Last winter was long, cold and miserable. It’s one winter I want to forget. I spent months taking care of my husband (after he fell on ice and had to have a hip replacement) and feeling sorry for myself. When Spring finally arrived, it brought my father’s passing followed by the death of both my dogs within three months of each other. At long last, I received some good news. I was gifted one full week in a writer’s residency program at the glorious Wild Acres Retreat Center in the North Carolina mountains. Their website says, “The program allows individuals the solitude and inspiration needed to begin or continue work on a project in their particular field.” And so, from Sept. 5-12th, I stayed at the Owl’s Nest Cabin, tucked away in the mountains to work on my novel without any interruptions – none. No distractions – none. No T.V., no cell phone service, no internet, and no iPod. It was just me, my laptop, my yoga mat, and 23 chapters of my book needing to be revised.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, I also didn’t have to spend time preparing any meals, or cleaning or washing anything. I didn’t have to be concerned about anyone other than myself. How often does that happen?
I was pretty much off the grid (without a car) and had to hike ¼ mile up to the main campus for my meals. No big deal. However, I was a little alarmed about a few things such as critters in my room and hunters on the gravel road near my cabin with their barking dogs. You see, it’s bear hunting season in the mountains, and while I don’t want to be judgmental regarding a tradition that is centuries old, I am disturbed to know that folks are still out there hunting bears. I mean, what for?
As for critters, I had a ring-neck snake in my cabin which I managed to get out without killing it. How did I know it was a ring-neck snake? When I described it to people at lunch, they informed me that’s what it was. I don’t like snakes, but I survived that crisis and moved on to another crisis, a yoga crisis.
When I left my house, I grabbed the September issue of the Yoga Journal in case I needed it. So, while I was patting myself on the back for progressing so well on my revision, I put myself in a funk practicing Hanumanasana (full splits). Well, I knew it wasn’t an easy pose and certainly not one I ever practice out of class, but hey, I figured in a week I would make some progress- NOT. So, frustration paid me a long visit that week, thanks to my greedy self wanting immediate results. It’s amazing how we can find things to be discouraged about even when we don’t have to. Once again, my mat teaches me a lesson. I guess a yoga retreat is in order next.