Dawn yoga and meditation felt so quiet today, after yesterday’s mouna...
We kept silence until morning sharing at 9.00 am. After more than a full day without anyone speaking, after more than a day without sitting in our usual group circle, I knew this was going to be a long session. It was. Several of the participants bared their soul, sharing emotional pain and trauma that they’d kept locked inside for years. The emotional detox which had come to the surface a couple of evenings ago was just the tip of the iceberg… In the meantime, the rest of us held the space and supported when support was needed, giving hugs when hugs were needed.
After morning sharing, my plan was to begin the process of grounding the participants for the end of the retreat tomorrow. For some this was already well in progress, with fantasies of food, eating and recipes. There were also practical considerations to help people begin to turn back outwards and into the world again. First, we had an initial discussion about breaking the fast: what to eat, how much to eat, and the dangers of overeating after a fast. Then it was time to take down the sweat lodge and gather firewood for an evening campfire: our last night together. And we all joined forces to help sort out my car: towing it out of the way from where it had broken down earlier. (It seems the overheating problem – see Day 1 of this journal – had worn down the battery, and on top of this the starter motor was on its last legs.) Again, it was all a team effort to get it going so I could park it on a hill, ready for rolling start tomorrow. Nothing like some car mechanics to ground us! Like the Buddhists say: “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” Or in our case: chop wood and push car.
And so we spent our last full day together. In the evening, yoga and meditation as usual. Afterwards a campfire as usual. It was all the same as any other day. But with the fast ending tomorrow morning, it felt very different. Yes, there was a sense of joy and even excitement at the thought of food. But, equally, a subtle flavour of regret hung in the air. In the end, all good things must come to an end.