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Archive for December, 2013

Retreat

My dog, Z, and I went to an Improvisational Sound Circle a couple weeks ago. Even though Z has outweighed me since she was about 9 months old, she is not a very brave dog. The sounds coming from the circle were intimidating to her. I wasn’t going to let her fear take me away all together, but I did step to the side and sat down in the grass beside her. This seemed to placate her, and she relaxed enough to lay down, and so I did. With my whole back side in union with the earth, Z in contact with my side, the drums, chanting and the variety of sounds permeated my being in a way that sitting up had not allowed for. Not what I was expecting, but the perfect healing experience.

 

By the end of the week, I realized no new vision and instead felt emptied out. Not devoid of meaning, quite the contrary. Instead, it was a state of pure experience. There was no thoughts of being anywhere else, no need to be something different, better or healed. I felt whole and simultaneously empty. Not for the first time, I realized that no matter how conscious we become, we gather beliefs, judgments, opinions, and definitions of ourselves, our circumstances and those people that walk with us. This is not inherently bad and is sometimes needed in order to participate in the human world. Yet, without keeping them in check, they taint our authenticity without us even knowing it. And so it is my belief we should all go get emptied out every year, month, week, day. Thich Nhat Hanh says it well “For things to reveal themselves to us we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” Again, not what I was expecting, but a perfect healing experience.

 

As we drove out of Earthlands, it became clear how relaxed I had been. In contrast, while driving on the highway my body was tense as I felt concern about doing things a certain way. Take the correct exit, stay in the correct lane, don’t go too fast, don’t go too slow.  Meanwhile, the noise and all the lights were somewhat insulting to the open, quiet and vastness I had felt in the woods. It took us about five minutes to find the rhythm of nature. Meanwhile, being back into the world of schedules, rules and right/wrong, I am struggling to find my way. And I see that as symbolic of what is a greater question I’ve been working on for years, which is how do we integrate our own wild natures and also participate in the civilized world humans have created. And just like the sound circle and my retreat at Earthlands, I’m sure the answer will not be what I expected, but the perfect healing experience.

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