Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Retreat. And a Year.

I just got back from a Quaker Retreat for kids grade 2-grade 6.  Its the fourth or fifth of these in which i have been a 'staffer', which essentially means that I play with kids all weekend and make them feel safe at night when we all scatter over the property and fall to the ground with weary.
* I am SO good at making kids feel safe, its like a superpower.  I am good at it with grown ups too, especially now that I feel so much safer in my own home life.

Everyone should get to feel safe where they are. Everyone.
Its amazing what a little safety can do. Its a great place to leap off...

But anyhow, and also.  I was at this same retreat center a full year ago, on my first retreat as staffer.  I had gotten my almost ex-husband out of the house four months prior, and just heard that he was in love, deeply. He is a fast mover, yes. He is still with that person, too, and I could have a lot to say about that, but won't. But am glad that was not something I went ahead and did, so lets just leave it at that.

I was such a goddamned hot mess.  Met a lovely man (a happily-in-relationship one, turns out) which freaked me out and I spent a lot of the first weekend avoiding eye contact and thinking obsessively.  And now, we are friends and it doesn't freak me out, and I'm so glad to meet happy and complicated people.
* One of the things I did not have a year ago was my own dear friends, and now I do.  J was not a good friend to me. There were so many reasons for that, but I made it a slow jam priority for the year, to find new connections and I feel really accomplished in the gathering of a people who are delighted by me and in whom I find some real comradery.

I cried a lot that first retreat and journaled a lot and worried a lot that maybe I shouldn't be with kids.  I must I was a real and thorough mess, and I just barely made it through. I called my missing child every night and wept.

 And this time? I laughed and played and made kids and grown ups feel safe. And loved and held and cherished. My phone battery died.  I did try to charge it but the car charger wasn't working.  It was good that I didn't know. The babe was sick at the babysitters and there was nothing I could have done about making it right from there.  SO instead I made s'mores and sang lullabys by a campfire with 28 children.  There were two boys there who had never roasted a marshmallow.  Boy, the learning curve is steep.  The fire claimed tears and marshmallows aplenty. And some of the tears were mine. And I was so content to let them go.

The retreat center is in the middle of Massachusetts and has cabins and woodstoves and log piles that stretch for miles, and so many of them.  The land is curated into beautiful and more beautiful and it is impossible not to feel cherished by the universe when you are in a place of meditation amidst kickball.  And while 'cherished' may slip over into hokey, it is the language of these retreats, and also happens to be true.

Its a really wonderful community of adults, who work at these things. Sometimes with kids in attendance, sometimes with grandchildren, and sometimes because they live for this kind of work.

AH. So, and then.  I woke up early and angry the last two days because of bad dreams wherein I was prodded painfully by J's girlfriend. They were fights that I began.  And 'physically prodded' is literally descriptive as it involved knuckles and elbows.  Very peculiar though she is particularly lanky and angular.  It is an interesting back and forth to consider, especially in the dream world.  That I would be so happy and amazed at how far I have come in a year, and have my brain and subconscious throw me a bitter bone in the midst. A reminder that I am certainly not done.  I do feel like flat-out anger might be my next dipping pool.  We'll see.  I've already spent a lot of time being angry, and so much of it during the marriage... we'll see what it looks like with so much time passage.

Just a fair warning: look out.
:) and there will be much more to be said about this...