I’m leaving to attend a retreat at Deer Park Monastery in southern CA on Friday and will be gone for four weeks. Rest assured that I’ll be journaling about my retreat stay everyday and will take many pictures to share with all of you when I return next month. My gratitude to all of you in the blogosphere for following along with me here on my posts – I greatly appreciate the support and inspiration to keep on writing, thank you kindly my friends.
A few weeks ago I was invited to meet up with a couple of friends in order to work on a vision board. The plan was to gather up our art supplies and set an intentional time in which to work on this project together. I had never done a vision board before and was honestly more drawn to simply supporting my friend’s idea of wanting to do this more so than the actual doing of it was concerned but I was plenty happy to figure out just what the heck I would put on my board when the time came.
Before my friends and I met up for the first time a few weeks ago I mentioned the project to my husband Mike and said, “Gosh I really have no idea what to put on my vision board.” With quickness and ease he offered, “Why don’t you include stuff about our wanting to find land and build a practice community?” Huzzah! Of course! That was the perfect idea! Thank goodness for getting inspiration from those around us :)
Ever since we met my husband and I have held the dream of buying land and building our own house. Over the years our vision has expanded to include a mindfulness practice center with retreat and communal living opportunities. We’ve been loosely looking at land and wish to amp up our efforts this coming year. So doing a vision board to help set our intentions in this direction was well timed.
In two weeks I’ll be traveling to southern California to spend four weeks on retreat at Deer Park Monastery (in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh). It will be my 3rd annual trip there, each time in January. The first year I went I spent four weeks and went by myself. The second year I went for two weeks and my husband Mike came along with me. This year Mike and I are going together but he’ll be flying home after spending two weeks while I stay on for another two more weeks. I’m very much looking forward to the trip and the retreat and consider it a great privilege to be able to attend.
For the past few weeks during my morning meditation sit I’ve been mentally and energetically transported to Deer Park in the folds of predawn’s silence. I close my eyes and the darkness of my living room becomes the darkness of the meditation hall at Deer Park. When I sing the morning chant it’s as if I’m singing it in the brothers small dharma hall in Solidity Hamlet (where the monks reside and practice at Deer Park) the same way I had done so last January for my fellow lay practitioners one morning. I can almost feel the cool chill of the ocean adjacent grounds of the monastery sifting through me, the wide, white tiles of the brothers dharma hall underneath me, and the sweet smile of the Buddha surrounding me (see pic above, from the brothers dharma hall).