In answer to prayer, my housesitter, Hope, ( a horticulture major) agreed to stay on in April and work the garden beds and prune shrubs and fruit trees that went wild and grassy last summer. I’m now finding the time to get out and play in the dirt myself, which I sorely missed last year. The bluebirds wintered over again, despite the severe weather. They seem to find spots under the eaves of the Zendo and in hollow trees, and subsist on the Staghorm Sumac berries and dormant insects. I find their resilience amazing. I found the long periods of overcast skies and cold blustery weather wearing.
Much of my time off has been spent in diagnosing, addressing and healing several health challenges that were adding to my physical exhaustion. Part of my healing regimen includes eating a gluten free diet ( you wouldn’t believe all the added gluten in packaged foods!), treatment of hypothyroid and lots of rest and things that feed my soul. My Soul Food diet includes, art, music, meditation, reading, time with friends and travel. I attended a wonderful Painting Experience retreat/workshop at the incredible Hui Hooalana Retreat on Molokai, Hawaii in October and visited the British Isles for two weeks in March. There is such richness and variety in the cultures of the world and I’m grateful to be able to experience it.
“Boss Daley”, the Manx cat has been dieting too, though his ability as a mouse/shrew/vole hunter has made limiting his intake very difficult. The vet cut through my denial of his weight problem by confronting me with a Purina “body silouhette and topview profile chart” where he matched the obese/grossly obese outline......it was humbling! He currently is pouting as he’s having to share the hill, and even more upsetting, the backporch, with Hope’s elderly German Shepherd, Lucy. I trust that his ego strength will get him through till May when Lucy leaves.
From the calls and emails that I’ve been receiving, I know that I’m not the only person who is trying to ground, simplifiy and slow down the pace of day to day life. One of the helpful tools in accomplishing this has been a daily meditation and quote that I receive from the Eknath Eshwaren group at Blue Mountain. It gives me something to ponder during the day and a focus for meditation. You can register to receive their meditation here. A good way to start the day.
As always my goal is to balance work and play, solitude and socializing, service and self-care. I know many of you will be disappointed that there aren’t any scheduled workshops or group retreats at Hawk’s Ridge this year. This has not been an easy process and decision. My health challenge wakeup call made me realize that it’s necessary that I practice what I preach and find what is manageable for me while still having a personally nourishing life. To do that, I have to take one step at a time and see what works. For this year, it is providing space and guidance to individuals who want to make retreats and maintaining a bed and breakfast facility for them. I ask for support and prayers from all my many friends that have come to Hawk’s Ridge over the years ( it’s been 11 years since our first silent retreat!). The soulwork that each of you have done here has charged the space so that it is a healing space for those who have come after you. I’m grateful for your energy and the many ways that this work has been gifted and supported by you. I wish you all peace and joy in every day.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud,
that floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
- William Wordsworth, The Daffodils