Difficulties “getting into” Retreat mode

How does a retreat begin?

The first teaching I remember receiving about doing meditation retreats provided this helpful guide: However long a retreat is, a meditator spends about 1/3 of it “getting in,” 1/3 being in, and 1/3 returning to ordinary life.

Here are my difficulties with getting into Retreat mode:

1) My mind won’t settle. I feel restless, antsy, unable to settle, as if there are other things I’m supposed to/would rather be doing. Suddenly, every undone thing looms large, especially if I have the unfortunate coincidence of being at home. Certainly I should first clean everything, re-arrange everything, organize everything, catch up on filing and correspondence, pay bills early, balance my checkbook, contact this or that friend or family member, etc.? Of course, these tasks do not present themselves as “urgent” until after I begin my Retreat!

2) My body won’t settle. My body’s condition becomes much more intrusive: every itch, every ache, every pain, every need. “Oh, I’m so thirsty. Oh, I’m so hungry. I really need a nap. Oh, I really need to stretch, to move, to walk, to change position.” My hair is too long; it’s too short. I have to file my nails. What’s going on with that mole? I have to pee again. “Is it lunchtime, yet? I should probably have a lot of smaller meals and not wait for lunchtime.” I yawn incessantly. I should take my shower now. I writhe. Every part that can make a pitch for my attention does. My back hurts, my legs hurt, my neck hurts, my shoulders hurt. I’m so tired. On and on and on.

3) My speech won’t settle. I talk to myself. Most of #2 and #1 are said ALOUD. I give myself instructions, encouragement, admonishment, kindness, ruthlessness, strictness, permission: everything is said, more than once, WHILE I am chanting mantra in my mind, which makes the visualization and actual practice mostly crap on a stick. Did I mention that I criticize myself? I talk to my teacher (who isn’t here, of course, and can’t hear me; at least, I hope he can’t hear me. He would be mighty bothered if he could). I talk to the objects of my devotion, subjects of my visualization, previous masters and teachers. They mostly do not answer me. I talk in my sleep.

4) I make and do not stick to a schedule. If I’m not at a retreat center whose meal times require me to be somewhere 3 times a day and around which I revolve everything else, it takes a while to convince my “inner whiny girl” to stick to a schedule. Even harder, I’m discovering, is sticking to a schedule that changes many times per week and includes “ordinary life.” This is a new challenge, and even though I’m on Day 3, I’m not feeling good about how I’m doing with it, yet. Did I mention self-criticism?

5) I am a “next-thing” junkie. Whatever I’m doing, I obsess about what is next and seem to want to be “there” (until I get there). I’m also obsessed with time measurements. I waste concentration “doing the math”: if it takes me X # of minutes or hours to accomplish Y how many hours or days is it until this section is completed? How long until my next break? How long until break is over? How much sleep am I getting? How long have I been doing this part? How much longer must I continue to do this part? When do I get to do the next thing? What’s for my next snack/meal? What about after that? After that? After that?

6) I have too much to do. Since I am doing a home retreat, there is no one “serving” it, or me. I have to do all life’s regular chores and do retreat, also. Since I’ve had it “both ways,” I can say I infinitely prefer being at a retreat center (and so grateful for the times I have been) and not having my home, chores, and responsibilities facing me all day, every day. But, it’s not my karma right now to have that privilege. So, here I am. Stuck with questions and decisions (more to obsess about). “When do I shop? When do I clean? When should I do other chores? When to cook? What do I prepare? What about snacks? When do I clean up the kitchen/do dishes?”

This retreat is planned to last at least 4 1/2 months (until Losar, Tibetan New Year, 3/2/14), or until I complete the assignments and feel “cooked,” whichever comes second.

Doing the math (see #5, above): I started Oct. 18. If I go until March 2, that is 13 + 30 + 31 + 31 + 28 + 2 days = 135 days. I am taking “off” a few days around American New Year’s for family visits, so call it 129 days. 1/3 of 129 = 43. My 43rd day is Nov. 30.

I remember clearly from previous retreats (lasting from 1/2-day to 11 weeks, for me) how getting into retreat is always gradual and difficult, until it isn’t. Just like life.

I can now officially relax, stop kvetching, and just be with what is (KIND OF THE POINT!!!) until November 30 or thereabouts, since that is how long it may take me to “get into” this retreat fully.

