I've been planning this retreat for months now, and it isn't quite shaping up in the way that I had thought it would. A series of truly unfortunate events have befallen some of my guests in the weeks leading up to this culmination of my hard work and lunacy, and so our mighty group has shrunken, a tad.
I have braced for failure. In fact, I've meandered all the way through the entire retreat, visualizing the perfect failure at each step. Failure one: terrible weather. Failure two: hungover retreatants. Failure three: verbal diarrhea (this is what my mother calls my inability to hold my tongue).
It was a sweet ol' pity party I had with myself, complete with sulking and a steady amount of dark chocolate (as it turns out, I'm a great hostess).
Now you know this isn't my first rodeo... I've failed in some extraordinarily creative ways in the past. So I started doing the "enlightened yoga teacher dance/grumble" which went something like this: "Where is the lesson?" "What is the lesson" "Can I please fast-track through the lesson I'm supposed to learn from this so that I don't royally suck tomorrow?"
(this does not work, in case you're keeping score at home).
So I went about packing as though I were Cassandra boarding the Titanic when the lesson hit me in the back of the head (at the same time as the cupboard door, in fact).
Seven months ago, in April, I was in conversation with the retreat center about booking the venues for this retreat. We were going back and forth, and right in the middle of a forth, I got some pretty scary news from my doctor. All of a sudden putting down a deposit on something months in the future felt impossible, because I stood on unsteady ground and couldn't see beyond my toe tips. At the time I remember thinking, "what if I'm stuck at home, undergoing chemo or recovering from surgery in six months? What if the future ends before November?"
And so, kittens, my revelation is simple: I have stepped beyond the edge of what I thought was possible, through dark waters, and tomorrow I head into a day that I am grateful to have. Whether or not the retreat looks as I expected it to or not, the fact that it exists at all is a sign. A gift. And if it is a failure, then it will be a perfect failure.
And I will hope for the opportunity to do it again.