Retreating Lessons

Maple at cabin.JPGIt seems to me we learn lessons all day, every day. With every yoga class, every home practice, every work day, every family gathering, I learn something more about my body, my frustrations, my desires, and my direction in life.

Once in a while, it’s nice to remove myself from ordinary life in order to see it all from a completely different window. I’ve just finished a few weeks of this by staying by myself (well, with Rosie, the dog) at our cabin on an island in Northern Ontario. It meant days and days of chopping kindling, hauling water, and tending the fire. It also meant doing as much yoga and meditation as I wanted.It’s over. Sigh. It was beyond fabulous.

I learned a few things:

1. I’m doing as much yoga as I want already. This was a surprise. I thought, given so much time, that I’d practice for hours. Not so. I was completely content doing my regular practice, which takes about an hour. I am where I am, is the lesson.

2. Yoga is all mine. This was a chance to wear whatever I wanted, all day long. (Clown-stripe pajamas. Surprise.) To eat whatever I wanted. (Cereal, yogurt, and hummus.) To sing whatever I wanted, at whatever volume. (Broadway musicals, loudly enough to make my molars ache.) And to do whatever I wanted. (Yoga, every morning.) I love yoga in my life, is the lesson.

3. Slowing down enough that I land inside myself is easier said than done. I need to retreat from the world, occasionally, in order to remember how to do this. Although the meditation took more discipline than the yoga, it was hugely worth it. By the time I arrived back in town, I found every face, including mine, beautiful. Who I am inside is worth looking for, is the lesson.

Have you done your own retreats, ever? For an hour, a day, a month? Did you learn new things about yourself, or just confirm what you know already? Do you find your face beautiful?

Thanks to yoga, for being one of the best teachers ever, and thanks to you for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario. Join her on the
and on
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