by Carol D., Copper Beech Institute Guest
We were at Kim’s house for book club, our first meeting since a few of us went on a mindfulness retreat at Copper Beech Institute. “So, tell us, how was it?” Anne asked.
“Life changing,” I said and smiled as I thought back on the weekend. “Everyone’s life changed, not just mine.”
I found myself wanting to share more, so I continued. “Everyone there was so real: the other guests, the Copper Beech staff, Cheryl Jones, our facilitator.
“You know, I went there thinking that mindfulness was about having a clear mind and yet mine was filled with thoughts. Cheryl taught me having a busy mind is okay. What some call ‘headspace’ is my goal. To get there, I want to meditate daily, but for now I’m aiming for three times a week. Meditating is not easy, but it’s so worth it. I’m already finding so much more space in my day.
“I used to rush through tasks, always wanting to get on to the next thing. Now, I’m trying to live more in the moment. When I worked in the restaurant industry the pace was crushing. It was all about getting food on the plate. Now I enjoy the process in making a nice dinner for my family. When I’m folding laundry, I’m just folding laundry. Maybe for the first time, I feel like I’m here in the present.
“We created vision boards with Cheryl, as part of our New Year, New You retreat to help us visualize where we are going. I keep mine in my closet so I can look at it and stay on track. We practiced different kinds of mindfulness exercises and at the close of the weekend, Cheryl taught us walking meditation. She asked us to see what would come, to see what we wanted most, to let it surface from within.
“All along, even before going on retreat, I thought there was just one thing in this world that I wanted. But during the walking meditation another realization emerged so clearly. It’s not at all what I expected, but how true it is – and to think I had the answer inside me all along.
“After we were wrapping up the retreat I shared my experience with one of the Copper Beech volunteers. We talked about my vision for what I want in my life and how I could help make it a reality.
"Send out your love and light every day," the volunteer said.
“So I do. In front of the vision board in my closet I have two candles, which I light every day. I stand over the candles and I send out my love and my light.”