Can I come back to Taos already?
There is something absolutely magical about the retreat experience. Jen created such a strong container for us to take a deep breath…and noodle around a bit. With our writing. Our thoughts. Our daily living. Our fears and practices and bodies. I think the container existed on so many different levels, from the physical (“I’m not in Kentucky anymore!”) to the energetic. We knew we had a week to muse and we knew we had a safe place to let loose. In fact, our first circle began with words from a Rumi poem that set our mantra for the week: no forcing, no holding back.
A couple days into the retreat I began to worry that time would run out too quickly. Then I’d remember something Jen told us during the first half of the retreat. She shared, “the soul knows how to heal itself..and knows it’s timing.”
Breathe. Let go. Trust what I have energy for. Follow the desire.
Another tidbit on gentle container-ing (can that be a verb?): create conditions of satisfaction for living. Jen writes about this in her book, The Life Organizer. She says they “are measurable in facts, dependent only on you, and have a time element.” She encouraged us to make them so low that they would be easy to accomplish. She goes on to remind us that “we suffer when we make a commitment and we don’t honor it…it drains your energy and undermines your ability to create.”
Each of us created daily conditions the first day we were on retreat. Then, we’d circle back to them each evening and see how they were working. I played with my simple conditions: to begin my day on purpose with some form of self-caring, whatever I felt attracted to that morning; to ask for help when I felt stuck; and to write for at least 15 minutes each day.
Gentle. Easy. And necessary.
Coming home felt like my container disappeared. The rhythm of retreat, the loving circle of women around me, the activities and even the healing space of the Mabel Dodge Luhan House were gone. I must admit I felt a bit off those first few days of settling in to the normal dailyness of living.
And then I remembered my conditions.
And with intention, began to create a gentle, flexible, authentic, sink-myself-into-the-comfort-of-it conditions.
No forcing…no holding back.