Several weeks ago I received an e-mail flyer describing a one day retreat for women called "A Cup of Joy." Having been somewhat curmudgeonly for a while now, I decided, "A Cup of Joy" might be a good thing to help me clear the clouds and actually begin to feel again. Those who've been reading here for awhile, know that social events with new faces (even with known faces) are a real stretch for me and something I avoid whenever possible. Attending this retreat day would be an attempt to break through some of my barriers. Knowing one of the presenters, as she did the grief seminar I attended last June.....it all sort of felt "safe."
Pain in my stomach, some shakiness and a lot of apprehension came along with me as I drove over an hour to the site of the retreat. The building alone, modernistic in a wooded setting, was worth the leap over my comfort bounds. Filled with the most beautiful art, it is and was for me a place of healing. Eight other women made the leap as well, and it was a most rewarding day, planned to keep our interest and fill our bodies, minds and spirits with JOY. We got to know each other a bit and there was a connection for me with a woman who helped my daughter immensely at one point in her life. She is an amazing example of giving back and making a difference in the lives of others. In her case it is by running a landmark program to assist the homeless. Having my friend, Debra there was wonderful, as well. I am sure our friendship grew through the experience.
The second presenter was a yoga teacher and we did intervals of yoga, guided in her gentle funny ways throughout the day. The explanation of what we were doing with each of the postures, brought to life what we were feeling....the opening up of our bodies to joy and health. I did things I never dreamed possible. For me, the yoga truly began to open me up and feel whole. LOVED IT!
The sharing, journaling, laughing and wisdom of the seven other women was such a gift. There were many with grief, but there was a lot of hilarity throughout the day. Very clearly I could see that I am in control of my joy and only I can take down the barriers to truly experiencing it everyday in my life.
Outside was a perfect Fall day, and the opportunites presented themselves to walk outside several times and just breathe in the beautiful air and feel the sunshine.
Near the end of the day we did a guided meditation and then a gentle sharing of what we all felt.
The day brought me much more than a cup of joy!
When I returned to LM's house in the evening, there he was, preparing me a lovely dinner of roast chicken. After a long hug, he looked at me and commented immediately on how mellow I seemed, and he wanted to hear more about the day. We shared the delicious dinner and several quiet hours together (there was a brief appearance by Ms G). He had been out on beaches most of the day taking a number of his students on a class fishing trip...alas, no one caught a fish, but they had fun trying and learning to use their fishing equipment.
My drive home was interesting - as LM walked me to my car, we stepped out of his house into dense fog.....the densest I have seen in years -I drove away in my mellow state, and as I got within 2 miles of my house, all the fog was gone, and there was a crystal clear moonlit evening. Somehow very meaningful, in light of the day I experienced.