Retreat Reflections from Uruguay

I’d forgotten how many stars there are.

We were only about 25km from the nearest town but it was new moon and the Milky Way was cloudy in comparison with the inky black around it and the stars were sparkling and sooooo abundant. No wonder the guest house is called Posada de las Estrellas. Stargazing was a number one pastime, right up there with water-hyacinth contemplation and cloud watching. We even got a short storm and a rainbow on the last day.

Two other highlights for me were the cupula and the sweat lodge. 

The domed cupula is encircled by a kind of glassed in deck where we practiced yoga with beautiful views of the sierras. The cupula was designed so that both music and silence reverberate and fill your ears in a most delicious way. I felt the silence as a velvety sensation. We read poetry to each other after the last yoga class and then I stayed a moment to sit right in the center to let the absence of sound fill my ears like the stars at night filled my eyes.

I’ve participated in several sweat lodges, or Temazcales, and this was the first one I have enjoyed. Enjoyment is not necessarily the goal. It’s similar to how meditation is not really about enjoyment- it’s something I do because life feels better when I do it, but the moments I spend sitting still are rarely full of joy.

I was talking with our cook Ludmila, whose husband lead our sweat lodge, before we went in. She has a sort of warrior energy and wonderful sense of humor. She said that for her surrendering to the heat and trusting that the whole process is healing and beneficial is like surrendering to love and allowing it to have it’s own process and way with us. Her husband said the same thing in different words somewhere about halfway through the lodge. Another thing that inspired me to let go was the trust our participants exhibited. I could see anxiety in their faces before the flaps closed and left us in darkness. But every single one stayed to the end and left glowing and proud of themselves, and over the next few days each shared positive reactions to the sweat.

I also loved the meals and sleeping in rooms with window screens so we could listen to humming insect sounds without any buzzing of mosquitos inside. I could write a whole other blog about swimming in the river and watching the water crash over various little falls.

I am looking forward to our return.