Skip to main content

The Retreat

Winter is a long time when you come from an island that doesn't really do seasons. It was so cold that I even had to buy a coat and also discover that things like gloves, hats and scarves have an actual function. But it wasn't just the weather. I've been on a retreat.

I don't mean an organised retreat where you officially say you are going on a retreat, because that wouldn't really be a retreat, would it? It would be an action. A statement.
What I did was retreated. I didn't plan to. I just became reflective and reclusive and my favourite place was solitude. I did a lot of thinking, a lot of deciding and a bit of changing. I was surprised at that. I thought people didn't change very easily, or that it was huge work to change, but in this case it just happened. A bit like puberty happens to kids and as they hysterically scream at you to 'leave me alone' they also reassure you that this behaviour is nothing to do with their hormones whatsoever, no, it's all because of 'you'!
So was my retreat of the hormonal nature? I believe not. Possibly something to do with age though, and definitely attitude.
And then something even worse happened. I shed a few layers of tolerance, patience and understanding. I decided that no, I won't 'stay calm' and drink coffee. It's not my fault though, it is the fault of the greater gods who sent me on the retreat. I didn't make these decisions consciously, the Gods  just allowed me to release my inner cantankerous cow. Cows are sacred in some countries you know.
Oh hang on  a minute, cantankerous cow is what people used to call me before my retreat. So maybe I just became a tad more self aware.

And on the subject of the Gods, well I did something very wild recently. I went to church! You see I was sitting (on my own of course, due to the retreat) in a cafe on a Sunday morning and I saw people going into this big church across the road. Wow, I thought, how quaint, people still go to churches. So I got curious and went and joined them. I wasn't sure if it was a catholic or protestant church, but I decided protestant because there were bibles on the seats and when they sang a hymn, the number of the hymn came up on a display on the wall. Do catholics do that?
I think in general that the protestants have better hymns, but otherwise the sermon was pretty much the same. The priest read a bit from the bible, and only then did I discover that the phrase 'healer heal yourself' came from the new testament. Very apt for my current state of mind I thought. Afterwards I thought about how as a kid I used to have to pretend I had been at mass. (Who said mass?) But now I would have to pretend I had been at the museum in order to save the embarrassment of explaining to people where I'd been.

So the bottom line, reader, is that I have not blogged so much as I've been on the retreat, but now that I'm back, please expect the blogs to be even more bitter and twisted than before, and possibly not as frequent, as I am also doing a lot of business writing at the moment. I will post the links when it's presentable enough for the public eye.
On the 2nd of April I move into my new office space on the 7th floor at Park Office in Karlsruhe. After the retreat I'm looking forward to a bit of elevation...


Popular posts from this blog

A Packet of Solpadeine and a Lecture Please

Years ago I was a respectable lady married to a nice German doctor, and it was he who brought to my attention that in Germany you can only buy pain killers in a chemist and not in a petrol station, pub or supermarket and that there was not a chance in hell that you could ever buy a pain killer with codeine in it directly from a pharmacy, which in Ireland, you can - Solpadeine.
Then a friend of mine who is a pharmacist told me that Solpadeine was her best seller. So lucrative were the sales that she did not have enough room to store the stuff in her pharmacy. But that was also back in the time when I was respectable, and in the meantime the Solpadeine police seem to be out on patrol.
Now if you ask me, I think it's pure madness to sell substances with codeine in them over the counter at a pharmacy, and I'm also a bit iffy about buying paracetemol in the supermarket, given that any 13 year old can go in and stock up on a drug that is lethal in relatively small doses. But there a…

The MoMa, a Beggar and my Limp

There’s a woman who walks up and down the streets around West 82nd and Amsterdam Avenue asking people if they’ll give her a dollar. I’d put her around 80. Small, wiry, bent, wispy hair. Brittle bird legs in black tights, but still a follower of fashion in a knit skirt with a tartan pattern, more the kind of skirt you might see on a 20-year-old Asian student. Pale pink lipstick, and a crimson red blouse topped with a cream overcoat despite the muggy August New York heat. I wonder what she does with the money she collects. She doesn’t look like she eats anything, can’t tell if she drinks. She’s sober when she pushes her trolley bag up and down 82nd, asking ‘do you have a dollar for me?’ I don’t give her one. I keep my dollars for the MoMa. My feet are killing me after walking into the city, but I’m scared of the subway. I did make a weak attempt, but have no idea what they mean by uptown and downtown. Both of these expressions mean the same thing where I come from: Uptown – as in, I’m…

The Now or the Nervous Breakdown?

There’s a thin line between reaching a state of inner peace comparable to that of a Buddhist monk and being bang on in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Thing is, I’m never sure which state I currently find myself in. It’s true that one feeds the other at times. You need to have a proper meltdown to let the storm settle and find your peace. And peace wouldn’t be peace if you didn’t allow the true tempest of this life to enter your accepting and non-judgemental state of whatever you want to call not letting stuff get to you.
The buzz word nowadays is ‘Mindfulness’. If I understand it correctly, it means that you should mind your mind, like think of it as a place where you set yourself up for feeling good or bad, and as with all of these pop psychology hits, it’s about living in the now. Like Buddhism it involves meditation and sitting cross legged on a straight-backed chair, and then you have to focus, focus, focus…
So far, I’m pretty good at not sweating the small stuff. I don’t worry…