10/15/08 Long Beach, CA
I never ended up writing about my last day on retreat, and it’s far too late to do so now. But I will wrap up a few loose ends.
Stephanie and I did keep in touch. I went to visit her in West Virginia in July 2005. I went hiking on her 75 acres, pet her three dogs, and went motorcycle riding with her husband. She continues to be a wonderful friend to me.
I returned to Deer Park for a weekend retreat in July 2007. The “smiling monk” was there, asking, “Why do I recognize you?” He was just as friendly. Thay was not there, and only a handful of monastics were in residence. The lay population was under 10, so I got to know the life of the monastics much better. It was a completely different experience, but it was equally rewarding.
It was four and a half years before I would undertake another weeklong retreat. Before I left, I reread my journal. I realized just how judgmental I had been. Armed with this information about myself, I was able to keep a more open and clear mind during my 2008 experience at Sprit Rock.
My next retreat will (hopefully!) be at Tara Mandala, June-July 2009. Stay tuned… 🙂