Wo Fo Yo O

I survived the Creative Arts Retreat at the Blue Cliffs monastery.  Whew.  I picked up Jerry and Lois at his place, and off we went. The ride there and back was spectacular, the road edging the “blue cliffs” overlooking a magnificent view–hang gliders swoop off these cliffs, and we saw a couple getting ready to leap.  Lois and I headed to our assigned room and it was completely empty–no furniture, trash on the floor.  I expected an ascetic environment, but not quite this bare.  We hoofed it back to the office and got set right–had a very cozy room which we shared with Lois’s friend Stephanie, Patti and her pal Karen.  The sign on the door read “You have arrived.  You are Home.” I got the lower bunk bed, and my head is a mass of knots from cracking it on the overhead bed.  And five women rushing for the one bathroom to get to the meditation hall by 6 AM when none of our alarm clocks went off deserved a YouTube video.

From the moment we arrived, all my garbage came up–body aches, crabbiness, judging my fellow retreaters, cynicism, self-pity…and that’s the point.  In such an environment we have no choice but to be with that stuff, and to look at it.  Not pleasant.  All I wanted to do was sleep, and each sitting became naptime.  As the weekend went on, I mellowed, relaxed, met some amazing people, heard some good dharma talks, listened to beautiful music, and ate and ate and ate…the food was Vietnamese, and vegan.  Much as we ate, we never got really full, and I think I can now go quite a long time without looking at another vegetable.  And ohhhh, how I missed my coffee.

I noticed small shifts in my perceptions on the trip home–I felt no need to drive fast, saw the details

of the scenery, felt the texture of the misty air.  The discomforts — the havoc beans and vegetables wreaked on all our digestive systems, the wet socks, sore back, caffeine cravings–are almost forgotten.  I’m still re-entering my own world, which has been a challenge with my rear neighbors running their power saws, driving a dirt bike round and round in the back yard, their radio blaring, yelling at each other and at their dog.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Be in the moment…..


5 Responses to “Wo Fo Yo O”

  1. angela Says:

    Looks like a beautiful place; wish the photos were larger. Brings up memories of silent retreats many of us went to together about 10 years ago. All the discomfort, the huge joy of sharing that time together.
    Much Love, Angela

  2. loelbarr Says:

    Weren’t those retreats wonderful? Despite the discomfort, mental and physical.

  3. Pamela Says:

    Miz Patti looks positively Holy. We address these topics again and again at our Sunday meditations. To stay focused in the Present, without Expectations clouding our vision is a difficult to achieve gift.

  4. AKW Says:

    Thanks for the report and the photos. Sounds like it was worthwhile.

  5. Patti O Says:

    GreAT photos. will post a link to them on my blog soon.

    It was a wonderful time and thank you for making me go. one of the best things I could have done.

    you rock. xp

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