My room has a gold framed photo of the Wish Fulfilling Healing Buddha sitting above the desk. I smile up at it, extending arthritic fingers. “Okay, here you go Buddy, give it your best shot.”
I booked three days at The Land of Medicine Buddha Retreat Center in Soquel California. The LMB, as it’s called is an oasis of conscious people, organic food – lovingly prepared, Tibetan teachers and kind actions. It is also a hospice care facility and day school for children.
Yesterday was a day for self-indulgence, an attempt to repay my body for the herculean effort I demanded while moving, lifting, packing, not sleeping, having primal scream anxiety about pulling up Portland roots, seeing too many clients and driving twelve hours from Hillsboro to Santa Cruz. My body forgives me now, but it took a two hour massage, acupuncture treatment, thirty laps in the pool, a sunbath, meditation and a relaxation tape. That’s how much I owed!
I will stay in Los Angeles with my son this week-end, then go to San Diego where I’ll have a room in a house of musicians, with no idea where I will find a home of my own. I only know that I could not find the place I wanted sitting in a little house in the forest in Oregon, so off I went, like the fool card in the tarot, carrying few belongings and lots of trust and faith.
Feelings of liberation washed over me as I drove away from Oregon – a sense of celebration, like a prisoner released after a forty year sentence. Vast open landscape, mountains, and a horizon full of possibility brought elation, as music by The Supremes danced in my ears. I found myself smiling as feelings of deliverance burst through my senses. Sun-warmed shoulders through an open roof anchored my gratitude.
So why did I stay so long? I was paralyzed by love. Love of friends, home, clients and my daughter, but most of all by Isabella, my heart. Her entrance into my world twelve short years ago froze my attention, making me determined to be fully present for each breath of her young life. But now I’ve left. I’ve done it and it’s not because I love them any less, it’s that my body and spirit were rapidly crumbling in an environment I had outgrown long ago.
These thoughts sit gently on my mind as I look into a redwood forest, a sanctuary that grows green and lush outside my window. The grounds have meandering paths, prayer wheels, bamboo chimes, a wish fulfilling temple and open meadows, but there is a warning to beware of mountain lions. If you see one, the pamphlet in the guest house reads, pull your jacket up over your head and try to look bigger than you are. Then they won’t hurt you.
That won’t be hard for me now, because I feel lots bigger and more myself than I’ve ever been.