Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday! I went on a retreat "It's About Time" at Enchanted Hills in Napa. The first days I've taken just for myself since I returned from Africa in February. Some friends organized this and invited friends and friends of... so it was a close knit group, and the program was developed by a core group.

It was on 300+ acres on the side of a mountain in Napa Valley, where cell phones and the like did not work. I took the photo on the left just outside the Dining Hall. There was beauty all over. There were a lot of periods for meditation, and we all were asked to put our timepieces, cell phones, PDAs, etc. into a bag which was locked up for the entire weekend. The only clues we had for time were the sunrise & sunset, and the ring of Tibetian Bells for mealtimes and some gatherings.

At the end, we had a completion gathering, and we shared what we would take/leave on the mountain. A number of our group said to me after how inspiring my words were, and I've received a couple e-mail at home afterwards asking me to recreate what I said in writing. I will do that here.

"Lenny shared with the completion circle that he would no longer abandon his friends. Those words shot across the circle and went straight into my heart and I was stunned with the thought that I had abandoned myself. I realized that throughout the weekend I had silently thought, or verbally commented any number of times how I 'used to do' something, like knitting, singing, running... and I knew that I had been leaving pieces of my true self, those things that set me apart and made up my authentic self - those things most valuable, along the way of my life, continuing along the path without them. Those things most joyful and those playful things that make life whole and abundant were just lying there behind me. Things that I had been passionate about. I will not leave those behind any more, and what I will take back with me from the mountain is my whole self, not just that efficient, "lean, mean, time-machine". I will pick up those pieces and be whole again as I leave, my best authentic self returning to the everyday world."

My friends understood that I didn't mean I was taking off to suddenly become an opera singer or the like, but that there were things that were worth keeping integrated into myself and enjoying doing what was suitable for now, of all those past interests and passions. Seems that it touched a chord in many.

It was a magical weekend. And a very inspiring and open group of people.

Enchanted Hills

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