I have been on retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House in Drexel, Missouri (timbercreekretreat.org). I first came here with a group in October 2014, and I have led an annual retreat here ever since. For several weeks prior to this year's retreat, I was experiencing a nebulous anxiety, which I could point in a variety of directions, but I didn't feel capable of shaking it. I felt a lot of uncertainty, worry and negativity. Given that the vast majority of my clothing says "Life is good" on it somewhere, this was not a comfortable place for me to be.
Just driving up to this magnificent place causes a sense of relief to flood through me. I know that whatever may have been troubling me will gently slip away as I enjoy the setting, the people and the activities of the weekend. Both the folks who run the House and the folks on the retreat with me are people I dearly love. We appreciate and support each other.
I lead daily Melt Method and yoga classes at various times. I usually bring some sort of supplies to enable folks to dabble in creative activity. This year's stock was for painting and collage making, and I was able to get two paintings and a collage started. I rarely make the effort on these things at home, so having time to play with all this stuff was very fun and head-clearing. Cool fall weather set in with our arrival and we enjoyed the first fires of the season in the fireplace in the hearth room, a comfy gathering place near the coffee machine where we relax together and tell stories. There is no better place than Timber Creek to recognize the therapeutic value of laughter.
Before each totally fabulous meal, there is a time of meditation led by Tom Jacobs, philosopher, poet and musician extraordinaire. The view from the mediation room includes a pond, forest, benches, bird feeder, and often wildlife such as deer, turkeys, and of course, squirrel!
The best part of Timber Creek is that everything is optional. It is a place where you can truly "take what you like and leave the rest." This can be a challenge sometimes, to decide what one wants to do and just do it. For instance, there are lovely walking trails surrounding the House. Most folks enjoyed lovely walks "over the river (creek) and through the woods." My inner nagger kept saying, "you should walk" and because the "should" word was involved, I did not. I stayed inside the entire weekend, enjoying the people, creative options, and nap time, glorious nap time.
A writing on Timber Creek would be grossly incomplete if there was no mention of the food. We are served three fabulous meals each day, and we are not allowed to even bus our plates. Imagine! No clean-up, no dishes, just eat, enjoy and walk (waddle) away. Time spent in conversation around the meal table is one of my favorite things about the retreat experience.
My group usually does not completely fill the House, so there are other guests who synchronously show up and blend in with our group. I do believe this has happened every year, and it's something we look forward to, as we have met many lovely folks this way, and it is a bonus for all involved.
I also lead a session or two that I refer to as "release" opportunities. We gather in the Heart Room to talk, vent, listen, be heard, support and love on each other. I love the healing power of being able to safely express what is on our hearts and minds, know we are being heard and supported, and "let that shit go!" Often there is soul-rinsing (crying) involved. Energy is released and healing occurs.
The days finish off with game-playing. For the past couple retreats it has been laughter-filled rounds of Rummikub. Quite the competitive bunch we are! I love to play games and this is one of the few times I get to do so.
This year, for the first time, we stayed for three nights instead of two, giving us a whole extra day here. I expect this longer stay will be the norm of the future, now that we have experienced an extra day of love and spoiling and peace and joy and freedom and contentment.
Anxiety? What anxiety? It's all in one's perspective, and right now, at now-o'clock, all is well.