I am on retreat for almost two months now. If you have never done a retreat, it’s a time to go within. It’s a time for self-refinement. Evidently I have been in need of some refinement because the lessons began as soon as I arrived. You don’t need to know all the particulars. Just know that I had to dive deep within to let go of some old thought patterns, reactivity, past experiences and emotional stuck-ness. The process has mellowed out after an intense first month that had me scratching my blue head. Yes-my hair is turning blue not due to dyeing. But that is a story for another time.
If there is something our soul wants to bring to our attention, this will be done over and over again until the message has been received and addressed. We could call this therapy for the Little Me, which is one name for egoic attachments in thoughts and emotions. My soul really wanted me to pay attention to help me get over myself. Evidently the higher dimensional part of me said: “Bring it on!” And so it was and so it is.
I am volunteering. This means that my services are dedicated to projects around the retreat center that could include vacuuming a dust-laden basement, washing dishes, tidying up and watering plants among other things. Truthfully, I prefer some tasks to others. For instance, using a woefully inadequate to the task shop-vac to extract dust, bugs and other items from a darkened basement was not a happy circumstance. My initial reaction to the request was, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Really?” The vac had no extension pipe. It had no attachment to do the job. There’s a message in the latter statement that I am just getting = be unattached! There was an insistence that this job be started even though the proper tools were MIA. Grumpily I settled into the endeavor. My thinking sounded like this: “For God’s sake, why am I being asked to do this? Surely, it’s someone else’s job. I have other things to contribute. I must be being punished for something. Maybe it’s past life karma. Maybe I’m going through an initiation of some sort, a test of some kind.” I settled into resentment with gusto. And then… And then, I realized I had a choice. I could embrace the task or I could be a grumpy blue-haired woman. So, I started loving the vacuum cleaner. I started appreciating what it was capable of sucking up while I sucked up and transformed my resentment. I worked for an hour. The shift in mood was remarkable. I emerged from the dark basement = from the inner recesses of my egoic mind. I asked for proper equipment. I felt like something had begun that was accomplishing something. Going forward, though there is more basement cleaning to be done, gains have been made. On every level. I am grateful!
The experience took me back to Sai Baba’s Prashanthi Nilayam ashram. The year was 2006. Like myriad others, I performed seva in the kitchen. Seva is volunteer service to help a community. A particular event remains clear as can be. I stood alongside others who were drying dishes. My job was to dry the orange little juice glasses. For some reason this task irritated the heck out of me. Why couldn’t I dry soup bowls or plates? The more irritated I became the larger the pile of little cups grew in front of me. I looked at the pile with consternation. Everyone else’s pile of dishes was diminishing. But my pile, oh no, it grew and grew and grew. At some point the lightbulb went on in my busy Little Me mind. I shifted my attention to loving the drying of the little cups. As I appreciated the cups, the pile became less and less until all the little cups were dried and placed away properly. Lesson learned through Baba’s leela, which is divine play. The message: to pay attention to where I place my thoughts.
In both instances, once the lesson was caught, all I could do was laugh heartily. When you get to howling laughter, you know you're over it.
The above are teachings about self-regulation. What do I deem as worthy of my attention? How do I approach tasks, people, situations that present to me? Do I choose to generate love? Do I choose to send resentment out into the world? Do I understand that the lessons come winging on in via Spiritual FedEx with my soul as the certified driver? Do I comprehend that whatever presents is mine to master, no matter what it looks like?
You get the gist.
The New Moon phase offers the opportunity to empty patterns, thoughts, belief systems, and emotional residues that no longer are needed. My Wonderful Team is yelling vociferously, “GET OVER IT!” Whatever the “it” is, it’s time to do just that. You will love how much more content you will feel.
Submitted in the spirit of camaraderie and with great appreciation that we are sharing this interesting, sometimes bizarre human experience together!
© Crafted by Barbara J. Woolley, January 21, 2023