Posted by: cg00n | March 4, 2010


Tomorrow I will be starting a 1-week meditation retreat.  Silly though it sounds I am feeling a bit nervous.  I mean, it’s meditation not bungee jumping!  What can go wrong?  Why would I be concerned about some kind of failure?  I don’t know but this is something I’ve never tried before.  What I am feeling is more a sort of stage fright than real anxiety but many of the physical symptoms are very similar.  My gut is a bit jumpy, I can feel the tension in my shoulders and my over-active imagination is throwing a whole lot of what ifs at me.  A touch more clonazepam in my diet has been necessary to get decent sleep but I have also managed to apply mindfulness techniques in ways that (I think) have helped to prevent me sliding into full-blown anxiety attacks.  A few days ago I told Dr. C that I feel a lot more confident of my ability to cope with my state of mind now, a feeling that produces some positive feedback and gives me hope for the future.  I’m hoping that a concentrated dose of this stuff will give me an added boost.

Next week will be pretty weird.  I’ll be living dorm-style, getting up at 7am (OMG!) and eating my meals oryoki style while attempting to chant some kind of Tibetan Buddhist liturgy.   The bulk of my time will be spent sitting and meditating or walking and meditating (which is similar but slightly higher up).  According to a friend who has been through some of this I will probably be rather hyper-sensitive to the real world at the end of the week.  Fortunately my first act after leaving the retreat centre will be to hop on a train to Toronto and spend the next 24 hours or so in transit.  Theoretically P and A will already be on said train and we can then spend the next week visiting friends and relatives and generally goofing off.

I’d better get packing.


  1. You’ve never meditated and you are going to a week long retreat?
    talk about your jumping in with both feet
    hope you have a nice meditation cushion
    my wife teached MBSR and one of the funny ironies is how stressful reducing stress can be.

    • I’m not sure where you got the impression that I’ve never meditated before. True, it has only been for about a year-and-a-half but during that time I have generally managed between .5 and 2 hours per day regularly. My original exposure to meditation was in a mindfulness workshop at a local hospital and since then I’ve taken an on-line course (with telephone support) and spent some time with a long-time Shambhala meditation instructor. I had some idea what I was getting into for the week!

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Sounds like quite the opportunity! Away from the hustle and bustle of modern life…aaaah! I hope you find serenity there.

    p.s. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. 🙂

  3. Hard for me to imagine but you’ll do fine. I can imagine that the world will seem to be going very fast after a week of meditation.

  4. Good luck with the retreat, I hope you find peace and healing within. I am a cancer survivor and I work for ChiliTechnology. The ChiliPad is a great invention for people who have medical conditions that make them too hot to sleep – it’s a cooling mattress pad. You can set any temp. you want down to 46 degrees. It also heats up to 118 – if you need that. Unlike the electric blanket it keeps the electromagnetic field far away from the body – so doesn’t increase your risk of cancer or get in the way of healing. It really helped me during chemo when I was getting sweats and chills. Hope this helps someone!

  5. How was it? Sounds pretty heavenly to me, getting away for a week of peace & quiet… no phones, no laundry. Where do I sign up??

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