Permanent Retreat

During my Recess I had some sessions with Hiro, who I met at Havi’s retreat.

Hiro is a clairvoyant personal and business coach. Yes, it is the most awesome combo ever.

In one session, she talked about the dualities of life, and how we are constantly negotiating between polar ends, integrating aspects of ourselves which are both dual and unity: lightness/darkness, joy/pain, material/spiritual. This is one of the things I love so much about Yoga: grounding/rising, inner/outer rotations, ease/effort, strength/softness. We cannot have one without the other.

One of the things she “saw” in me was a tendency to get stuck in retreat. When duality gets too noisy and complicated I retreat into simplicity. While this is somewhat natural and necessary, she saw me using it as a way to withdraw rather than refuel. As a way to avoid the polarities of the world.

This message came up again last week. A student loaned me some cassette tapes (thank goodness I still have my Walkman) of poet David Whyte. I am on my 3rd listening of the first tape (even if the content was rubbish, his voice, accent, and manner of speech are intoxicating) where he illustrates this idea with the image of walking down a country dirt road: A huge storm comes. You take shelter in the barn until the storm passes. Sometimes the warmth and protection of the barn feel so good, so easy and safe, you never leave. But you have to get back on the road. You have to keep going.

And because things come in threes, this message arrived, or rather departed, again out of the dove’s nest in our backyard. (As you know from this post as well.)

Hiro said, This shuffling from pain to retreat, retreat to pain is not necessary. The flow of soul is the integrating force.

Hafiz said, How did the rose ever open its heart….? It felt the encouragement of light against its being. It felt love.

It’s quite scary to come out of the barn, to leave the nest, to feel the emotion, to have the conversation, the relationship.

And even more scary that I have to do it on my own. I can take the wisdom and support and encouragement of others with me, but those alone will not create the movement. The leap, the step, the gesture, have to be mine.

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6 Responses to “Permanent Retreat”


  1. 1 janeen March 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Oh. WOW. I think I just saw a whole lot of truth for myself in this post. What great insights.

  2. 2 elizabeth March 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I see a little of me in this post as well. Good to ponder on.

    Someone read two David Whyte poems at a retreat I went to last fall. It was the first time I had heard of him and I loved them. I keep thinking it would be good to find a book of the poems.

    Sending strength for the leap(s).

  3. 3 Madeline March 28, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    loved these reflections. what do you mean by “retreat into simplicity”?. that seems like it would be a good thing but then again, i’m not quite sure what you mean. when i hear simplicity, i think ‘relaxing, breathing, calming down’. i am learning how to ‘look’ for simplicity. the duality for simplicity would be ‘complexity’? that’s the way i go. complexity=anxiety. could you share more what you mean? thanks for your insights,
    Madeline

  4. 4 blogasana March 29, 2010 at 2:52 am

    @janeen – can hardly wait to get together on weds for some real talk time!

    @elizabeth – he is an amazing poet. these tapes have been so rich. thanks for the leg strength =) curious what you resonate with here?

    @madeline – thanks for such a great question! to me retreat can = simplicity, relaxation, rejuvenation, calm and in those ways is natural and necessary. like, inner sanctuary. what i’m looking at in myself is the tendency to withdraw (and call it “retreat”). to go into that simple, quiet place… with the unconscious plan of not participating fully in reality which might be complex; not meeting the dark/uncomfortable/scary parts of myself/others/life with an open heart.

    maybe another way to say it is that i go from the opposites of “duality” (that there are two sides/qualities, “good/not good” to everything) to “simplicity” (where i create a protection around me of only the qualities i want).

    does this make any sense?? =) it was a hard post to write b/c it’s so abstract and i don’t really have words for it.

    i totally get how complexity = anxiety (yike!). how do you usually handle those times?

  5. 5 elizabeth March 30, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Oh, the remaining in retreat part. I need it to recharge, but sometimes I get stuck there because I am avoiding something (or somethings). And I often tell myself that I’m just recharging when that really isn’t the case anymore.


  1. 1 Yoga+Music(notquite)365 – Day 88 – Crazy Heart Movie Soundtrack- Resilience Edition! « Teachergoesbacktoschool's Blog Trackback on March 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

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