This entry is a brief summary of what I took from the summer retreat. Just because I was working, there is no reason why I cannot gain insight and learning. That’s one of the things which Karaj always instilled in us – every experience is a chance to learn. Such an outlook ensures continual improvement, whilst also helping to cultivate humility. Here’s what I took from those 2½ days:
- I need to include more stretches in my routine. Years ago my goal had been to build up strength, then maintain that and focus more on flexibility. I do quite a good job of that already, but I can do more, and the retreat was a reminder of that intention. It was also a practical example of what I can do because, whilst we may not have pushed ourselves to the limit, we did, quite literally, stretch ourselves.
- Especially the hip openers which Marcus showed us. Those brought immediate benefit for me, and although I have come across them before, since the retreat they have become a regular part of my routine.
- More focused exercise – use it as a meditation. Marcus began each routine with a reminder to focus on our breath and to listen to the noises around us. That is such a simple method of being able to cancel out the unnecessary thoughts and feelings we have, and focus solely on what we are doing right now.
- Practise being happier, lighter, more accepting, more forgiving, more positive, and more engaging. (These qualities describe Marcus, and the inspiration for this point comes from being around him.)
- (Even) better nutrition. Eva’s creations showed that healthy food can be both simple and delicious. My diet is already fairly good but her food was inspiring, and something to be repeated. Also, seek out more experiences like this because the repetition of such things has a positive, reinforcing effect.
- I’m very good at what I do, and I’m in my element in this environment. It was obvious to me from the start that this is where I belong. The whole experience was so familiar to me from my training. (See my next blog post for more information: ‘This Is What I Trained For’.)
I finish with two compliments which I would normally keep to myself, but which have a place in this entry because they moved me, and because they reinforce that final point. Also, when I read this entry in the future they will remind me of the retreat and of two beautiful people. The first is from Marcus on the final evening, after the attendees had left: ‘Thank you for making it so easy for me.’ The second is from his wife after we got back to their house the next day: ‘Thank you for taking Marcus on this journey; thank you for you; and thank you for being so good at what you do.’