The power is out again. It's not uncommon here in the jungle. We’ve adapted pretty well with our jugs of water, flashlights, candles, propane. But in these moments where we really feel the pain...no internet! It’s scary how distressed I can feel. Every few minutes it seems I have a thought that sends me to my computer to check something, Skype someone, inquire about something, plan something, work on something or just distract myself. At the same time I hate being lost in that hopeless little screen.
This reminds me of something I loved about this year’s retreat. The participants were willing to unplug. I want to congratulate them. For some people this is harder than giving up sugar or coffee. The other thing that was so beautiful was the spontaneous nature of this action and the way the retreat took on a life of it’s own. I mentioned the the idea but I didn’t create a structure or lay down rules. It just grew spontaneously from the group. Locking the cell phone in the safe, leaving the iPad packed away. Then they took it further, not just unplugging from their devices but unplugging from their mental chatter, from their customary way of being.
That part looked like this. One woman decided to be silent for most of the retreat, silent but not withdrawn, she was still very present. Then the group decided to try it for awhile, only in the early morning. Then, I’m not really sure how it snowballed, but suddenly others were taking a silent day and loving the experience. Taking a time for reflection. A rest from all that chatter, from the need to feed the restless mind. Peace. Such a relief.
This is an interesting commentary on just where we are at this moment in time, some of us feeling as much addicted to our devices, more slaves to the constant noise in our world than to sugar, caffeine, or whatever other foods we are trying to give up. Hungry for a moment to connect with ourselves. Feeling a real need to not just cleanse the body but to renew the spirit. In the end, freeing our minds is the real healing, being here now, open to all our surroundings, in our bodies, in the moment, with a quiet mind.
I hope every year adds new dimensions to what we’re offering here as we continue to discover what helps people restore the balance in their lives.