I don’t even know where to begin…

So this is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do, that I promised myself I would do when I had the time. Somehow, I simply never had the time. So I’ve decided to just do it. To start a blog. Not that this is bad timing anyway, seeing as I’ve just gotten back on campus for winter study and I now have a month of winter study to keep me as unoccupied as possible. No excuses this time Maggie. I’ll be honest, the reason it took me so long to get started was because one of those things that I struggle with along with many other people is a need for perfection. A need to have the perfect blog, with perfect posts, and loads of likes (or however things work on here). I even panicked over which website to use to write this. But here I am, streamlining my thoughts, and I’ll admit its pretty fun. And I’m starting not to care about the other things so much.

Which brings me to the other reason I finally got the courage to start writing. I recently went on a five-day retreat at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA where we essentially put our life on hold (technology, reading, writing, talking) and attempted to discover a little bit of ourselves by following a simple 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM schedule alternating 45 minute intervals of sitting meditations, walking meditations, and small meals. I’ll be honest, by day 3 I was going a little crazy. I knew that with each meditation I was improving my concentration and starting to realize a little bit more about myself, but I wanted to be perfect and I wanted it to happen right away. The instructors tried to emphasize that we be kind to ourselves, but it was something that I had some serious trouble doing. On day 3, we had a group interview with one of our teachers, Pat Coffey (one of the only times we were allowed to break the silence) and one of the yogis in our group brought up that as he was meditation last night, he realized that every meditation didn’t have to bring enlightenment as long it brings even the slightest improvement to oneself, which it no doubt did. This is one among the many points I’ve learned at IMS, to be give yourself  a little bit of lovingkindness (metta) and to take moments throughout the day to be just a little more self-aware.

Through my writings, I hope to document any discoveries I find or that I am exploring. I’m not expecting to achieve enlightenment in any way, but I’m hoping to find a way to live my life as best I can.

If you actually got through this long-winded ramble, thank you for lending an ear.

If anyone has any interest in going on a retreat (i recommend not starting with five days as you might get a little crazy as I did), IMS is probably the most respected retreat center in the US and people literally fly in from all corners of the country to attend so the spots go pretty quickly. The cost is also pretty steep, but for people aged 18-26, there is an option to choose your own cost for certain marked retreats. The young adult retreat in the summer comes highly recommended to me. Here is the 2014 schedule: http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule Please contact me if you have any questions.



4 thoughts on “I don’t even know where to begin…

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences at the meditation retreat, Maggie! It is very interesting to read your perspective and it inspires me to practice more as well! Also, I imagine that yogi received that inspiration for your benefit as well. I think the Universe works that way. I’m glad to see it supported you.

    And I believe your comment about “not expecting to achieve enlightenment” is a healthy way to approach a spiritual path. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from my favorite book:

    “Do you have the patience to wait
    till your mud settles and the water is clear?
    Can you remain unmoving
    till the right action arises by itself?

    The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
    Not seeking, not expecting,
    she is present, and can welcome all things.”
    – Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell translation)

    If you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it! Many blessings on your journey! Metta.

  2. Hi, Maggie! Just wanted to drop by and say hi. This retreat sounds interesting. I must admit I’ve never been to one. I’m not sure I could sit still…yet, maybe that is why I should go? Ha – I hope things are going well. Remember to treat yourself every day, even if it’s something small. Cheers, D

    • Hi airportsmadesimple! Thank you so much for your incredibly kind comments. Although I must admit the retreat was not easy, I have also gained rewards in my life far greater than I imagined. Perhaps my mistake was starting off with a five day retreat (two would have been more like it). In any case, just remembering to love yourself and taking moments throughout the day to be mindful has helped a boatload. Best wishes!

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