July 1, 2016

What A Day

Last night was long and cold. I slept on a mattress on the ground with a sheet and when I went to sleep it was too hot to breath. I though I had imagined a blanket in the bathroom, but didn’t think twice about grabbing it. At some point in the night, I am guessing around 3am, I was freezing. My initial thoughts were to simply curl up in the sheets, as the thought of venturing into the darkness to grab the blanket felt like too big of a chore; I chose to suffer instead. I am not sure why this decision to allow myself to freeze felt like the right choice, but for at lead an hour I lay motionless in the darkness under a sheet freezing. Until of course, Kaia woke up and said she was cold. She was also sleeping on the floor on a mattress.

She decided to jump in bed with Mairin and Skye right after I got her the blanket. So finally, I was saved. I jumped back on my mattress and quickly allowed myself to be swallowed by it. I fell in and out of a shallow sleep until the morning.

What a day. We started with a nice breakfast and then we packed a lunch and headed to The Narrows- a thirty minute hike up the creek to a nice deep pool with a rock slide. The water was freezing, but the sun was so hot and perfect that we spent a large part of our day there. Skye was beyond adventurous and was always the first onion the water and even led the hike for most of the time. Kaia was a bit more cautious and was freaked out, I think, by the coldness of the water. I have rarely seen her so far from her comfort zone. Eventually, we all got in and had a good swim and delicious lunch. Alas, no photos as I was trying to be disconnected and device free.

A bit of down time and back at the baths. I was alone tonight, and although I only had twenty minutes, I took the time to walk down to the creek after the sauna and even fit in a quick mediation sitting on the deck by myself. These are the things I miss most about the states. The opportunity one has to be alone in nature. If we lived in the states, I would do so much camping and adventure nature stuff. Or at least, that is what I tell myself. Today was brilliant just walking along this creek with the the girls, my wife and my mom. All of us walking under the sun, skin toasted and brown, the gravel beneath our feet. Miles away from the chaos of the world with little to do but eat, swim, sleep.

It’s not all relaxing here however. Being at a remote Zen retreat with two young children can be nerve racking. There are an eclectic group of guests here, walking around in various states of quiet. So even room level conversations between two kids under ten, sounds a few decibels too high. There have been a lot of shushes and be quiets, but overall the girls have been great.

After dinner, they both went to the baths for a second time with my mom, while I attended a dharma talk by the head of this Zen Center. Her message was a simple one: when it feels like there are hundreds, thousands or even millions of things coming at you at once- don’t try to control any of it. We are the universe in its entirety. We are the freedom and the entanglement. So the more we sit and trust that the universe will work itself out, the more we will see that it will.

The mood of the talk was nice. Dim lights, robes, bells, chants and her calming voice in the semi- darkness.

Tonight I am armed and prepared for the darkness. Although it feels too hot to sleep, I will prepare not one but two blankest for the pre-dawn frost, I am certain will come. In the morning we will eat breakfast and get back on the crazy long road back to the coast and civilization. We will spend the day and one night in Monterrey with my mom, before we head north again.

I am just so proud of her for being here and living here and processing here. It is a special place and I am so happy that we made the drive and were able to experience it with her.

I am now thinking when in my life, I might be able to spend a substantial amount of time here. It might have to be years after the girls have grown up. I may have to wait for the rest of my life to present me with the opportunity, but I look at my mom and see how patient and persistent she has been, and I am hopeful.

Someday, I will come back and spend at least a few weeks here.

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