Soft retreat, Oregon 2012

This post is about what I have been up to for the past week.

I scheduled my trip to have a week of down time in quiet Pendleton Oregon. I did this for two reasons – one, to save money by avoiding a hostel or hotel somewhere else; and two, because I knew I would want some down time after a busy three weeks. Plus when I return to Virginia in two days, I will resume my fifty hour a week job. So this is the only free week I anticipate habing until February… Hence the title of the post.

Soft retreat? Why soft? Because I wanted some freedom to go out for lunch, to write some blog posts, to go one or two places with my step-mother, and to do a little work around her church. On top of this, she is not Buddhist, has never been around a full time retreatant and does not know any of the etiquette of a retreat or my reasons for doing one. That is why I did not lock myself in a room for a week with only Dharma texts as companions.

And for those of you with retreat experience, you might be wondering why I am saying any of this. Well, I think that could be a valid concern, but in my case, I did not make any progress from a Dharmic perspective, so I think it is okay to bring different options of “retreat” to light. Had I made any progress, I would definitely be keeping my cards closer to my chest.

So what did I do all week? In addition to what I mentioned above, from time to time, I was extremely hard on myself. I wanted to complete more prostrations than my body was able to, so I berated myself for that “disappointing” result. If not prostrations, then I wanted to accumulate numbers of other mantras. But I was even able to be hard on myself in that department.

How was my “retreat” successful? Well I rested down at least an additional hour per day. I have kidneys whose subtle energy is a bit depleted, so the rest was vital and refreshing for my renals and adrenals. In addition, and you might start to wonder here, I laughed a lot. I don’t have a TV at home, so I eventually started watching the tube. And for short periods of time, it was just what I needed. Watching a silly show like the Big Bang Theory, I’d be rolling. It was actually quite remarkable. In addition, I did some self care on myself every day -usually BodyTalk.

And each day, I did some Dharma prayers. Next time, I need to drop any expectations around accumulations. I also had a few conversations with the I Ching. They would typically go like this: “I want to go for a walk and then find a nice restaurant for lunch.”

Its answer: “No go. If you push now, you will fail. Stay in the nest.”

Thankfully I would listen, and after having a little snack, I would fall asleep for a few hours -nearly everyday! So most importantly, I listened. To my body, to my intuition, to outer guidance, and after listening I chose to practice kindness to self to the best of my ability. So now I can return to work well rested and replenished at least a touch more.

So in reality, I had a quiet week, barely a retreat at all. The only I might still call it a retreat, is that on the first day I had an auspicious dream indicating that I should continue as planned. And then, last night I had three dreams, all about my birth process. I see this as a success. If my subconscious is working through my birth trauma, and I am ready to track that process through dream symbols, then this was a most successful week indeed.

Just remember, I would recommend finding a qualified teacher before attempting any kind of retreat. Get solid advice, ask all questions to clarify any doubt, and do some practice for a while to make sure you know your mind and its patterns. Then, maybe a few years into the process, you can join a group retreat to learn more about your state of mind, within a contained setting. Later on, if and when your teachers recommend it, then do a solitary retreat.

Thanks for reading.

Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

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