First Full Week in the Cabin (February 11-16, 2013):
Monday 2/11: This marks the first official full week of silent retreat for Aedin. He’s been on the go for a few weeks now letting the new plan evolve, and he’s looking forward to hunkering down and doing some serious self-reflection and exploration. So he informs me he is going silent the whole week but first he squeezes in time for one last message to report on life at the cabin.
Aedin had a special, little visitor at the cabin today – a baby bear. He thinks the little, furry one crawled out of hibernation too early and is looking for something to fill his belly. Even though the black bear is harmless, knowing he is on the prowl for food leaves Aedin uneasy about going outside at night as no other human is even remotely close to the cabin should he find himself in a predicament. Not only is a bear wandering around the premises, but he also hears animals rustling in the woods…and he knows mountain lions aren’t far off. Needless to say, pooping in a bucket in the pitch black is “no bueno.”
As for me, I hit the road for Washington, DC for a conference, leaving our fur children at home with their favorite dog sitter, Auntie Lulu. They’ll be spoiled rotten for the next three days.
Tuesday 2/12: While I’m indulging in the most exquisite meal at Vidalia in Washington, DC this evening, I receive a surprise text message. Aedin is supposedly practicing silence but wants to let me know he charged his phone just enough to say hi. I think someone’s a little homesick. I must admit, though, that it feels good knowing you are missed.
Wednesday 2/13: Aedin crosses paths with more wild animals today. First, he comes across a huge buck along the walking path to the main retreat center. Later, he finds himself staring into the eyes of the leader of a pack of coyotes as he steps out the front door to head to a meditative talk at the retreat center. At first, he freezes with mixed emotions of awe and absolute fear. Not sure what the coyotes are up to, he decides he should make a loud noise to scare them off before they start licking their chops. They scatter in the woods when he stomps around on the porch and slams the door. He, then, braves the ten-minute journey on foot to the main retreat center, praying they don’t cross paths again.
Oh and believe it or not, Aedin finally sends me a picture from Colorado. It’s of him inside the cabin so I have proof that he really is in a secluded location deep in the mountains (in case any of you thought he was hiding out on an island sipping Mai Tais)! He’s looking a little scruffy since he’s not shaving these days. Not sure I’m a fan of the silvery beard. At this rate, he might be able to audition for the “real” Santa later this year.
Thursday 2/14: Aedin breaks his own rules and calls home to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s a welcome sentiment since we are miles apart this holiday. He also surprises me with a special delivery – a massage gift card magically appears in my mailbox. I’ll definitely be putting that to good use after moving furniture over the weekend but shhh….he doesn’t know about that, remember?
I started not to mention this but I just can’t resist sharing. Aedin mentions to me that he can’t locate the Valentine’s Day card he bought to send to me. So I let him in on a little secret. I was putting laundry away this past weekend and when I opened a drawer to put his shirts away, there laid a Valentine’s Day card in the drawer. So I found it but it’s blank. Sometimes he has the best of intentions but something falls apart on the execution end. I’m learning to accept this and in situations like this one, I can’t help but let out a little chuckle.
He received the Valentine’s package I mailed him right on time and tears into the homemade, gluten-free banana bread. Something tells me that will all be gone within 24 hours. Dig in, my friend!
During the call, Aedin shares with me that the only gas station in town closed a few days ago because they were not getting enough business. Now, I must ask – How is it that the only gas station in town isn’t getting sufficient business? I mean, do the 1500 residents of Crestone all walk and ride bikes everywhere in the snow? To pump gas, Aedin must now drive 40 miles to the next closest town. Hope his tank isn’t close to empty. He has a terrible habit of letting the gauge drop to “E” back at home before he pulls up to the pump. Drives me nuts!
Friday 2/15: Super quiet day…no phone calls, no text messages and no emails received today.
Saturday 2/16: It’s safe to say that the introspection and soul searching is in full swing as Aedin settled down in the cabin this week. Here’s a little note from his journal this week:
“One of the themes of this journey has been letting go. Letting go of old habits that don’t serve me well. Letting go of expectations that my life will turn out a certain way, or in tonight’s case, letting go of expectations that meditation itself should feel a certain way.
Instead, I was reminded by Suzuki Roshi, I should remember beginner’s mind, where each sit is an opportunity to experience yourself fully, as if for the first time. That includes the background chatter of laundry lists, or thoughts about forecasts of 7 degrees, or whatever. See it all, neutrally. Because those thoughts are the waves of your mind, and tell a lot about the ocean if you let them.”
I’ll leave you to chew on that for a bit.