I’m the sort of person who is pretty open to new ideas. I think it’s cool to try on different hats. And I like to find creative solutions to issues I have. It’s always interesting to see the outcome of the experiment.
The idea of a retreat is certainly not my own. Spiritual groups have done them for eons. And the concept of the women’s retreat is very much in fashion. A friend of mine did a personal retreat a couple of years ago and felt it helped her very much.
The lead up to mine bordered on burnout. I felt tired all the time, I couldn’t get the eating under control, made excuses for not exercising, was behind on my novel re-write, not sleeping well and involved in too many activities.
I wondered what it would be like to simply check out for a couple of weeks? The response from friends and family has been varied – with some scoffing at the concept and others, championing it. I myself wondered if I could handle the discipline, and reach my goals.
I am 1/3 the way through now and I am extremely pleased with the results so far. So next time you (or someone else) hatches a unconventional plan – give it serious consideration. I’m glad I did.
Here is Part 3 of “The Odyssey”:
It seemed as though the buildings were besieged by omnipresent green. They strained toward the sky, attempting to release themselves from the sinuous vines that tethered them to the earth. The stories of King Pacal, The Red Queen, and Chaac Balum swirled through my head as I immersed myself in their sculpted company and read splendid testimonials to their greatness. At one point, it poured rain. We huddled together in the recessed cavern with the Foliated Cross, mesmerized as steam rose, veiling the ancient city in gossamer.
After cavorting with the kings all day, we returned to the same second floor table we’d occupied the evening before and wondered over all we’d witnessed. I cannot describe the depth of joy that bubbled up through me. I told my husband that I wished that I’d brought my sketchpad instead of my camera on this trip.
“Why?” he asked.
I answered him as best I could. “A camera locks an image in. Drawing creates a memory but allows the subject to stay free.”
He frowned in confusion, then gave me a hug and said, “I’m sure we could find some paper and pencil crayons somewhere.”
“I’d like that,” I replied.
After one more sound sleep in our musty third floor nest, we made our way to the bus station and, not too much later, hunkered into seats 12 and 13. Almost immediately, the bus began climbing through first lush, then increasingly arid foothills.
My inner flower child seemed to be alive and well. Only 60’s lexicon could adequately describe the ride that day – Mexico’s magnificence blew me away! On the pages of my new notebook, I drew madly in great, swirling, colorful swoops.
“That doesn’t look like anything I’m seeing,” said my pensive husband.
“No,” I told him, “It looks like how I’m feeling.”
As I gazed out through the dusty window, I heard the motor groan, and in my pelvis I felt the strain as the bus forged laboriously through the mountain range known as La Sierra Madre. My breath came short and quick as we careened wildly around hairpin curves on what the driver euphemistically called a highway. It took seven hours to lurch over about two hundred topes – speed bumps – and ascend over two thousand meters to San Cristóbal de las Casas. But it didn’t occur to me to feel afraid. I was completely enthralled with the entire experience.
*** Note: The short story “Four by Four” has been uploaded to the “Writing” page. This is located just below the header. Click there to read the full text.