Well, my dears. Off today on a 10-day silent, vegetarian, Buddhist retreat about a 30-minute drive north of my home.
The idea was the sweetie’s, this year’s birthday present.
He’s been a devout Buddhist practicing Dzogchen since he spent six terrifying weeks in 1995 in Bosnia at Christmas, shooting photos for The New York Times.
His mini-altar in the hallway has a small Buddha wrapped in a prayer scarf. A laminated card tucked on the driver side of our ancient Subaru is that of Padmasambhava.
When we started dating, in March 2000, the difference in our faiths — I attend an Episcopal church, albeit not every week — seemed like a potential stumbling block as he is so much more devout. But it’s not a competition.
And he’s always been really supportive of me, attending my church for more than a decade.
He and I even went to see “Mamma Mia” together a few years ago. Namaste on Broadway!
The retreat offers three teachings a day, the only time we’ll be allowed to speak. The food will be vegetarian. There will be no cocktail hour, or wine at dinner, both something we usually enjoy daily at home.
Steak? TV? Three daily newspapers? No, no, no. Ah, the things I cling to.
We’re taking my softball glove and ball, and my bike. I’m taking my camera and watercolors, and plan to write a speech due August 10 in Minneapolis.
I’ll sit in the teachings and meditations and chanting as much as feels comfortable. He and I will share a room, and plan to write notes back and forth. It will be very odd — and difficult — not to talk to him. We typically talk several hours a day and I really enjoy it.
So it’s already a powerful meditation on the loss of that comfort. We may whisper to one another in our room. We’ll see.
I’ve been the butt of jokes for weeks now. “Buddhist,vegetarian, silent — I can’t think of three words less likely to describe you,” said one friend.
If I can get access to the Internet, as yet unknown, I’ll blog during that week. If I can’t, hang tight! I’ll be back here on my regular schedule, posting every other day, starting again on July 31.
Wish me luck!