A misty-grey, rain soaked winters day was the perfect backdrop for our Winter Warming, into the sacred silence, 1/2 day retreat. More than a backdrop, the elements were at the forefront - guiding us via direct and visceral experience. A wet splash of raindrop directly upon the nose. Open palms on damp tree trunk. Footsteps squelching in sodden soil. It was a day when convention might say we 'should' have been indoors. And yet the delight and warmth of stepping to the side of convention for just a moment gifted awe invoking wonder at both ourselves and the raw reality of immersing in a winters day.
The first of a series of seasonal themed retreats, offering up this Winter Warming to others, in turn gifted deep nurture and perspective to self. It literally lifted me from a prone position, back flat on the floor, to standing strong in a body of deep knowing.
Let the Prologue tell this part of the story... Thursday: A current routine for us 2 parents is; at the end of a busy work day, kids in bed, we lie our slightly aging! bodies prone on the lounge room floor, stretch out, share the silence or conversational catch up of the day. It is an enriching and restorative ritual. This particular evening I had brought flatness, not just in body position - but spirit, to the conversation. A blah feeling had descended, in part from that particular days mixed experiences at work, in part ruminations upon the take-up of our retreat offering.
We had arranged to discuss the retreat that evening. The phone rang. Lying flat I took up the conversation. amrita cate's heart-open generosity and enthusiasm immediately lifted me into the self-nurture that is central to this work. Let's do it, a rich offering to ourselves and all beings! I could feel heart-smiles emanating down the phoneline. At the suggestion, I felt my state shift and well-being flow. The 'of-course-this-is-the-right-course' feeling filling my body. These moments when a suggestion or course of action feels right in your body are to be treasured. For me, it doesn't happen every occasion. But over time I have grown into appreciation and trust of my deep-irrefutable knowings. Beyond reason or cognitive thought. This connection and inspiration with amrita cate was one of them.
The magic of mandala captured the color of home and bush garden inspirations. Our spirit soared as we settled in to mantra, meditation and chanting. A warming yoga asana flow cared deeply for our physical beings and connected our heart-fire to that of the campfire of our nature walkabout.
A flat camera battery means that a few of the images of our retreat will be painted in words, not photographs.
Journeying via a rainy path, when we arrive at our rustic outdoor shelter space we give thanks for shelter both man-made and that which occurs in nature; the cave, the rocky overhang. We take off our coats, grab up warm blankets, settle our gaze outwards on the magical dance of raindrops in puddles. We strike a match into dry twigs. We give conscious thought to the miracle of a match, the ease of a fire. We register the skill of previous generations of fire lighters. We feel the warmth of the fire upon our skin - precious as it warms cold fingers on this wet, winters day. In an open eye meditation the flickering flame dance alongside the rain.
Tall upward trunks of trees. Arched branches overhead. Root systems underfoot. Feeling the resonance in the trunk of our bodies, the stretch of our arms overhead as our body opens to the sky, our feet rooted in the muddy earth.
Yoga asana flow. A sore knee reminds me that the body is an important field of practice: physically, emotionally, soulfully. It continues the journey of allowance and acceptance of my sore body moving slowly. Adapting each stance. Feeling into the body and its movement and stillness, its restrictions and opening.
Stepping into the sacred silence was spacious, it gave room for the soul to be. Different from restraint and silencing. The sacred intent and support meant that it was peaceful and kind. It was full of the beauty of bird song and our own song echoing. Growing comfort in the silence invited stillness of thought, expectation and meditating body. The silence offered a unique view of the streetscape as we passed through. It gives unique ways of being with oneself and others.
Finally, to re-assure you it was warm. Really it was! Layers and layers of woolens helped make it so. 'Stoking the inner fire' and active engaged physicality. The spark of warmth that comes from a big smile. The warm embrace of our true selves and sharing this space with special community. The invigorating aliveness feeling that comes when you step directly into the elements. We embraced the conditions that winter so perfectly set for us, and warmed ourselves in the spirit of the season.
So the next time you are flat on the floor, what connection might support you to rise? What part of the body might tell you this is true? The next rainy day, consider stepping outside and opening to the raindrops and the warmth that is possible. And silence, sweet silence; what ways can we weave sacred silence into our expectations, our thoughts, our being in the day to day?
Join us for the Spring phase of these special retreat offerings. More information to come over the coming months.
This blog space is for sporadic sharing...
I enjoy this forum for writing, reflection, sharing. And, at other times I am out bush or in-life and don't venture online. I take guidance from the heart and head in relation to my online connectivity. See you here monthly or so.
The Natural Space to be
Blog: Natural NoticingS