Silent Retreat – Arriving

I don’t know if the difficulty I had getting to the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA was just bad luck or an underlying resistance to the whole concept of spending 5 days in silence with complete strangers. Coming from the excellent heart opening workshop with Patty Townsend at Kripalu and listening to the soothing voice of Pema Chodron lecture on ‘Smile at Fear’ in the car while driving to my eagerly awaited destination, I was oblivious to the fear in my heart.

What would I find in my heart? How would I find it anyway? My usual escape tactics, sleeping and playing solitaire, where still available to me. Do I have the courage to leave them at the door?

Because I chose the ‘shortcut’ my google GPS offered half way through the drive (my advice: don’t take it) I ended up in the wrong town. Because I had left my cell phone on the entire drive, it was now dead. Because I had left an hour later than planned and gone in the wrong direction on the parkway, it was now dark. I was lost in the dark with no cell phone connection and late….yoga breathing helps in this situation, so do kind people. If you find yourself in this situation, find a church. Preferably a church with people hanging out in the parking lot waiting for service to begin and ask directions. I did.

I arrived at the center just as dinner was being served, veal…OMG, I told Dan Christians aren’t vegetarian but I didn’t expect veal for heavens sake. Fortunately there was pasta and salad and cake. Apparently Jesuits love sweets – yippee so do I. No dieting on this retreat.



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