Electric Car Excursion to a Retreat

For about fifty years, I have been attending weekend retreats and workshops, one every year or two. Until Covid, that is. Sometimes I make my selection based on a skill I wanted to develop or lessons to be learned, sometimes based on exploration or simply self indulgence. Always the location, its food, and its philosophy influence my decision. Among my favorite destinations are Woolman Hill, a Quaker facility and Kripalu, both in western Massachusetts, and Omega, in upstate New York. Kripalu and Omega are quite well known, large, and well-regarded. Woolman Hill is smaller and a treasure. Among the topic focuses that have attracted me have been activism, writing, mysticism, music, meditation, and self-development. During my working years, many workshops focused on developing management skills. I’ve never returned home disappointed, always feeling expanded and enriched. Also, I often led workshops, helping to expand participants’ knowledge, understanding, and skills.

Last weekend, I attended another retreat at Kripalu, ‘Awakening the Wild Woman’s Soul.’ Some, including my husband, would argue that my soul was sufficiently wild and awake already.

I left home Friday morning in high spirits in my electric car, my beloved Mini Cooper, knowing I would need to recharge twice along the way. On these trips, there’s always a bit of anxiety, wondering whether the charging stations will be working and available. The first stop was uneventful, thank goodness! The next stop was a single charger at a Dunkin, inviting me to indulge in a donut, a guilty pleasure, sure, but allowed under these circumstances. I hooked up my car. Once, twice, three times, it appeared to connect, then stopped. I called the charging company. A friendly voice answered quickly, then asked me to hold while she checked the location. Hmmmmmm. Not working. However, the friendly voice asked me to wait another minute while she located another nearby charger. Success! She gave me the address of another one, six miles away, that she assured me was working.

I didn’t get a donut, got back in my car, drove to the other location, and quickly recharged. Well, thirty minutes worth of electricity, about twelve dollars, then continued on to Kripalu, with two chargers available to clients. When I arrived, they were both in use and I pulled into a nearby parking space, considering whether to leave a note on one of the cars with my contact information.

Wait! One of the drivers returned to his car, unplugged it, and drove away. I pulled in, tried to connect the plug, without success. The mechanism was different than usual and I couldn’t figure it out. The other driver hadn’t left, but came over to me and helped me hook up. What a relief!

The drive had felt long and uninspiring. Arrival and the aid of this man completely changed my attitude. I checked in, had a delicious, nutritious dinner, then walked up to my meeting room on the second floor. Sixty-five of us were seated in a large circle, Renee, our leader, among us, with a headset and a microphone.

If I describe the activities in which she engaged us — singing, dancing, coloring, meditation, foot and back massages, small group discussions — none of it sounds very special. What made it special was Renee. Renee is exceptional, a fully present, beautiful woman, who invited my own energy to soar and fill to overflowing. She invited me to see, recognize, and release my best self. She occasionally asked questions and asked us to write our responses, later giving us cues to circle a particular phrase. Also, we sometimes separated into groups of three or four for discussion. Somehow, she made it easy for me to pluck out of myself what I really want to do and my next steps to accomplish that. In a random pairing, I left with one other person agreeing to be mutual allies with me. We will connect, perhaps weekly, for mutual support in our individual promises to ourselves.

I’ve told several friends about this retreat, raving about it, encouraging others to take it. I cannot imagine anyone I know who would be disappointed, perhaps because Renee was so reinforcing to everyone. My group including women from their twenties to their eighties. Age didn’t matter. We were all nourished! In this photo, I’m seated in the center, behind the woman in the pale blue shirt.

Published by cyrein

Quaker, adventurer, wife, mom, sister, friend, special ed teacher, learner

3 thoughts on “Electric Car Excursion to a Retreat

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