I am off on my holidays as of Friday, and so I will not be posting until January the 14th, to allow me to get back into the swing of things before I need to post.
I am greatly looking forward to my break, as on Saturday I am off on retreat with the London Buddhist Community for 5 days, so yes during xmas. My husband and my dog are staying at home together and will be going to Gavin’s family on the day itself and he is working the rest of the time.
I haven’t been on retreat for quite a few years now and I am excited to be going back. When I have been before I have skirting around on the edges, not really being part of it at all and now I am a Mitra and I have made a commitment to this way of being. I am looking forward to all aspects of it, apart from the dorm rooms – that not so much, mainly as I have a lot of coughing fits at night and I worry about disturbing other people.
A part of being on retreat is working around the place in your groups. From memory this includes chopping vegetables for dinner, cleaning the loos, sweeping the dorms, preparing the altar and a few other tasks I can’t remember. I greatly enjoyed this from my other retreats. In fact on my first retreat (10 days when I had never encountered Buddhists before) I spend a lot of it hiding in the kitchens working away! There is something nice about doing chores for an hour a day, in the company of a small group of people who you have been working with for a few days. Some days it will be in silence, again something I am looking forward to.
I have a morning routine now which includes writing 1000 words and I don’t want to break that routine as I find it quite hard to reestablish habits. And so I will be taking my iPad with me, solely to do my morning writing on it. I will leave the SIM card at home so I have no 3G access and there definitely isn’t any wireless there. I can’t wait to be internet free. I find it quite draining at times, all the constant pinging and binging on phones and other devices.
Aside from my morning writing I will also be taking my notebook with me, as I find something quite nice about physically writing, especially as I don’t really do that much of it.
Early in January I start my Mitra studies, and so this will be a really nice start for that, I have bought some Buddhist texts to read while I am away and all in all I am very much looking forward to going on retreat.
I hope you enjoy your break over the holidays and enjoy it in what ever way works for you and yours. I will see you back on the 14th of January, if not before.