Last weekend, Angela James and I, along with two musicians and eight participants, had a fantastic time at the ChiRunning and yoga retreat at Monkey Valley. It was the most beautiful time of year, with flowers of dozens of varieties in bloom, the grass waist-high, and visiting birds of many colours flitting through the willows by the creek. We had delicious meals, moments of quiet contemplation during the morning meditations, exciting discoveries about ChiRunning, relaxation and enjoyment during the yoga, and incredible fun around the campfire with the sing-along, guitar music, cello numbers, and smores! We went for a swim in Missezula Lake, and some of us ran back to Monkey Valley from there. It felt like a real blessing to me to see the posse of runners up ahead, running along the logging road. As if my heart’s desire had been answered by sharing this magical place with other runners.
Last entry, I was musing about how I am being called to serve my people. Last summer (or maybe the summer before) my friend John Harper had asked me the astonishing question “What if the universe doesn’t want you to do anything?” The heart of this question, it seems to me, is considering the possibility that I don’t have to crawl a hundred miles on hands and knees, but can just let the soft animal of my body love what it loves (to paraphrase Mary Oliver). That is, maybe there is nothing in particular I need to do. Just be. Maybe I don’t need to stop the oil eruption, or change the way Canadians feel about banking, forever (my current client’s dream), or lead people on intensive vision quests in the wilderness. Maybe I can just be an ordinary person, and see what unfolds.
The yoga and ChiRunning retreat unfolded with absolute ease from the moment I took Angela’s workshop in January. Certainly there was some hard work involved along the way, especially in cooking for 12 people, but there was a flow and element of surprise and delight throughout, such as when my friend Darch offered to come a day early and help out. It seems to me that this type of flow and ease is what I long for, and what seems like true guidance about direction. I continue to hold the question as my summer unfolds, with another trip to Monkey Valley coming up and then the annual Diamond Approach summer retreat at Asilomar later in August. Maybe my desire to serve in some big, special way is just an ego trip, and all I need to be is an ordinary person, special just because I am, just like you are special just because you are.
Top photo: Joe Charron. Middle and bottom photos: Lorinda Wei.