Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fully Present

Hi, everybody. I am writing this blog post from the Wired Lounge at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Management, and presumably the majority of guests staying in the dormitories and private rooms here, frown on the use of portable electronic devices. For me, however, the retreat experience has less to do with yoga and Swami Kripalu than it does with meditation, contemplation, and the creative process that inherently springs forth from such mindfulness. Here I sit, with a few other kindred spirits, creating an experience that works for me. Part of the R & R experience this weekend, unlike a typical speaker program, has been to participate (or not) in certain group activities such as lectures, hikes, meals, and classes. I have done none of the above. My purpose in booking this last-minute retreat was to garner some reflective time in a safe, nurturing place without breaking the bank. Kripalu's guests are graced with a sauna, whirlpool, healing arts, great food, and expansive grounds. At 6:00 this morning, I signed up for a 9:30, two-hour, intermediate, roundtrip hike along Kripalu's extensive trail network. Within an hour of our departure time, snow was falling heavily and the fog had settled in around the base of the mountain. The weather didn't necessarily dissuade me, but the thought of trooping around with a group of hikers did, and I felt my enthusiasm waning. I'd promised myself I'd do a few things this weekend: I'd use the sauna and whirlpool, I'd consider getting a massage if the price was affordable, read, take some photographs, hike. The hike was the last promise, and I knew that if I blew it off,  I'd feel I cheated myself. It occurred to me that I could still go on a hike (this isn't my first time here), solo. I went back to my room, donned my long Johns, my flannel socks, ski pants, vest, hat, boots, and in a flash I was transported back to weekends I used to spend with my young family in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Dressing for a day on the slopes was an intense affair, one that involved layers of clothing, equipment, arguments, tears, and work. (At least my dry drunk self invariably viewed it as work.) Today, of course, I realize that I didn't know what I didn't know back then, and I squandered away some mighty fine opportunities. As I slipped effortlessly into all my winter gear this morning, I thought back to those winter weekends at Waterville Valley, those two youngsters who are all grown up and chasing lives of their own now, and I smiled, because even though I can't change the past, I am fully present for today.


  1. This is beautiful, and it was a message that I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing your journey, in the short time that I have been following you on Facebook I have found you to be an amazing source of inspiration.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie, not only for reading, but for commenting. So often, I feel like I am writing in a vacuum, only for myself, and that's okay. Writing is my lifeblood, so I do it, if only for me. The thought that someone (you) out there might actually get some benefit, inspires me to keep on. Have a great day, my new friend ~ <3 ~