Oh, I have much to learn...
I had a day packed with cooking, cleaning, and shopping. I came home at 5:00 to phones ringing, kids asking questions, husband discussing weekend plans, my head spinning, my heart wanting to sit outside. At 5:38 my time, the earth will be tilted as far as she can away from the sun, and I am to be there it feel it, to listen to the longest night.
I start throwing my snow pants on at 5:29, then the jacket, hat, mittens, oops, forgot boots. I was wearing one skinny pair of booty socks--no matter--step into boots, wrap a scarf around my head and run out the door as my daughter shouts behind me, "Mom! It's 5:37!!"
Icy cold meets my bare ankles as I stumble through the snow. I make it half way to my sitting spot and collapse.
There, I'm here. It must be 5:38 right now.
This is not how I want to feel when on retreat.
I got up, and made my way to the edge of the field. I sat, pulled the snow all around me and closed my eyes. Silence. It wasn't long before I could hear snowflakes land on my shoulders, a distant dog barking, far off cars. I felt the chill beneath me, felt my heart beating deep within my coat, felt my breath warm and moist against my lips. I realized I was facing east. The land of the rising sun. And the night was absolutely beautiful. I wondered how many of you were sitting with me at that moment.
When I went back to my house, I felt calm, at peace, and nurtured by my time in the cold.
This is exactly how I want to feel when on retreat.
I plan on being a bit more prepared next time, but I don't regret the rush tonight. None of us are perfect, and time for ourselves won't be either. We need to welcome the moments for what they bring, and give ourselves the time to take it all in, no matter how frantic we felt along the way. Every moment is brand new. We can always start over. Tomorrow night I'll wear warm socks, and see what happens.
Catch some snowflakes on your tongue,