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Taking a breath

Posted on: September 16, 2008


Things have been busy since I got back yesterday. We had a candidate interview that took up most of my day. This morning I had an instruction class. And then there was all the email to weed through and other things to catch up on. I think I’ve got the week in hand finally and can now relax a bit.

Let me tell you more about the retreat. It really was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life so far. It was intense and challenging and painful at times. But I don’t regret going and would do it over again. And will go back sometime next summer to serve and learn more.

We actually learned three different meditation techniques. The main one is called Vipissana (pronounced vi-pash-ana). The first technique we covered in the first three days of the retreat and the intent was to help us sharpen our minds for the actual work done during the Vipissana meditation. The third technique we learned on the last full day and it is to share love and peace with others. It kind of helps provide a balm after the work done during Vipissana meditation.

The pain was mostly physical. Meditating 11 hours a day can be hard on the legs and back. However, some of that pain turned out to be psychosomatic. On the fifth or sixth day, I had a particularly hard hour of meditation with such fierce pain in my hips that I was sure I was going to become physically ill. Somehow I managed to sit still (or at least as still as possible with my body shaking from the pain) and after that hour I never had hip pain again. Something was being worked through during the time and once it was gone, I felt better.

The general premise behind the Vipissana meditation is to focus on the sensations in the body. All the mental junk that we carry around gets manifested in various sensations and by observing them without reacting in any way, they lose their power and eventually are released from our bodies and minds. Quite logical when you think about it. And I like logical. I wasn’t looking for a kumbaya experience and this definitely was not one.

The silence part (we didn’t talk for the first nine days of the course) wasn’t all that hard. Although DH wouldn’t believe it, during a regular day, I don’t talk all that much. When I first learned that we would only be getting fruit and tea at the dinner hour, I was a bit concerned that I would be starving by the next morning, but this wasn’t the case. The vegetarian diet was really good and I’ve decided to stick with it. (Don’t worry family-types. I don’t expect special meals and will just eat what I can when we visit.) The one thing that never really got easier was getting up at 4:00 am. My circadian rhythms just aren’t the morning-person type.

Someone commented yesterday that I seemed different. I know I feel different somehow. It’s hard to explain how exactly, but I’m not the same person I was two weeks ago. Of course, maintaining this (and growing more) takes commitment. The minimum meditation recommended meditation time per day is 2 hours, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. For me, this is doable. I’ll also be looking into a group that meets in the Kansas City area since we are encouraged to continue group meditation at least once a week if possible.

There were some humorous things that happened during the ten days and as I remember them, you may get a bit more of a look at what life was like.

Now I’m back to teaching, meetings, weeding, book selecting, and all the other fun stuff that goes with my job.

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September 2008
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Upcoming

Mar. 10 - Photography Class

Mar. 11 - Quad Cities SnB

Mar. 12 - Lincoln Reenactor performance at BHE

Mar. 13 - Annual budget due

Mar. 14 - SnB trip to Galena

Mar. 16-21 - Spring Break

Mar. 16-18 - On the Front Lines library conference in Springfield

Mar. 19-22 - In Kansas

Mar. 23 - Orientation in Quad Cities

Mar. 24 - Photography Class

Mar. 26 - Spring Break for Academic Librarians workshop in Peoria

Mar. 27 - Supervisor Development in Quad Cities

Apr. 2 - Using Social Technologies in Library Instruction workshop

Apr. 6 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 6 - My birthday

Apr. 7 - Photography Class

Apr. 9-12 - In Kansas

Apr. 10 - College Closed

Apr. 12 - Easter

Apr. 13-19 - National Library Week

Apr. 13 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 14 - Photography Class

Apr. 16 - Evening Instruction Session

Apr. 17 - Information Literacy Summit

Apr. 18 - A Day of Books and Quilts at Toulon Public Library

Apr. 20 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 21 - Photography Class

Apr. 22 - Renegade Reference meeting in Bloomington

Apr. 23 - Illinois Library Day

Apr. 24 - Quarterly Supervisors Meeting

Apr. 27 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 28 - Photography Class

Apr. 29 - Supervisor Training in Quad Cities

May 5 - Photography Class

May 12 - National Library Legislative Day

May 25 - Memorial Day - College Closed

June 4 - RSA Users' Group meeting in Peoria

June 6 - SIL's birthday June 6 - Brother and SIL Anniversary

June 8 - Nancy Pearl at Bradley University

June 13 - WWKIP train trip to St. Louis

July 3 - Holiday - College Closed

July 4 - Independence Day

July 10 - Mom's Birthday

July 10-15 - ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

July 17-19 - Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL

July 31 - 10th Anniversary

Sept. 7 - Labor Day, College closed

Oct. 6-9 - Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Peoria

Nov. 23 - Brother's birthday

Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Day, College closed

Nov. 27 - College Closed

Dec. 7 - MIL's birthday

Dec. 18 - DH's birthday

Dec. 25 - Christmas Day

Dec. 26 - Dad's birthday

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