Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Lakes Retreat

In three days and ten minutes from now, I will be leaving for Michigan for six days, to make my grand return to The Great Lakes Retreat, after a three-year absence. Last year I was unable to attend due to an already-high travel budget and already-busy travel schedule for iPEC coach training. The year before that, I had a 15 month old, who I was still somewhat nursing and was not ready to leave for a week. The year before that, I had a 3 month old, so apply the previous reason and multiply it by seventeen. The year before that, my husband went to Retreat with me, and our son was conceived. The year before that was only my second year there, and the year before that was, obviously, my first.

My first year there, I already felt like I'd found a new family and had discovered the happiest place on Earth. It's a spiritual retreat, full of all levels of psychics and healers and numerologists and (literal) tree huggers, and I freaking loved it. In normal life, I'm just far enough into hippie and outside of normal that I feel just a little bit odd and like it's best to dial myself down. There? I almost feel out of place being so low-level odd. There, it's "normal" to be really, really far out there, which is a totally different mindset, and one I enjoy adopting. There, everyone has different spiritual beliefs, and can direct their "prayers" or "energy" or what have you toward God, Goddess, Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Jesus, their Higher Self, the Creator, or Whomever They Choose and everyone else is simply okay with that. There's discussion about what others believe and why, that is discussion and not argument, brought forth from genuine curiosity rather than skepticism or an intention to convert or ridicule. In short: it is so happy there, with such a feeling of love all around you at (almost)* all times that it makes you want to cry with happy at the end of the week because it is the very manifestation of "can't we all just get along?" and you see that yes, actually, we can, so why can't we?

*(I mean, there is the occasional Odd Duck who is really, really odd whom you kind of want to avoid if you can. But then, sometimes, those Odd Ducks are the folks you end up learning a lot about yourself from by the end of the week. Usually about judgment from calling them Odd Ducks and then watching them have a life-altering realization and transforming themselves by the end of the week, when you'd written them off at the beginning. Or seeing someone you thought was closed off and negative be incredibly loving and positive. You just never know, and sometimes it's good to be reminded of that.)

I'm going to miss my family like crazy. My husband, though, is looking forward to some Daddy Time while Mommy's away, to catch up with the little guy a bit while we're not in default Mommy Just Handles Everything mode. I'm sure that popcorn and pizza will be consumed in abundant quantities. I also figure that tents will be built, and sleeping on the living room floor will be done. My husband, I have to say, turns into Superdad when I'm away, and while sometimes I lament that it'd be nice if he were Superdad while I'm here, too, it's good to know that they'll have a great time together while I'm gone.

The little things that I'm looking forward to:
  • Morning meditation -- something I keep meaning to do for myself at home, but which never seems to happen.
  • Having three meals per day provided for me without the "I dunno, whadda you wanna do?" conversation taking long enough that there's no more time to cook.
  • The healing center -- even if you take a total skeptical point of view about energy-type healing, you'd still have to admit that going to a relaxing room where you have the full attention of someone only intending good for you, is a good thing.
  • Taking the same seat at the morning and evening lectures that I've taken every other year I've been there, just because.
  • Having real, thought-provoking discussions that give me a chance to explain and challenge my ways of thinking.
  • Popcorn, and bad karaoke.
I just hope I remember to pack pictures of my kid.

1 comment:

parenting ad absurdum said...

Sounds aMAZing. Have a great time. And I love the expression "odd duck." :)