By Raymonde S.

I attended a recent Mind, Body Healing with Spirit Retreat. I was a first-timer. And I wasn’t alone with this newness.

Retreats are something I have avoided for such a long time. I just didn’t want to go to one. I suppose I suspected that they would be far too touchy-feely for me. But at some point in recent months I have realized this quite intense shift in what I consider to be “normal”.

I took notes. Rather than attempt to edit them thickly, I have simply decided to share them.

The disclaimer to all this thinking and feeling and recording of those thoughts and feelings is “consider the source”. No, that’s not it. . . well sort of. . . Rephrased it should read. . . “consider the impact”. Because participating in a retreat has an impact; a profound impact.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it.

The Retreat Theme: From Fear to Courage

Friday
Oh, the relaxation. The permission to be myself, to feel who I am, where I am, who I think I am.

Oh, the FOOD. Thank you Cindy and Kim for being the most amazing you. I rest with a full belly and a brain full of anticipation.

Saturday
There seems to be some copy-catting going on here. Following the lead, perhaps. Wow, that is so judgmental. I am wrong because those feelings are real. And who am I to judge/say what another feels, what is inside another’s guts – those horrible experiences that some have more than others.

This is really all about the pain of others taken into me.

My pain is nothing: the guilt I feel for feeling I have pain is wrenching. The emotion of others, I realize, are what scares me. They are brave. I am not.

I think I have a desperate need to be acknowledged; to have the attention of a thousand kings. The natural need to be heard. To avoid isolation. We are all isolated inside ourselves.

There is no touching. The only response I have is to touch. It’s all I know. But the touch is about me not them. Why is it always about me? I don’t have anger. I feel good to the core. So there. I am so there. So there, take that.

I learn more: All physical issues are the result of an emotional issue.

I love the chanting. It is breathtakingly subtle.

“I am one and you are one and we are all together one. In the spirit. In the heart. We are all together one.”

Chanting is like entering another world alone and with others. It explores the crazy joy of movement without moving. The simple act of singing, reverberating in unison, in harmony, each with our own unique voice.

Rita and Kaia have such smiling voices.

The melodic strumming of the harp is like no other sound. Mesmerizingly authentic. Richly robust. I want to smile when Kaia plays, but is smiling permitted during meditation? They say there are no rules but I feel that there must be. Some boundaries at least.

Today I cried. It was my turn, I suppose.

Sunday
Father Jack adds something special to the mix of humans reaching past their frailties. His serene presence is uplifting, steady.

The quest for spirituality? It is about my quest to reach or catch up to the spirit. My spirit.

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