I’m glad I went….but

IMG_1100I think yoga and meditation are good for the spirit and the body. Not that I have a lot of experience with it….just some yoga classes at my local gym and a meditation session or two. When I wrote about transitions last week I thought a few days at an ashram would be a worthwhile transition activity from work to retirement. I’m glad I did it, but it will probably be my one and only ashram experience.20150707_135432349_iOS

What I liked: the yoga and meditation. The teachers were very good and the hours devoted to yoga and meditation were generous – 4 hours a day. And I took full advantage. The lectures, chanting and singing were interesting. The setting in the Catskills was beautiful, peaceful. The common areas of the ashram main building were clean, functional, and nice.IMG_1099
What I didn’t like: the food. I had convinced myself that I would be fine with vegan and/or vegetarian meals (most were vegetarian). I have had vegetarian meals prepared by my friend, Joan Fleming, and loved them. But at the ashram, at the end of three days I was weak from lack of food! The accomodations were basic, which I expected. But they could use a good scrubbing. The mood among the residents was off. Most of the people I met had been living at the ashram for months and seemed to be trying to find themselves or find a way to happiness (bliss). They didn’t seem to feel comfortable or happy when they were out in the real world, but I felt an air of sadness at the ashram.
I’m glad I went. The experience confirmed my interest in yoga and meditation….and my love of meat!

Transitions

20140818_151648000_iOSHappy Independence Day! For me, today is a personal independence day of sorts. I retired from a very long and rewarding career in commercial banking. I’ve worked with some really talented and hard working people over the years and I will miss them. But it’s time for a new phase, a new life, and new adventures. This week I am thinking about transitions. Retirement is a big one!

I  knew I would have to find something interesting and rewarding to fill the void left after the end of a career that was interesting every day. So how to transition from the fast paced life of the fully employed to a fully engaged retiree? With the help of Holly Bull at The Center for Interim Programs, I have planned an exciting year of travel and experiences.  My goal was to marry places I want to visit/live with experiences that would help grow my world view.  I don’t want to just be a tourist, but rather part of a community.  So I will spend a couple of months volunteering in South Africa; studying French in France and Art History in Italy.

But this week is about the transition. So what better way to go from long, stimulating days of work and responsibility to a slower pace of learning and helping, and experiencing new and wonderful worlds?  How about an ashram in the Catskills?  Works for me….I think.  Yoga and meditation will be a new experience and hopefully a smooth transition to a new life. Wish me luck.

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