By then, I’ll be deeply “in” it and won’t be obsessing, anyway….at least, until about mid-January. Sigh.


Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Amazon Kindle Fire Giveaway!

fall kindle fire


Bloggers can enter to win a 2nd Kindle Fire by putting up a post about this giveaway on their blog.

To Enter
Put up a post on your site sharing this giveaway then enter the direct link to your post into THIS FORM to be entered.

Simply copy and paste the HTML that is below or you can grab info off of these links:

Giveaway Information Post:

1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7″ HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.
Ends 10/31/13

Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7″.



The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HD (US Only)


Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Fall Sponsoring Authors & Bloggers 

  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Author Annette K. Larsen
  4. Phantasmic Reads
  5. Author Bella Street
  6. Author Bonnie Blythe
  7. Author Stacy Claflin
  8. MyLadyWeb: Women’s History, Women Authors
  9. Book Mama Blog
  10. Word to Dreams
  11. Candace’s Book Blog
  12. Once Upon a YA Book
  13. Author Miriam Louise
  14. Author Mary Ting
  15. Author Camelia Miron Skiba
  16. Books4Tomorrow
  17. Author Theresa McClinton
  18. Brooke Blogs
  19. Author Pauline Creeden
  20. Author MK McClintock
  21. Author Kathryn Chastain Treat
  22. Books Unhinged Book Blog
  23. Author Kelly Cozy
  24. Meredith & Jennifer’s Musings
  25. These Are But Shadows
  26. My Devotional Thoughts
  27. Author Ally Shields
  28. Dark Motive’s Books and More
  29. Nessarox
  30. Fae Books
  31. Author Jennie Sherwin
  32. The Real Bookshelves of Room 918
  33. Auggie Talk
  34. No BS Book Reviews
  35. BookLover Sue
  36. Gin’s Book Notes
  37. Bookhounds
  38. Buku-Buku Didi
  39. Author Shelli Profitt Howells
  40. My Nook, Books and More
  41. The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
  42. Clarice’s Book Nook
  43. MichaelSciFan
  44. Magical Manuscripts
  45. Author Talia Jager
  46. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  47. Jessabella Reads
  48. Author Melissa Pearl
  49. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  50. Bookitty Blog
  51. Author Helen Smith
  52. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  53. Christine’s Blog
  54. Write Away Bliss
  55. Another World of Books
  56. The Reporter and The Girl MINUS The Super Man!
  57. Katie’s Clean Book Collection
  58. Author Marcia Lynn McClure
  59. Author Shannon Guymon
  60. Ripple Effect Romance Series
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. <strong>Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded.</strong> No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer <a href=”http://www.iamareader.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>http://iamareader.com</a&gt; and sponsored by the participating authors &amp; bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
<a id=”rc-0a00961055″ href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0a00961055/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js”></script>

<a id=”rc-0a00961055″ class=”rafl” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0a00961055/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=”//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js”></script>



Working with Aidana WillowRaven as cover artist is so much fun!

I have never worked with a cover artist before, so not only is Aidana @WillowRaven providing me with amazing prototypes of my characters, Dr. Clara Branon, middle-aged Ph.D., and her “band” of 5 disparate-looking aliens, being brought to “flesh” for the first time, Aidana is training and educating me in the author-artist relationship and cover art production process.

It is exciting, challenging, interesting, frustrating, and fun, all at once: a lot like writing!  Thanks, Aidana! Keep going!  Check out her work at: http://WillowRaven.weebly.com  

Completion of the cover art is the final step before This Change Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, goes LIVE, in November, 2013. 

Internet and Machine for Telepathic Communication needed by Amateur Scientists

Internet and Machine for Telepathic Communication needed by Amateur Scientists

Dr. Clara Branon and those who train at the Many Worlds Collective‘s Extraordinary Skills Program (ESP training) do not need machines, the web, or any props to communicate telepathically! Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, explores this a bit; stay tuned for Volume IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, for in depth descriptions and experiences of Earthers, particularly teens and young adults, in the ESP Training.

My sister gives my first review for “This Changes Everything”!

Ellen Fleischmann:
“Interesting characters, good take on “first” contact. Everybody will enjoy this one!”