Wrapping up the June Moon with a Solstice Retreat…

Hullo Sweeties…

I’ve been soaking up the sun for the last few days and lordy it do feel nice!  But it makes it hard to come back to the typer and attend to the blog postings.

I’ve been pondering a post about/around the fabulous self-directed retreat I took myself on to celebrate the longest day of the year – June 21st.  I didn’t retreat far… I just went out to the Writing Burrow….

Lupins and Burrow 2014.jpgIt was a sweet retreat.  Close to home but in my own special space.

The Raggedy Man was working at the Legion on the Saturday and Sunday, so I had the days alone, though I had sweet four-legged company on the first day, as Zoe was bunking in with us while her humans went to a wedding down South.

I kept things simple.  I rose up before the sun on the 21st….

Solstice Sunrise_1.jpg Solstice Sunrise_2.jpgTrundled out to the Burrow…past the ever vigilant Greta the Guardian…

Greta the Guardian.jpgAnd began.

Aside from the 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat I did in December, this was the first time I’ve gone on a retreat that wasn’t focused around WRITING.  This was to be a way to mark the Solstice. Time…. to be alone, to walk in nature, to think and most of all…  time to LISTEN.

I had some audio from the fabulous Jennifer Louden’s virtual retreat package.  I chose 5 pieces to listen to (or not – depending how the day went).  I also had a few things that I wanted to think on, work out for myself, put some attention on, and a rough shape for a Solstice Ritual based around the 5 elements that I planned to do in deep dark night.

So… there was listening to wisefolk and gleaning mucho wisdom.  There was resting.  There was Sitting in meditation.  There was fun break time and cuddle time with Zoe. And there was walking time.dandelion lane 2014.jpgOrange Beauty 2014.jpgMy eyes were drawn to bees and dandelions.

I love bees.  And they figure largely in a story I’m cooking up on the back burner right now.  Hard workers. Dancers. Messengers.  Creators of honey.  Unlikely fliers.

The dandelions… I thought that was interesting.  There is all manner of wild growth going on around these parts right now as the plantlife tries to “catch up” with the late start on warmth and sunshine.  All manner of riotous growth along the roadside – though slightly slower growth in wee garden (sigh).  But it was the dandelions I was drawn to.

I sat and thought about what messages sister dandelion might have for me.

I went into the retreat with the intention to listen and look and to see and hear – what is true for me, right now.  I spend so much of my time planning for the future, or reviewing past events, wishing, dreaming, and so on.  The vipassana practice and working with the ideas and folks from Sea Change are making me more and more aware of … the present moment – the sensations, the thoughts, and so on.  I LOVE this!

I didn’t want to spend my retreat dreaming of what ifs, or revamping my schedule to fit in a million of the things I think I SHOULD be doing.  I wanted to celebrate the things I AM DOING already.  I wanted to see them, but not dwell too much.  Not spend the days reviewing, but just … acknowledge… accept… embrace.  And to just take the time to see the True and clear the way to move on.

What is true for me right now is…

  • The dandelion is an ally and an example of a way of being for me right now.  She has deep roots and yet she also has the amazing ability to … let go.  Her roots go deep and her seeds fly.  That’s lovely, no?  She is nourishing and constantly changing.  We see her shooting up all over the place, her yellow face reaching for the sun right beside another plant that is sending seeds adrift on the wind.  She is also incredibly TENACIOUS.  I dig that.  Try to kill her…just try it… I dare ya!
  • The fact that I am growing in my knowledge and awareness of the Elements in my everyday life.  My wee Solstice Ritual was the highlight of my retreat.
  • That I can go deep and when i surface, I can translate for others.  This is why it takes me so long to write these novels and plays.  I have to … get it right.  First, I have to know it. And then I have to bring it out so that… it slides down easy and it sticks to the ribs.  So that it is nourishing and yet super tasty.  That’s my job.
  • That I am essentially good and so are most other people.  I would like to engage with this idea more in my day to day life.  To be more and more aware of the small blessings that happen each day.  I’ve been tracking these sorts of things for a while now, calling them my  Random Sacreds.  I started with quotes from my day – random lovely things that someone said or that I read (though my faves where the things I heard from folks in the everyday). These morphed to include…moments, small gifts of kindnesses given and received.  I record them every night now in my digi-chickens and my 5 year diary.
  • The LIGHT is in the ordinary and the everyday.  There is no need to go running about seeking the light or spirit or whatever, it is right here in the small tasks and happenings of each day.  These habits I am building – meditation, rising early, working diligently by coming to the page everyday, practicing self compassion and being mindful  – these are the things that are giving me strength and courage and compassion to share with others. (And look…. they just HAPPEN to fall into the Five Elements.  I so did that on purpose!)
  • I am making up this life as I go along – we all are. We create the story of our lives and each day we create a new bit and we step forward onto it and we can trust ourselves and the divine for that next step to be there and for the path, in the end, to lead us home.
  • I don’t believe in “the only way” – I believe that there are many many GOOD ways and that we each must find our own and follow it.

What is true for me right now is…

  • That I can trust myself.
  • That the novel will unfurl and that it will be… worthy.
  • That this is my work.
  • That my biggest challenge right now is Letting Go… on almost every front. (I claim silent retreat on the details here)

What is true for me right now is that I am learning this already.  I am learning to Let Go – like a dandelion seed and to trust the wind to carry me, the sun to warm me and the earth and rain to nourish me (rain rain RAIN).

I’ll stop here… for now… with a few pictures of the sunset on the 21st.  It was a lovely day, and though I originally thought I would finish my retreat up when I woke in the morning after sleeping in the Burrow for the first time, I wanted to spend some more time listening to mySelf, so I carried on in silence until 4pm.  Blessed and blissed when the Raggedy Man boated home that night.

Solstice Sunset_1.jpgSolstice Sunset_2.jpg

I leave you with my newest favourite quote (a Chinese inscription cited by Thoreau in Walden)…

Renew thyself completely each day:

Do it again, and again,

and forever again.

May you feel and smell and see and taste the bliss of life this weekend.  Listen.

go easy ~p




2 Comments on “Wrapping up the June Moon with a Solstice Retreat…

  1. Blessed Pam, the dandelion always tells me that she carries the word lion in her name and she speaks of courage – cor being the root of that word and as you know it is Latin for heart! thank you for sharing yourself, love Hettienne

    • Ahhhhh, thanks Hetienne. This is lovely. I’ve begun stooping down to pluck a leaf now and again and nibble. Ingesting my new ally 🙂 Xo~p

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