Coming back from a retreat is always tricky.
For a short time, there is the high of being in the mountains of Northern Cal breathing in the fresh air, eating delicious vegetarian food, starting each day with a Yoga practice and meditation all the while gazing at passing wild turkeys and deer in the fields. You eat with your friends, take walks in nature and take time to be present with each and every heart beat.
And then you come home.
It always takes a while to decompress and get reacclimatized to the hustle and bustle of daily life. And it takes a while to process all the subtle changes that occurred in your sacred time away to be quiet and look within.
In looking back, there was a moment that keeps coming back to me. It was during one of the meditation sessions led by my teacher, mentor, and friend Aman Keays. He had us gaze out the window at the scenery and contemplate something we were grateful for. It was strange, but in that instant, scenes from my life flashed by like an old movie and I felt so much gratitude for all the parts that led me to that very moment.
I saw the hardships and pain that I had endured in my childhood and young adult life as gifts that steered me to search for something more. To work on changing old patterns and beliefs and to find this path of Yoga.
While neither easy nor comfortable, I realized that it was necessary to experience all those things in order to become more open, loving and forgiving. And in that moment, I felt pure joy and gratitude. I saw all the parts, even the messy and painful periods of my life, as part of a bigger picture. And all was ok.
I wish I could bottle up that feeling and keep it with me at all times as I fall back into the patterns of my restless and wandering mind. But at least I can remember that I touched that feeling of peace, even if for a brief moment.
The more we take the time to be still, the more those moments will appear and it will get easier to deal with the ups and downs of life. We can ride the waves of existence with more ease and less reaction and understand that everything is indeed perfect just as it is today.
Take a moment to be grateful for what is. Right now.