...given to sudden behavior change, fanciful, irrepressible, spirited, whimsical and by all means, unpredictable. What will today bring?
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Travel to Thailand wasn't the only thing I planned during the retreat. Seemed as if there was a new subject every day. But, for the last 4-5 days (when not planning Thailand) there was the subject of how to escape from the place at the earliest possible opportunity. And I mean escape, because for the first time ever at a retreat I felt as if I were in a prison camp, unable to leave at will.
I'd foolishly given them my cell phone to hold -- could have left it in the car, but didn't know that until I'd already parked the car at a distance. That was the big mistake. I tried to leave on Monday, which would have been day 5, but the teacher talked me out of it and of course, I couldn't escape on my own because of the captive cell phone.
Thus the escape plans. I wanted out, but didn't want to make another fuss. Cell phones wouldn't be available until 6:30am on Sunday morning, attendance at the morning event in the meditation hall was mandatory, and I needed to clean my room and some of the shared portions of the rest of the unit we were in. That was my dilemma -- how to escape at 6:30 and still get the place clean. Fortunately, late on Friday I decided I could do the cleaning on Saturday and talks with my roommate on Saturday morning showed that she was willing, also wanted to leave early. So, that's what we did, although she did her portion after I left, as her version of early was not the same as mine.
Still -- I wanted to leave at 6:30, not spend the necessary time getting my stuff to my car, or bringing my car to the residence to load it up. I wanted out. So I hatched another plan. Wake up was at 4am, the morning session was at 4:45. I would walk my things out the road to my car, in the dark. It didn't seem as if it could be far, although I couldn't see around the curve. I was awake before the wake-up bell Sunday morning, and it didn't take long to dress, roll up my sleeping bag and pack the remaining few items into a bag. It was still around 4:15. Plenty of time.
So -- armed with my big (34"x29"x6") meditation cushion, one duffle bag slung over a shoulder, and the rolled-up sleeping bag, I crept silently away down the road, past the 'course limit' signs into unknown territory. Didn't take long before the woods closed in and became pitch black and the only way I could tell I was still on the road was the hard gravel surface beneath my feet, rather than grassy spots I'd occasionally wander into. I did have a random thought about my flashlight at that point, but realized it was in the duffle that I'd left behind. The cushion is awkward to carry, the sleeping bag not much less so. But I kept going because by then, I was committed. The road seemed awfully long -- much further than where I knew my car was parked. Finally, after a rather long time, I came to an intersection and a sign, which I recognized as being fairly early on the property, way before the parking area. So I hung a left on the main road and doubled back.
By then, the sleeping bag had managed to slip one of its elastic bands and was slowly becoming unrolled. Well, at least it wasn't raining. Just misty. After another long period (not as long as it seemed, I'm sure), I reached my car and got the goods stowed. By then, I had about 5 minutes to get to the meditation hall on time, so rather than retrace my steps I opted to continue on down the road to the center, which was not a very long walk. But, it meant that I'd have to cross the forbidden men's area. What could they do, throw me out? So I walked along in the dark and then wham, I felt something against my body and heard a noise. I'd walked smack dab into a sawhorse that was blocking the road off from the center itself, and knocked it over. Totally invisible in the darkness. Tried to put it back in place, but one of the legs had been dislodged so I quietly laid it back down on the ground. Couldn't have been very sturdy in the first place, she says.
Straight ahead lay the men's walking area. With my hood up and trying to be invisible, I walked quickly across but not without being seen by at least two men. One looked at me curiously -- a spectre walking out of the darkness -- but I escaped back into the women's area safely. Just in time to walk down to the residence, grab the rest of my stuff and carry it up to the meditation hall so it would be ready for escape once I was free. I felt a little guilty -- especially about the sawhorse -- but not terribly.
At 6:30, cell phone in hand, I grabbed the other duffle and walked out, a free woman. Still walking in the dark, but by then a few lights had been turned on so at least I could see where I was going. You can see why I say it seems unlikely that I'll return for another try. Third time is supposed to be a charm, and it was more of a hex!
The place does a lot of good for a lot of people, as it did for me my first visit. But this was the first time I'd ever tried to leave early and the whole prison-camp feel didn't sit well with me. Trundling on down the highway I managed to get home by 10:30, rather than the 10am goal, only to find that the football game I wanted to watch wasn't being aired! So -- all for nothing, but at least I got a headstart towards hot coffee and a fast-food breakfast, which was strangely appealing to my normally nutrition-minded body.
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I'm a woman with many interests, an eclectic background and a wandering nature. Photography and writing are great interests, as are nature and making the most of life. My blogs are simply extensions of my life and interests. I hope you enjoy.