It was exhausting, too, but not too bad! There was a lot of stillness and a lot of activity. Much planning goes into such a thing. Karunadevi, Padmatara and Danamaya appeared at some point for a few days to help, each in different ways. It was lovely to have them there. Then the private ordination, a deeply moving, beautiful experience.
During the two weeks on retreat, there were some useful reflections on my life and death. I became aware of the degree to which I am living as if I don't have a future, having no plans after April, certainly none for next year. Sometimes this is sad for me, sometimes it's neutral. Sometimes it's kind of liberating, like there is space in my mind freed up that used to be packed out with ideas about the future.
|Vernal lake near the retreat in Lake County|
Turns out chanting makes me cough (more). I did plenty of coughing on the retreat, much more when I was tired. Something else I managed to stop speculating about was whether the cough is caused by cancer. A few weeks ago Dr. Nelson said it wasn't, but I've coughed a great deal since then. Again, kept landing on "I don't know" which felt so much freer than always having to have some kind of answer.
The retreat was, among many other important things, another cancer holiday, during which, relatively speaking, I hardly thought about cancer and doctors and choices and chemo at all, which is very restful for my mind.