pregnancy week by week

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

breathe in breath out breath in breath out

I am embarking on a journey today. I am heading off to a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Coldwater BC. My usual prolixity has evanesced, and instead I feel rather vulnerable without my recondite armoury of words. This morning I cuddled next to Marc and felt the heat of his skin against mine. Nothing makes me happier than those precious moments of intense sweetness, of just being in his presence, of feeling what a force of love he is in my life and how deeply I appreciate how safe, warm and alive I feel when I am with him. I felt that moment of panic that I would be without him and then stuck with myself -- no more Marc to buffer me from myself. Vipassana retreats for me often have a brutish quality -- I am not what you would call one of those blissed out people. I am often confronted with very profound and challenging painful insights about my nature, human nature, and the ephemeral quality of life.

It is a strange, marvelous sensation simultaneously to know deep grief and joy about being alive. I love being alive, the older I get the more I love this life and in getting older the more I know it is passing. I suppose it seems paradoxical to meditate on death while I am pregnant but I hear many women think about death during this time in their lives. How can I not? I have a little being wriggling inside of me who’s spark has just been ignited but at some point in his or her continuum, like all our continuums it will be extinguished. It is such a mystery and I know my nature is one that has always pondered the mysteries of life. Each time I go on retreat I feel myself sink into a deeper wisdom and connect with something greater than myself, but I am not tempted to call this something God as I find it arrogant. I actually don’t name it, I am practicing to accept that it simply is. Sometimes it holds me and protects me, sometimes it slaps me, sometimes it drops me into freefall, sometimes I don’t think it’s there, sometimes I forget, sometimes I feel doubt, sometimes I don’t trust the universe, sometimes it surprises me with the tiniest blessings like catching the sunset on the cherry trees last night, like feeling the wind in my face, like waking up next to Marc. I think Marc more than any human being in my life has taught me so much about trust and I carry this with me to retreat. I think for the first time I am heading into retreat not in a state of some kind of personal crisis but in a state of personal joy and happiness, even though with me there is always this tinge of melancholy that I suppose comes with the kind of wisdom I have about life.

I go knowing it has been a remarkably challenging few months undergoing this transition from svelt independent me to a zaftig, luscious pregnant woman whereby my rough edges are being smoothed over by the unrelenting waves of change that come over me everyday. My life is changing more than it ever has, friends are coming and going in ways I never prepared myself for but I see it all as positive change, a reshuffling of the deck whereby I am coming to know who my allies are, who are people that fall to the wayside and that it's ok as I am meeting and getting to know wonderful people better, and letting others ones go for the time being… I feel sad but at the same time my life is changing and I see more clearly now what it is changing into and who I want to be in it. I can truly say that I am at a wonderful place in my life.

I feel as though I am at a convergence of streams, like being in Lytton and seeing the clear blue of the Thompson river mix with the muddied waters of the Fraser river… it takes time for the streams to mix together and settle into a singular flow. Life is about change and for most of it I’ve been trying to make it stand still. But it never stands still, Marc got up and went to work, I got up and had breakfast and as per usual am racing to the finish line to submit all my paperwork and essays for my practicum, my thoughts are already somewhere else. But within a few hours me and the pillow will become reacquainted and for 10 hours a day I will be sitting and contemplating the in breath, the out breath, the in breath the out breath… and so like life, the streams of my scattered thoughts will converge and with time and patience I will settle into a singular flow.

Here is my schedule in case you are curious

4:00 a.m.---------------------Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 a.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 a.m.----------------Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 a.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 a.m.---------------Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher's instructions
11:00-12:00 noon--------------Lunch break
12noon-1:00 p.m.--------------Rest, and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 p.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 p.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher's instructions
5:00-6:00 p.m.----------------Tea break
6:00-7:00 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 p.m.----------------Teacher's Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 p.m.----------------Question time in the hall
9:30 p.m.---------------------Retire to your room; lights out

namaste and see you in 10 days