Forest Refuge

Sunday, February 12, 2012

shapeimage_2-6I drove up to Barre on Sunday, Feb. 5, and cried the whole way. The night before, Lenore and I did our French concert at Stonebridge and it was a disaster. Ok, it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I’m sure they enjoyed it, but when I warmed up before the concert, on my own with the new exercises, I could tell that things did not feel quite right. Not surprising, two lessons with a totally new approach, rehearsals right after being with my teacher, I had not yet learned how to internalize the new technique and use it in a performance situation. I got spooked, and worried, caught between the tried and true that had always worked before, but wasn’t really working any more, and the new, that I didn’t know how to use quite yet. My voice was cracking every time I went from high to low, in the dry acoustic I felt like I wasn’t making any sound, and there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. Ok, be more expressive, focus on the text and the dramatic presentation. Yes, I know how to just keep going and not show that I am in distress, but Lenore could tell, and of course Michael could tell, which made me feel worse. I was charming with my parents and all their friends, but when we got home, I fell apart. Mad, frustrated, scared, would I have to stop singing, would my voice ever be the same?
The stories swirled all the way to central MA, but once I arrived at FR, I breathed a deep sigh of relief to be in the quiet, safe sanctuary of the retreat center. It sort of felt like running away, but my teacher Susan O’Brien told me to just let whatever bubbled up come and go, and not try to figure out what to do, or what would come next. This was my first time at the Forest Refuge. I loved the self guided schedule and the very, very, very quiet container. I spent most afternoons walking in the frozen woods. I enjoyed sitting in the hall, but I also sat and walked a lot in my room. The chatter in my head settled down remarkably quickly, and I soaked in the peaceful quiet. Kamala Masters was there on retreat, and I loved watching her and taking strength from her example. She even appeared as a bodhisattva when I was perplexed about the vacuum cleaner.”May I help you?” she asked with a smile. That simple moment of kindness has stayed with me. Sitting was wonderful and I even had a small glimpse of “not two.” Coming home I feel more ready to move forward with however things unfold.

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