Why go on retreat? It's 09:30 I sit overlooking the Nile River at Murchison falls national park. Since waking & have practiced pranayama, flowed through a creative asana self practice and meditated. I arrived at breakfast half an hour ago and now sit silently watching the river. The breakfast buffet is filled with delicious things, I immediately reach for the fruit my mouth watering, mango, watermelon and pineapple full of colour, flavour and chi/prana. I pour myself a fruit juice and a cup of Ugandan coffee. I feel alive and spacious. My body vitalised from my practice, my lungs breathing deeply, taking in the fresh bush air. I don't even notice the white bread or muesli I am feeling very alive and am craving natural colourful delights. By slowing down on this self inflicted retreat I am already making better decisions, feeling lighter and brighter.
I intuitively know what worksfor my body and I don't have obligations, children or a husband to distract me. No school run to make, no packed lunches to put together, no car to get stuck in the mud, no what shall we have for dinner. Just me alone, doing my thing with the gift of time. Time to walk, sleep, practice yoga, swim, read, write, do core exercises, meditate, sing, sun bathe. Time to be still, to do nothing, to watch the view, to spot animals, to laugh at hippo snorting, time to watch a spider spin a web, time to giggle at baby vervet monkeys swinging from their mothers tail. Time to take life less seriously and to enjoy lifes beauty and simplicity. Time to connect with the world around me and to connect with the world inside me.
I am fortunate that I have made yoga my carer. I regularly get to take time out but I too live in the same world as you with its same challenges. I am not immune to anger, frustration, fear or regret. I too have dead lines to meet, emails to answer, dinner to cook. We all have different careers and passions, maybe yours keeps you in the office until late at night. Maybe you are out in the field working for an NGO digging up land mines, finding lost relatives in refugee camps. Maybe you are a mother, looking after a family. Ask yourself honestly when did you last eat slowly, sit silently without a book or a computer, when did you last notice the smells of the bush or the stars in the sky?
This is why I go on retreat. This is why I take myself somewhere quiet and connect with nature. This is the magic recipe I have found for looking and feeling younger. For the sparkle in my eyes. It has made my grey hairs brown but it helps me love myself anyway. This is my stress relief, my formula for dealing with pot holes, bad drivers and mud. This is what enables me to respond instead of react. This is what helps me practice patience and tolerance and helps me take these virtues back into the world with me when I am no longer on retreat.
My coffee still sits on the table in front of me, I have written for almost an hour without the need for doing anything else. I am entirely present and aware. I reach for my cup it is chocolate, smooth and cold. I drink it anyway, I'm sure somewhere in the world cold coffee is a delicacy. The waitress comes to take my order, poached eggs and avocado salad launch my taste buds into a fantasy world. Time to eat and to try to stay as present as I have through this blog.
If you would like to join me on retreat I will be at Murchison River lodge 28 may - 1st June 24 June - 28th june