Out of the frying pan into the . . . void?

I am writing this as my husband drives. Our check-in suitcases for our weeklong meditation retreat with Shinzen Young are in the back seat and of course mine is a mess because as of 2 a.m. last night I still hadn’t finished packing.

The week heading into trips like this always feel like some sort of sprint-marathon. So much to finish at work, so much feels undone as the plane starts to taxi. “Out of the frying pan into the –” I started to say yesterday to my husband. “The void?” he helpfully offered.

I have some idea of what to expect and no idea of what to expect either on my first meditation retreat. Finding a consistent sitting practice has helped mitigate the aversion I used to have to trying to watch the mind; I used to very much identify with what Anne Lamott once said:

My mind remains a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone.

I have come to savor what watching the mind has to offer. It’s not always pleasant, but overall, the practice feels grounding and cathartic. And necessary, as necessary as my Ashtanga practice feels.

We are seated in the cabin now, about to take off for a 1,973-mile flight. Not our longest trip,” I just said to my husband as we were waiting to board. “But maybe our longest trip.”

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