retreat I’m at right now. My expectations were completely wrong (aside from the astonishing food here) and I was resentful. I deleted my little rant. It was what I was feeling at the time, but since this morning I’ve changed my outlook.
Due to my own misunderstanding of Google Docs Offline, I saved over the article I was going to publish Monday and will have to write it again. I was very proud of the article, and that fact that I got it written successfully on the road. It was tremendously important to me not to let my trip upset my posting schedule, and I missed the very first post! Argh!
For what it’s worth, I also have not been able to upload photos because I didn’t bring the little cord. No I didn’t take the above photo. So I haven’t updated David Goes Kiwi yet. Time! I need some damn time to myself!
I was shocked to find that the course I’m taking here (today is the first of five days) keeps me busy from 7am to 10pm, with a few short breaks, and that made me quite upset. I do not have free time to write, or even hike the beautiful cedar woods around here. My dreams of solitary beach-walks and writing on the patio a few hours each evening were shattered.
I found out quickly that Hollyhock is not a resort. It is not where you go to have fun, and apparently not a place where you go to do your own thing. My first full day (which is one session away from being over) has been a 50/50 mix between grueling and delightful. It consists of looong (for me) sessions of sitting meditation, interspersed with walking meditation. Forty-five minutes a stretch — certainly longer than the 20 minutes I attempted in experiment No. 1. At least three of the sessions were hellish, and I was fighting sleep throughout them all.
Earlier today I was seriously considering leaving. But after a fantastic lecture from the instructor, I feel much better about this particular retreat and what it can do for me. Precisely the problems I was having (attachment to expectations, resentment, worry) were addressed in a very insightful talk. I can deal.
I made a lot of progress just today, after having spent the whole day in what’s called “noble silence.” That means no chatting, no unnecessary speech. Now that I think of it I’ve only uttered about two sentences all day, and that’s when a microphone was handed to me and I was asked to speak. I’ll spend the next four days in silence too.
I hate that I let Monday morning go by without a post. This will not be typical, though I’ll have precious little time over the next four days to write, and that makes me sad. I’m being challenged to keep my mind clear of unnecessary mental dialogue, but transcribing unnecessary mental dialogue onto the internet happens to be on of my favorite things to do.
Today was mostly rough, but I see now that it will be okay. The thought of Raptitude going stagnant is enough to give me nightmares. When I get back to Victoria I’m going to barricade myself in a library and do what I yearn so badly to do: write. I love doing that and I love that you’re here to read it.
More to come.
Photo by Vic Fan