Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Dreams

I went to my yoga retreat in Ojai last weekend, as I do twice a year.  After four years, I've observed that each retreat seems to take on a sweetness of its own, a shared thread that binds each of the participants to the others.  This one seemed to take on the shape of a tempest in a bottle, a little spark of lightning housed in its own vessel. By the time it was over, my feelings of sadness and bittersweet desire to go back in time were overwhelming. 

But I also recognized the glorious special-ness of retreating only once in every 6 months. If it were more often, we might take it for granted or remember each step of the process so well that we react to it like adolescents who recite every line of a favorite movie.  There are things that you cannot predict, no matter how many times you've done the same ritual. The alchemy changes, the mood shifts, the emotion hits you in ways you didn't expect, your age and experience brings you up the mountain with new eyes each time. 

And then it is over.

Prospero's monologue from "The Tempest":

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

(Thank you, Julian Walker.)