I’m off to a meditation retreat tomorrow…nine days at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts.

On the one hand, I feel irresponsible taking off again so soon after returning from Ohio. I’ve been away three times this month already.

On the other hand, this retreat is paid for, non-refundable, and I REALLY NEED IT!  It will give me a chance to see how I’m digesting all the impermanence that’s showing up in my life right now. There’s been so much going on that it’s hard to know what I’m feeling other than exhaustion and a painful shoulder/neck spasm.

Of course, retreats are not all bliss and relaxation, notwithstanding all the ads showing serene women meditating in yoga togs in gorgeous locations. NO…when you actually quiet down enough to discover what’s actually going on inside your mind/body, you can find some unpleasant surprises.

Yes, of course, there’s the occasional bit of bliss, but more likely (especially in the beginning) you’ll discover restlessness, agitation, boredom, fear, and an unbelievable amount of thinking. Typically, by the second day, you’ll be thinking, GAHHH! How can I stand this for six more days???

This happens even if you’ve been attending retreats for decades. The difference is that you expect it. And you know it will eventually settle down. Maybe.