Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sometimes you have to retreat ...

I went to a retreat this weekend.

It was, literally and figuratively, a breath of fresh air.

I feel like I've been catapulted into a space of mental clarity. Like, for a brief moment, a supernatural force has decided to grant me the serenity I have for years been seeking.

I had to literally accept the things I couldn't change when my beautiful orange
scarf made a clandestine escape through a bus window, gracefully billowing its goodbye to my fellow travellers while I slept, oblivious to the fact that my favourite scarf was literally gone with the wind. I had to let that go. I mean, I loved that scarf. It's been three good years. But meh. Life goes on.

Once upon a time, I would have had a near-funeral for that scarf. The way I used to mourn lost jewellery. But God has granted me the serenity. Ase (pronounced ashay). And that's another thing I learnt this weekend: ase. It's a Ghanaian word. It means amen, with a little bit of selah, and a lot of shalom.

I like it: ase. There's something powerful about breathing that word - like a prayer in a sigh. Ase. And so it is. Let it be so. 

Acceptance. Surrender. Peace.

I had to surrender to bathing in cold water. And let me tell you, it was kowl! Again, God granted me the serenity. Because the option was to either bathe with cold water or not bathe at all. I almost didn't bathe. But good sense prevailed. A little cold never hurt anybody. Any. Body. Get it?

Anyway, that kind of corny is another thing.

And these people I was retreating with? The right kind of corny. Just wonderful. It was a collective of sistrins with one and two bredrens who were focused and centred. It was a safe space. I sat up late chatting with people about their life stories, forging a rich, deep connection grounded in shared experience.

It was authenticity to the point of unashamed vulnerability. I liked it. They were the kind of corny that spoke of feeling like they were losing something whenever they left the verdant richness of country to return to the hustle and bustle of Kingston. They were the kind of corny that could declare, "I need a lot of nature in my life."

I loved it. And they weren't just being emos the whole time. They were productive. They got stuff done. They made plans. They cast vision. They charted a future for an organisation ...

It was a beautiful casting off of the old, and an embracing of the new. And when I think of it, losing my scarf becomes symbolic. Why not let go? Why not let go of the inhibitions and embrace a new experience? Why not let go of cautious fear, and invest more of myself into a truly worthy cause?

Why not jump in, feet first, eyes closed, and immerse myself in the experience? Why not? Ase.

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