Sunday, April 20, 2014

Things I Learned In A Hammock

I just got back from leading a retreat at Ojo Caliente in New Mexico last weekend. If you missed it, I'm sorry. It was pretty awesome.

The first time I went to Ojo Caliente was my 30th birthday. My husband was nearing the end of nursing school, and I was in the middle of the longest, worst string of illnesses of my life. I won't recount the full list of horrors for you, but one highlight was on a flight from Chicago to Colorado Springs, where I turned to my intern and said, "Excuse me, do you have any air sick bags? I appear to have used all of those provided for my row."

(This is not how you convince someone that they should follow your career footsteps).

My brilliant husband decided I could use some respite and some healing waters, and promptly booked us two nights at the hotel near these "legendary waters." By some fluke of luck, the hotel renovation was behind schedule and we were double upgraded to an exquisite room with heated floors and a hammock out back.

Between our ritual sleep - soak - eat - repeat, I spent some time hanging (and possibly snoozing) in the hammock. This wasn't relaxation. I was cocooning. Falling apart. Disintegrating into a very womb-like cradle.

I don't remember thinking much during that time, just drifting between states of consciousness and conceptualizing much the way I'm sure I did prior to learning language this time around. These are the things that came to me in that primordial afternoon:
1. If I work this hard for someone else, why don't I work for myself?
2. I need a hammock.
3. I should lead retreats.
4. I should lead retreats here.

The rest of the story between that moment and now is basically that I have done all of these things (except purchase a hammock). I work harder for myself than I've ever worked for anyone else, and I can choose to do what I want to do, to react how I want to, and to ask for what I need. Let go of the life I thought was right to pursue something that didn't sound right, but felt right.

You can to.

Whenever I feel lost, I head back to the hammock.

Come with me sometime?