Well, it’s time for me to attend a regular yoga retreat that I go to every year. Tomorrow, we fly to Seattle then drive to Whidbey Island. I am so looking forward to it for various reasons. The first, is that it’s about 25 degrees cooler there! The low 70’s. That is heaven. For another thing, I love that part of the country. Totally different from Central Texas-the vegetation is so incredibly lush. You can see Mt. Rainer from all over Seattle. On Whidbey, you can be standing on the beach looking over the Pacific Ocean with the Cascades in the distance.
This is not your regular type of yoga-Hatha, Bikram, etc. This is actually more of a Meditation type of Yoga. It’s thousands of years old. And, while it does have some postures, it’s more about getting to a place of deep meditation. It’s something one has to be initiated into by a Monk of that particular order. Years ago, in the mail, I received a notice that a Monk would be here in town giving a public lecture with initiation into this practice offered over the weekend. I don’t have a clue how I got on the mailing list. I decided to go to the lecture mainly to see what it felt like to be in the presence of someone that was highly revered all over the world. After the lecture, which I attended with a friend of mine, she asked if I was going to get initiated. I said that I didn’t know. That I’d sleep on it and see how I felt in the morning. When I woke up, I decided that I wouldn’t go. Then, in the middle of my morning coffee, I felt that I had to go. So, at the last minute, I dropped my dog off at my sister’s and drove the 45 minutes to the location outside of town. I was really nervous not knowing what to expect. I sat on the floor with an OM tape playing just trying to get a “feeling” for things. Then, the dog that belonged to the woman that owned the house came and sat next to me and I took that as a sign that I was doing the right thing. In the end, there were probably 75-100 people that showed up. Many of them already practicing this form of Yoga and the others were there to be initiated into it. After a Fire Ceremony and several other things, we broke for lunch. I drove back into town to check on my dog. I showed my sister the flyer from the event and she asked, “So, did you get initiated?” “I don’t know!”, I replied. Jeez! how unaware can a person be???
Anyway, I had been initiated and went back for the rest of the day and the following day for the classes. That was in 2001 and I have been kind of involved with it ever since. I use the word “kind of” because I don’t practice on a daily basis. I’ve been to many retreats-some silent for several days-love those!-and will never pass up a chance to go if a Monk is involved. As a matter of fact, because this is a world-wide organization, when we were in Hong Kong, I decided to see if there was a contact number there. There was and I sent an e-mail thinking maybe we could go to an hour meditation-Well, it turns out that the head Monk was actually on his way from India to Australia and he was stopping over in Hong Kong for a weekend program. Now, let me say, that I met my SO at a weekly meditation. Now he meditates every day-twice a day. Never misses. He is also extremely devoted to this Monk that was in Hong Kong. So, instead of an hour, we spent a whole day-which I kind of went to kicking and fighting and then was glad that I did. (that’s happened a lot in my life!)
So,back to my retreat in Whidbey Island. Several years ago when I went, they’d had food catered (sometimes the retreat would be in a space with an “in-house” caterer). When the caterer dropped off the food, I said, “I could do that!” And I do. Retreat venues are chosen so that I-as an outsider-can come in and do the cooking. So, my SO and I usually go a few days early so that I can do almost all of the food before the retreat starts. This is basically 3 meals a day for anywhere from 15-20 people at each meal for 3 days. I get into a zone when I cook like that, and for me, That is my meditation. But, I also attend the meditation sessions and get a lot out of them. Now in the past, for the few days we would be there before, of course I would be drinking each night. (this doesn’t include me drinking every night all the time!) Trying to hide the wine bottles until I could bury them in the trash. (which there is a total sin! as everything is recycled and composted) Then, no alcohol during the retreat. We usually leave the retreat after lunch on Sunday-going back to Seattle for a few days before flying home. Of course as soon as we’d get to Seattle, checked into the hotel and all of that, I would be ready to go. Which is code for DRINK, DRINK, DRINK! I mean, here I was, just having spent 3-4 days in an amazingly intense Spiritual atmosphere. Even having some very deep meditations myself. As well as surrounded by people whose vibrations are so high that they just radiate. And what did I want to do? Kill that as soon as possible. Numb it. Distance myself from it.
Well, not this time. Today is 7 months without any alcohol for me. There have been moments, yes. But they come and then they go. For the most part, I can’t express how glad I am that I quit. Yet, at the same time, I keep remembering a “custom” Craft Cocktail that was made for me the last time I was in Seattle and how delicious it was. And, that sucks. BUT, not as much as it would if I backslid . And, while many of the things I’ve done and places that I’ve been in these past 7 months aren’t new to me, experiencing them without any alcohol involved is. And that’s a good thing.