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My time in vipassana (silence)


When you always care for others sometimes you forget to practice self-care. A few months back a couple of clients mentioned to me:

"How can you be providing wellness to your clients when you are not taking care of yourself?"

A new client mentioned to me that he was going to Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) for Vipassana (silent retreat). He shared the price of the retreat with me and I knew I couldn't afford it at this time. When you are an entrepreneur in the healing arts sometimes money is not always available for events like this.

I reached out to SRMC and discussed my situation with them. They wrote back and offered me a scholarship with me paying a small fee for vipassana! This is true manifesting. I have taught manifesting for the past 10 years. What you think about you bring about. I truly saw myself participating at this event. The retreat was for 4 days. I knew I still needed more time. So, I started looking at Air BnB. The next day Air BnB sent me a gift certificate for $100 for being a great host last year! It was all set! I would spend 4 days at SRMC and then head over to Mill Valley and really connect with Spirit and rejuvenate my soul.

Arriving at SRMC was a breath of fresh air. I parked at the bottom of the hill and luckily they had golf carts to tote your luggage up the hill. As you signed in with the other 100 students you received your dorm room number and building. Then you also were assigned a chore to provide a service while you were there. My chore was cleaning the dining hall floor after lunch with 3 other people. Some people may not understand this process but it was truly a labor of love to keep the community in clean and in loving condition for all the students and teachers to enjoy while we were there.

The first night we met in the meditation temple. It is a beautiful building surrounded by windows so you are able to enjoy the beautiful nature all around. We were told that silence would begin after questions were answered. We were also told that there would be a ceremony to give up all of our electronics.

Every morning a student would walk the hallways of the dorm rooms hitting a gong to wake us up at 6am. We had 30 minutes to get up and get to the meditation temple. Let me tell you waking up, using the restroom with other people, getting dressed and walking to the meditation temple in 30 minutes was a little challenging. The beauty of the fog resting on the forest and right in front of you was worth getting up early. Once there, we meditated for 30 minutes then I had the honor of watching the sun come up. All of us walked in silence together down to the dining hall and waited for a wonderful vegetarian/vegan breakfast.

After breakfast some people had chores while the rest of us participated in walking meditation. In my thoughts walking meditation always consisted of just walking and focusing on nature. The way it was taught was not making eye contact with others and breathing with each step (v e r y slowly). After walking meditation a large bell would be rung for all of us to meet for meditation in the temple. After the meditation it would be more walking meditation. There was a yoga class thrown in once during the day. Otherwise you were either doing walking meditation or meditation in the temple.

When we finished dinner we met with the 4 teachers to listen to a lecture on mindfulness. Our day went from 6am until 9:30pm. By the time we arrived back to the dorm I was ready to tear my clothes off and lay down.

By the second day I was feeling more exhausted then when I was at home. We were asked to meet in small groups with a teacher. My teacher asked us to speak during our short meeting and share what was going on with our meditation practice. When it was my turn to share I told him I would get to state of relaxation and meditation then almost pass out. He asked me what was going on in my life and I told him I have been working 80-90 hours a week with a full time job taking care of Alzheimer's clients and building my business as an entrepreneur. He said well, you are experiencing chronic fatigue. He says this is where exhaustion is and raised his hand higher up and said this is where you are. He said what you need is to spend 30 days here doing vipassana. I knew I needed to make some changes.

As we moved through our days there was no urge to use my cell phone or to speak. This workshop was what I desired to have in my life. When it was our final day I still chose not to speak. I headed over to Sausalito and meditated by the boats and the water. I chose to take myself out on a lunch date and stop at a local flower shop.

We truly create the life we want to live. What I have decided to do is hire more help for my business and utilize the volunteers I have to help create a mindful business and society. I have also began to look for another position that does not require me to give 40 hours of my time. Having more time to dedicate to my clients and my business will help my business grow and create more of a society I wish to live in.

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