Monday, April 18, 2005

Smartmom escaped Park Slope for the weekend and everyone seems to have survived in her absence. Hepcat was telling those who asked that she was off being a goddess, dancing in a barn

Not far from the truth. But not quite.

Suffice it say, it was a "mindful" weekend with plenty of rest, quiet, inspiration and the good company of a small group of interesting women. It was, to say the least, fortifying.

Smartmom can't pinpoint what she appreciated most about her retreat in the Berkshires. But boy did she liked those "silent breakfasts."

Smartmom slept in a room with rustic, antique furniture in the book-filled Race Brook Lodge, a 200 year old post and beam barn at the base of the Taconic Mountain range. She woke up with no one waking her, no sleeping child beside her, nothing to do for anyone else but her.

Each morning, Smartmom got to spend an hour or so simply getting ready for her day: showering, meditating, writing down my dreams, thoughtfully putting on her clothes, brushing her hair...

She found that in the quiet, she could easily remember her dreams, and spend time contemplating them. Sometimes it took 20 minutes or more, but details came back to her: little by little voices and images came to consciousness as she quietly began her day.

At 8 a.m., she went downstairs to the sunny breakfast room. Everyone in her group was quiet, sitting at tables reading, writing, eating and drinking coffee or tea alone. There was delicious food to choose from: fresh fruit salad, homemade muffins, bagels, eggs, cheeses, cereals, muesli, orange juice, cranberry juice, water, Stonybrook yogurt - you name it.

Smartmom selected her breakfast with great care, trying a little bit of many things and sat by her self, smiling, nodding hello to her fellow retreaters as they came into the room.

The silence was anything but awkward. It was required, which made it easy, so easy. It seemed completely natural and such a soothing way to begin.

At 9 a.m. the retreaters walked up to the barn, a huge open space with enormous windows framing the woodsy view, the brook outside. Overhead, there were huge white Japanese lanterns. No longer silent, some talked, some stretched, some read or wrote in their journals.

When it came time for the dance to begin, they got into a circle, put their right hand over left, held hands with those to either side and waitied for the music to begin.

And then, the group of ten women danced a simple Greek dance to the music of Nina Masouri - a soulful song with a heart wrenchingly beautiful melody.

Even this morning, back in Brooklyn, Smartmom can't get that song out of her head, or the simple steps out of her body. Nor would she want to.

Smartmom would love to try the silent breakfast approach around here. And a simple Greek dance before everyone goes out the door would be great way to begin their hectic days. But somehow, she doesn't think it's gonna work. Just don't think so...

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