Yesterday’s Retreat

Everything is quiet this morning, my mind is silent and I know that it is thanks to yesterday.
After a dose of early morning writing, I motored off to Manhattan in my Mini. Now that I have got used to it, I love driving it. I love driving around with Andrew’s name on the number plate, actually the number plate is Andrew’s name : ANDREW20 – twenty is his age.
Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning of yesterday’s post, I spent the day at a retreat led by one of Amma’s Swamis.
I arrived a few minutes late, the guided meditation had already started, I slipped quietly into a chair and closed my eyes.
Swamiji’s warm, Indian voice was like balm and I was able to soften and relax. Focusing my attention between my eyebrows, the location of the mystical third eye, I imagined Andrew’s smiling face. I found myself smiling back and crying. The pit of my stomach was throbbing with deep emotions, my favorite, I discovered, was sadness. I found myself most comfortable wet with tears, than with a smile on my face.
During a break, people I hadn’t seen for a while came up to me and I was thankful for what I knew was the gloomy look on my face. Imagine smiling, worse still, laughing with all the sorrow that filled my heart.
The fear of smiling comes with the fear of further loss, as though smiling equals letting go of the sorrow which would be like letting go of Andrew.
But as the day wore on, with more meditation, chanting, singing, and been surrounded by my spiritual family; the stubborness that held the sorrowful look on my face softened it’s grip, and although I cried, I also smiled and laughed.
Being around Amma, I have met many wonderful, interesting, gifted people. And I was happy to see that Doctor Weng who lives in San Diego, was there yesterday. She is a longtime devotee of Amma, and the most gifted acupuncturist I’ve ever met.
Originally born and trained in China, Dr. Weng has great healing abilities. Her knowledge of acupuncture, together with her formidable intuition, allow her to pinpoint the source and seat of buried emotional traumas, as well as physical problems – which inevitably come as a result of emotional unwell – by feeling your pulse.
Just sitting next to her, I found comfort. She reminded me of the importance of letting the departed continue on in their journey unencumbered by our grief:
“It pulls them back,” she said in her heavy Chinese accent.
“What can I do? ” I asked her. “I can’t help it, it hurts, I miss him, I can’t accept that he’s gone.”
“He’s not gone; you know that,” she said, looking me straight in the eyes while pressing her bony fingers on my wrist. “He’s okay, he is saying not to worry about him. When you feel pain, sadness, tell yourself that it does not help your son. Keep telling yourself that, it will help you.”
“And what about the rest of my family,” I said. “They are suffering too.”
“But if you are well, if you are strong, they will be well too. Do you have a picture of your son?” She suddenly asked.
“Yes!” I said jumping up to go and get my purse.
“This is Andrew,” I said handing her the precious picture.
She took it and held it for a long time, looking at it intently, running her fingers over it.
“He is a very special soul,” she said. “He was a Shao Lin Monk in a previous life, look at his eyes.”
Somehow her words rung true. Looking at his pictures, I’d often felt that Andrew’s was an advanced soul. When he was born, people in the family often said that his eyes looked mature and wise.
“Andrew spoke Chinese,” I told Dr. Weng. “He chose East Asian Studies and Mandarin as his major. From the beginning he did well in Chinese.”
“I know,” she said.
“In fact,” I continued. “He signed his name in both English and Chinese. And, he was a formidable fencer.”
She chuckled at that. We hugged each other then I left her in peace.

My mood shifted and with my spirits lifted, I found myself more connected to my son now than when I went around feeling and looking like the picture of the sorrowful mother.
When I went to bed last night, I felt a lightness that I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
My mind is still quiet and peaceful this morning. I smile at Andrew’s pictures and I see and feel him smiling back at me.

Please let it last!

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4 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Retreat

  1. Esmeralda…so beautiful and peaceful…thank you for sharing…may you remember that special place and go there everyday…

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