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The retreat

In the chaos of heartbreak and the whirlwind that is life, I found myself in the middle of rolling hills in the Coromandel, pitching my tent next to the stupa of a Buddhist center. A week long silent meditation retreat was going to solve all my riddles and provide me with answers to my questions. Right? I was going to meditate hard on our relationship, my time in New Zealand, where to go from here. The only thing I forgot was the ‘introduction to Buddhism’ part of the meditation course.

So no focusing on relationship bliss and issues, but trying to put all thoughts to the side to achieve a mind cleared of distractions. Which wasn’t easy, but I was on a roll. So I rolled all through the week, meditating and learning about how to become enlightened. Tight schedules from 7 am to 8 pm left me little time to contemplate the rollercoaster I was riding before the retreat. My mind was too busy being blown by all the teachings of the Buddha.

This immersion was exactly what I needed to center myself. I floated out of there feeling like the ultimate zen master. That lasted for about two days. Then emotions started catching up on me and my mind didn’t want to shut up. Meditating was hard without an amazing Buddhist nun teacher guiding me through the chaos and before I knew it, old negative thought patterns showed up, with moving boxes and all, ready to stay for a while. I read my notes, repeated mantras, went for an ocean dip every time I felt stuck, bathed in the sun until my cheeks turned red. Longing to get through this by myself, be strong, make impulsive decisions, don’t linger, take action.

And then I fell into a warm nest of friends and slowly felt like coming home. Realising I don’t have to do this by myself. Teachers are everywhere. My friends are my gurus. Wise words and sound advice all pointing me in the same direction. To become really really still and ask myself: how does my heart feel? What feels right? And the answer just showed up, as if it had been there all along, hiding in a corner, waiting for its turn.

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