Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Retreat and Renewal

Now I’ll close the book on 2010 – and at some point will reopen it to chronicle my Vietnam trip and Amtrak Across America! I’ll be starting another blog in the meantime. In the Philippines I just couldn’t write about being there and also my travels in the off-season. Will I be able to in Armenia?

A big highlight of December, though it doesn’t fall into the adventure or travel category, was the introduction of Everywhere Exercise, the smartphone app that my sister created and directed. I’ve been doing the marketing and social media for it and I am really proud of her and of it! I’ll direct you to and move on to other doings. Another highlight was a concert given by my brother-in-law, who rented a club in New York for it. I met friends for banh mi beforehand – not nearly as good as the one in San Francisco – and other friends came too, plus his siblings, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. He was great! Good old rock and roll.

I saw other friends for lunch, dinner and coffee in New York, and saw the Rockefeller Center tree and skated in Central Park. Hosted Steve, Elisa and family in Southampton for a couple of days of games, walks and more – it was nice to host them in style after all the times they have hosted me! A highlight was the building of a snowman on the beach, and also the sunset over the water. I hadn’t been out to the beach since it got cold – but since their visit I’ve been bundling up and going out. It’s so peaceful out there.

I went up to Kripalu, in Lenox, MA, for a weekend of retreat and renewal. There were catalogs for it at the restorative yoga class I took in November; I almost didn’t take one but then decided why not. And then I decided it might be a nice place to go for Christmas weekend. The retreat and renewal package means that you can take any optional classes that you want to; they also have weekend and week-long programs. The food is delicious and there’s a spa, a meditation room and many other spaces. I think my favorite part of the weekend was the guided hike I did each morning – maybe I should have just done a hiking weekend in the Berkshires! Though the hikes did have mindfulness and meditation that I might not have gotten otherwise. I did participate in several yoga classes and one on hooping. The ironic thing is that I had decided to come based on the restorative yoga workshop, and there was no restorative yoga that weekend!

I went to a couple of meditation classes and gained some new tools, and learned about lovingkindness meditation (just did a search, and seems to describe it well), which I have embraced. I did some other classes and treated myself to things from the gift shop. If this sounds like a lot for two days it’s because I was snowed in and stayed two extra nights! The snow kept some people from arriving; the weekend was relatively quiet with only 300 people, but on Sunday it got much more crowded – fortunately, they were able to make room for me. The blizzard blizzed Sunday afternoon and all day Monday. There are only two buses per day; even though I could have stayed for lunch, yoga and workshops on Tuesday, I decided to take the first bus out. And I’m glad I did – I got one of the last few seats! People at later bus stops were told to wait for the next bus, six hours later – and there’s no saying they would have gotten a seat for that one! I didn’t leave Kripalu thinking that it was transformative, but in retrospect, it may turn out to have been! And while I am not set on doing it again, I am inclined to go there or elsewhere for more.

2010 ended and 2011 began with the Midnight Run in Central Park. I had heard about this for years and thought it would be fun to go one day, but I hadn’t planned to go. I was just in town to babysit! My sister was jet-lagged, though; they came home early and had walked through the park, where they saw people gathering for it. She told me to do it; at 43 degrees, this was the year for it (as it was the year for the Polar Bear Plunge, but that I didn’t do). So I speed-walked up to the New York Road Runners building and registered. My sister and I wear the same size sneakers, so she had shoes for me, and she lent me other clothes to wear. What fun it was! Fireworks at midnight and maybe 10,000 people (?) running four miles on the roads, with cheering bystanders at park entrances and a “champagne” sparkling apple cider water stop. I hadn’t run since the Flying Point 8K, so I took it slow and ran the whole way! Great way to start the year. Now that I would definitely do again!

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