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In this piece, you may notice that mind was beginning to peel apart as I had pushed really hard up to this point. Considering the next day I would draft an email to my ex-girlfriend, and then spend the following 24 hours worrying about it, this may have been the deepest I was into the retreat, despite several days to go.
12/29 – Fresh wrestling match with my conditioned / discursive mind. I continue to stare at whatever speck on the carpet to train my mind and to continue to look downward. Last year I had some people, whose advice I deeply respect, tell me that when I close my eyes, they roll up in my head and that action could lead to being less than grounded (mind wandering off). I am more conscious of where I am looking now when I sit, even if my eyes are closed. It is slowly getting easier to practice. Although I am beginning to wonder about my mind – I have been hearing my name being whispered in the midst of conversations? How much should I push my mind? Or should I say, how much should I trust my mind? Heh…
By the way, during Drupchens, no cleaning is allowed of the shrine room. Just practice, eat, sleep, practice, rest. Therefore, the carpet accumulated specks of lint, scraps of paper, etc. I am surprised the lamas allowed me to clear their wrappers and orange clementine peels.
Yesterday was a very productive breakfast making day. I was already up at 6 so I went into the kitchen and did everything along with having time to stretch and enjoy the solitude. This morning I awake at 6:45 (late) to do breakfast. I am being really hard on myself as a result. Luckily help arrives and I am told it will be okay. The meal was fine, just a few minutes late. I need to be more gentle with myself.
I wonder about something – last night my giddy laughter started. Not sure what about, but I had a good giggle fit. This morning I am very hard on myself when I make a mistake – I wonder if these two events are correlated (my pendulum is a swingin’!). Need to find a healthy balance. I want to let go the next time I laugh – I was stifling it a little last night. Just be free and do what my body wants when I laugh – allow the pleasure to move freely and healthily.
I want to explore resting my awareness in my three bodily centers – head, heart and pelvis. It seems that if I am in my head, the laughter comes easier. I will experiment later. What happens if I rest in my heart?
I wonder what the universe is up to. Despite my best efforts to secure a job and / or fresh clientele, I have had a pretty dry month. Therefore when I rolled into town for the Drupchen, I only had enough money to cover January’s rent. I have no idea where the money will come from to pay my other bills (and not to mention beyond!). I am only able to contribute my service for this intensive which brings up some guilt – I would love to give offerings to the lamas at the end of the retreat. They really do so much! I am lucky though to be healthy enough to contribute hard work.
In addition to being broke, I have just broken up with a beautiful, kind-hearted, tres intelligent young woman, which seems for the highest benefit (although parts of me still want her). So there is lots for me to chew on during this retreat. On top of these heart aches, now my knees are starting to hurt. At least my belly has begun to function properly. Sitting for hours on end is not easy, although, compared to five years ago, I have made great strides! Well done Kirby! Well done.
Whoa! I just drank some Chai. I normally do not touch caffeine, or milk for that matter, so my system is buzzing hard! Wow – at least I am no longer tired. The lamas were offered Chai by some women who had to leave, and later they asked me if I wanted what was left. I generally do not turn down anything a lama offers me. I am beginning to re-think this assumption. I am noticing my kidneys are hot (cooking) – not sure if this is the caffeine or something I am processing. There are some perks to serving the lamas… don’t think like that Kirby!
Some funny conversations with the old yogi sitting next to me. Hun opens a window in the shrine room, despite the fact that it is 20 degrees F outside. My sitting partner leans over to me and says, “Wow! Opening a window now?! He’s insane! I mean he’s a nice guy but he’s crazy!!”
People come, and go. Get together and separate. Some new faces arrive, some familiar ones leave to go back to their lives. I’m starting to lose my voice – uh oh! There are still several days left. My heart is starting to open more and warm up, soften and make room for more beings. How can I maintain this state of beingness?
Due to the aforementioned caffeine intake, I do not get to sleep until midnight – meaning less than 3 hours sleep. That was in spite of drinking the Chai around 4 pm… ugh! My lovely sensitive body…
The old yogi leans over to me again and says, “Tuesday is Dewachen.” I ask what he is talking about. He says it’s like being on a tour – “Sunday is Venice, Monday is Paris and Tuesday is Dewachen.” Hey – I like the sound of that! (By the way – Dewachen is the Buddha Amitabha’s pureland and Chenrezig is considered to be the son of Amitabha. And the Mani Drupchen is the vast heart celebration accumulation of Chenrezig’s practice and healing mantra.)