Reflections Post-Art Monastery Silent Meditation Retreat

First of all, here’s what I know now: If you lose your favorite meditation pillows in a house fire, you can, indeed and instead, bring a gay cowboy pillow acquired in a white elephant exchange to an Art Monastery’s silent meditation retreat.


Second, I wrote something between an essay and a poem while there. Here ’tis:

I miss it
The god’s honest truth — I miss the days right after the fire
The enlightenment of spontaneous non-attachment
Albeit unexpected spontaneous non-attachment
I miss having every bone and cell and sinew in my body focused on the present
“Nothing is more important than this moment” …

I would have thought to myself if I’d had the time
If I’d only had a pair of shoes
Besides the singed tennis shoes I’d recovered from under a fallen piece of asbestos-covered roof

Days went by
I found peace at the San Francisco fire department
I found it with the forensic investigator from Sacramento with 10 children
I found it when I let go of my meditation pillows
The ones my great-aunt had hand-embroidered 50 years prior

Eventually, life as I knew it came back
I went to work
I remembered what music was
I said good-bye again, to the same great-aunt

One of the funny things about privilege
Is we don’t know just how much we have it unless it gets taken away
What a gift it is to not only be able to sing or play music
But, simply, to listen to it
To have the time to appreciate stillness
To escape death for one more day

I can think of no higher form of joy
No greater expression of privilege than to possess the gift
To be able to create


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