This brilliant blue-bonnet-blue sky day brought us silent yoga by the lake, not even a boat nor fisherman floated nearby. We weave back through the village of cairns to a satisfying breakfast. I’m ready for two more of my most favorite processes (oh grief, are all of them
With that stillness around us, I lead us all into a visual meditation . . . that brings us each a special animal brought to us for unknown but relevant reasons. With our round mandala shape just aching for rich, imagined designs, we read, research and visualize. We have in our library (yes, we fill the entire shelf in the kitchen usually containing food stuffs) a captivating reference book, “Animal Speak” by Andrews, that gives mythological and cultural meaning to animals and it’s good we have two copies. I’m always entertained by the usual skepticism that accompanies this exercise at the onset. Often we try to” shake off” a particular animal, thinking, “that can’t apply to me!”, or “that’s crazy!”. But year after year doing this animal mandala has grounded my understanding that always an animal arrives to each of us with hidden revelation (if we are open-minded). With these three mystical mandalas, you get to witness the swirling creativity this brings out (and we won’t even go into the inner awakenings).
Following another fresh and refreshing lunch, Jean introduces Haiku and demonstrates the image we are to paint/write from. Once Jean finishes up with Haiku, I wanted to bring up an aside that I learned about, possibly a relative of haiku. Called Landays, they are an unwritten form of short poem, handed down by songs of the women of Afghanistan or Pakistan. I’d brought along the June, 2013 Issue of “Poetry” which had dedicated their entire month’s publication to Landays and it was enlightening and fascinating. I encourage you to sample what is now an online version of Landays, on Facebook, where individuals now collaborate to write and finish these brief, strong statements at: https://www.facebook.com/pashtolanday (you’ll have to translate).
Our assignment for haiku was to leave the cabin and find landscape that moved us, inspired us somehow. I for one, had been so tenderly touched by the cairns appearance, so that was my subject matter. For other’s it was the forest of trees. As the afternoon’s shadows grew long, all of us scattered ’round the lake began returning to the cabin with our personal experiences and poetry.
The evening’s meal had special meaning, it was our retreat’s last meal together. Outdoors the September chill encouraged us to cuddle in tight, savoring our dinner and the final homemade pie.
This stage of the retreat is bittersweet as strong bonds have formed between each of us in diverse ways and just knowing that the dynamics of the relationships will change tomorrow, brings a saddness.
Tis’ a light sleep that night for me, as I considered the glow of the full moon and the web that effortlessly weaves together the women of these gatherings in an unearthly way. Tears and smiles intermingle.