back to reality

yesterday I returned from my annual vacation, aka the bhakti immersion retreat in upstate ny, which is run/organized by my guru, Srila Dhanurdhara Swami, and my godbrother, the (in)famous Raghunatha. it is four days of off-the-grid into nature yoga, philosophy, and culture. classes range from gentle and strong vinyasa, to bhakti relationships, to introduction to palm reading and indian classical dance, to Raghunatha's version of cross-fit called "the bhakti beast".

I always go with the mood that these four days are my vacation. I want to see my guru, spent time hearing from him, and just be able to chill... not have to worry about cooking for myself (or scrounging up food from somewhere I should say). this year I decided that I wanted to take it to the next level of relaxation and not even pressure myself to go to every scheduled session. I wanted to just spend some time by myself, read a bunch and write even more, and also spend some time chanting japa.

I'll admit, I did spend more time by myself, but I didn't do nearly as much reading or writing as I wanted...I hardly even chanted any japa. it was SO intensely hot. SO FREAKING HOT. and the humidity was off the charts. if you're anywhere in the northeast right now, you probably understand... but in past years (and this was my fourth year going), even if it's been hot in nj/ny area, it's always been way cooler up there...like to the point where you'd have to wear socks and a sweater at night, so even though I saw the weather forecast, I wasn't totally thinking it was actually going to be that bad. but IT WAS. it was like, oh, hey, I'm sitting here just breathing and not even moving and there is sweat dripping down my legs. that level hot. I don't want to complain about anything about this retreat... honestly. because this is the gift that my husband gives to me. he stays home by himself for four days with gita and sets me free to be by myself and be totally selfish. so I don't want to be a baby about it. I enjoyed myself and the weekend was awesome... it was just, so... moist.

anywho, the heat factor definitely made it a wee-bit hard to enjoy the things I wanted to enjoy. because after-all, this was about my enjoyment. I spent a good three hours one day just laying on my bed with the fan on me because I couldn't take sweating for another moment. and on Saturday I was determined not to sweat at all for the whole day and I made it until lunch... and I was DRIPPING while I was eating... and all I was doing was eating! ha!

so I tried to vlog a little bit, but the videos are mostly me talking about how hot it is (boring)... and I journaled a little... but then I didn't have much to say, or I felt incoherent because I was so hot... or all I talked about was hot damned hot it was... so yea, I read a bit. I finished these two novellas (here and here) by braja sorensen. I also revisited a fiction piece that I started like ten years ago and I actually wrote almost a whole page, which felt really, really good. so I think that's going to be my new project. it's actually on my 40/40 list (#29)...to write in earnest, with the intention of actually finishing it and publishing it.

oh, I also did actual retreat stuff! ha! I went to my guru's classes in the mornings. I was also SO excited that this lovely couple Denise and Bill offered their healing bowl class... wherein they play these amazing himalayan singing bowls and then actually place a bowl on your body. it's so amazingggggggg! Mother Rukmini was also there and offered a beautiful class on relationships in bhakti. oh, and I really enjoyed the discussion in Madan Mohan and Kaustubha's Brave New Gita talk. of course there was lots of soulful kirtan with this amazing devotee Jaya Jaganatha and Rupa Vilas and Komala Kumari. so much good stuff jam-packed into those four days.

as much as I loved being there, I'm also quite happy to be in my own bed and air conditioning. until next year...

when I first arrived...before I knew how much sweating was about to happen.

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