You'd think I was on vacation already because I haven't posted in two days! Sorry about that - I was exhausted after the retreat on Sunday and last night I was busy hand-sewing the dress hem until bedtime. The dress is completely done and packed and ready to go - yay!!!! You'll have to wait for pictures until at least Friday, when I'll be wearing it at the wedding.
The retreat on Sunday was ok. I don't feel that it was a waste of time, thank goodness. There was a labyrinth there where the paths were bounded by different flowers and plants. Some of the flowers looked like they might be orchids; they were very pretty. Walking the labyrinth was very relaxing. I took it slowly while meditated to clear my mind.
I ended up realizing that I was very tense (no surprise) because of the number of friends I have that are not doing well. Two close friends and a third I know less well are not well at all... hospice in involved in two cases and should be there in the third. It's so heartbreaking to hear and read that they're going downhill. They're all beautiful, compassionate, awesome women and the world will be a lesser place without them. This time - the one leading up to when they die - is hard, because we know it's coming, but not when.
Anyways, I ended up thinking about them while looking at the flowers and I realized that death is a natural part of life and that it's ok for people to die. And it's ok to be sad about it, and to miss them, and to want for them to be happy and comfortable while they're here (and to want them back). These women will live on through everyone who knows them, and that's how things should be, too - new things come out of the ones who came before. I knew all of this before but I found the reminder comforting.
The retreat took place at a ginseng farm which had fields in different growth stages. The ginseng is planted in raised straw mounds and then semi-transparent tarps are placed about six or eight feet above the mounds in the summer to protect the plants from the sun. The tarps are removed for winter. It takes several years to fully grow the ginseng.
I tell you this because I spent the afternoon wandering around the perimeters of the fields. It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny but not too hot with a lovely breeze, and it was fun to just wander around where there were no people and go exploring, with nothing in particular to do and nowhere to be. Almost everyone else took part in the drumming circle. I decided not to do the drumming thing and fortunately I wasn't the only one.
Doing all of that - walking around and just enjoying the day - was awesome. There were parts of the retreat which were not quite so awesome. Like when we did the opening meditation and the guy leading it said over and over and over that we could heal ourselves and make ourselves perfect just by imagining and believing it. I don't hold with that theory - if it worked, don't you think my three dying friends would do it? And saying that we have the power to cure ourselves like that implies that we cause our own disease. I don't take responsibility for my disease.
There were weird things as well... one of the drummers apparently heals water. She said that a person can send out healing words to the water and that it would work to heal it. Hmmm. If that worked, our oceans and lakes wouldn't be the mess they are, would they? Maybe we're just not believing hard enough.
While I enjoyed myself, I don't think I'll go back to one of these retreats. I did volunteer to help sew for the centre because they need someone to do it, and I can sew. Plus some say that doing some kind of volunteer work can help to make those of us who aren't working feel more like we contribute to society. We'll see how it goes.
Anyways, after being out in the sun all day - even though I didn't get a sunburn due to liberal and repeated use of the free, non-smelly sunscreen - and after sitting on a bus for three hours (one and a half each way), I was really, really tired and cranky when I got home. I ended up having a temper tantrum in the early part of the evening. Stomping around, yelling incoherently, not wanting to do things... I might as well have been a three-year-old, because I certainly acted like one. Sigh. Ian bore the brunt of this terrible behaviour quite well, telling me to go to sleep. Which I did.
Yesterday and today I ran around doing errands and getting ready for the trip. We leave early tomorrow morning and I think we've got everything. I hope we do, anyway, because there won't be time to pack anything but toiletries tomorrow. I'm excited about the trip because we're going to a wedding and then seeing my extended family and then we're going to explore parts of Washington state through the Okanaga/Okanogan and back to Vancouver.