Monday, September 21, 2015
Sunny and cool
Yup, Mercury is retrograde, so: stay low, stay quiet, go shopping.
The vacation was terrific, and much-needed. I loved being in the Berkshires. I was surprised by how much Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon there was up there. Almost everyone I met was connected to someone else I’d worked with at some point. It’s beautiful out there, but there’s also a solid respect for the work people do and the skills people bring to the table.
Kripalu was amazing. Much better than I’d hoped or imagined. It’s very individually oriented and nurturing, and yet there are very strong boundaries. When you get there, you sign what I call an “anti-stupidity contract”, basically promising not to behave like an entitled asshole. They enforce their no cell phone and no photographs policies, which I just loved. And, no matter how much money you have or how much you paid to be there, yes, the rules really DO apply to you, too.
I took three yoga classes a day, and whatever workshops caught my fancy. It would have been easy to get caught up in running from workshop to workshop, but I didn’t. I made sure I had a lot of time to just sit and enjoy the mountains and the lake (the weather was gorgeous), read, and write.
I also avoided getting caught up in becoming the de facto Cruise Director while I was there. Because there were so many situations where I felt excluded growing up, I tend to take it upon myself to pull in anyone who looks isolated or confused, so they feel included, rather than excluded. When I’m in a situation like the Writers’ Conference, where I’m local and I was on the Board, it’s part of my job to promote inclusiveness, and take care of anyone who feels shy or worried. However, this week was about taking care of myself (while not trampling on anyone else’s needs), so that’s what I did. When I chose to take a workshop, I threw myself in a hundred percent. I was friendly to people and talked in between classes, but I made sure I had a lot of time on my own, and I took all my meals in silence.
The food was spectacular. I was a little worried, but it was wonderful. Plenty of it, and, within a couple of hours, I could feel the difference in that I felt better and had a ton more energy. I didn’t have any headaches, any chest pains, any arrhythmias, any gastric issues while I was there. I got to work on healing the shoulder injury. I tried new things in workshops, and food-wise. I spent a lot of time in the fourth floor meditation room. I really, really, REALLY liked doing three hours of yoga a day.
I tried something called Yoga Dance, which is certainly a workout, and the teacher was spectacular. I got to take a yoga class with her as well, and she was familiar with my work in New York. Another one of my teachers was also an NYU alumni. Other people had either read my books, attended a show on which I’d worked, or knew the writing I’d done for Llewellyn for sixteen years. Another presenter and I know we’ve met before, but we can’t figure out where.
It was the perfect balance of solitude and community.
I would go back in a second, for a longer stretch.
I stayed offsite, which worked for me, because I also kept running into people who knew someone I’d worked with. I went out a few times with friends of colleagues in Great Barrington, and I got to stop by three theatres in the area, whose work I respect.
I wasn’t too thrilled with Stockbridge. The town is pretty, but the people were too much the same type as those who inhabit the Hamptons. Since I never wanted to spend time with them either in NYC or the Hamptons, I did not seek out their company here, either. I liked Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington, and Pittsfield is making a comeback.
Most of my writing was private, but I did do some work on WIPs, and spent plenty of time working out storylines.
I clarified some of the horizons to which I’m aiming, although I don’t have the detailed steps worked out yet. But at least I now believe I can get there.
One of the things I appreciated most was the practicality of everything there. They make it clear that Kripalu is safe space and not the real world, but they also give you tools to take back into the world and apply to daily life, so it’s not just you go to Kripalu for fantasy-land and then go back to the real world and keep doing the things that are bad for you. I’m sure plenty of people do just that, but Kripalu does provide tools so you don’t have to.
Traffic was horrible both coming and going, but it all worked out.
Violet’s health is steadily improving, thank goodness. It’s time to start putting the yard to bed.
I watched the first season of GOTHAM on DVD, and really, really liked it. The set design is gorgeous, I know all the exterior locations (since they shoot in NY). Every shot is beautiful. The cast is terrific, and the writing’s good.
When I first came back, I had some stomach issues — switching back to my “regular” food. But I’m adjusting my diet, slowly, and feeling better for it.
About 80% of the sugar I usually eat (and I don’t eat that much) was cut out of my diet while I was there, and I felt much better. So I’m going to do the same here.
I know things will be busy at work this week, both catching up with what accumulated while I was gone, and prepping for upcoming events. My friend’s book launch is on October 1. The big NYU Alumni event is next Monday night, the next artist HobNob is on Tuesday, and the NMLC wine event is Oct. 11. A lot to do in a short amount of time, while I’m also trying to reshuffle what I need.
It was good to feel valued this past week, something I have not felt with any of the organizations with whom I’m currently working, in a very long time.
I’m also not getting enough solitude, and that is negatively affecting both the quality and quantity of my writing. That’s not acceptable on any level. The writing comes first. Always.
Time to get back to work, get things done, and make necessary changes.