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Naomi Rose : The Intimate Fruits of a Writing Retreat

The Intimate Fruits of a Writing Retreat: Coming into the Wealth of Inner Being

By Naomi Rose

Recently, I was blessed to be given space to write in a retreat-like way for three days. One of my friends, a spiritual teacher, has a little hut in her back yard, designed to house spiritual retreatants. One day, in the spirit of asking for the fulfillment of my heart's desires, I inquired whether I might combine writing with spiritual practices, and thereby have a "writing retreat." My friend did me one better: "Why not come two times," she offered. "Once to write, and another to do a spiritual retreat. No charge for the writing retreat."

Since I was writing about an interior experience of wealth for my book MotherWealth ~ wealth of Being, which, when made room for, naturally translates into outer wealth, as well ~ I quickly realized that this was a very abundant offer indeed. Gratefully, I accepted; and soon thereafter, I showed up in front of her house, unpacking from my station wagon my computer, my typewriter (yes, yes, it's old-fashioned; but I grew up with typewriters, and I enjoy the feel of it; it's like playing the piano), my assorted papers already written and half-written, notebooks, blank paper, a CD player-with-earphones, CDs, my dulcimer, spiritually inspiring books, and food to last 3 days. (Oh yes; clothes too, though they seemed the least part of my necessities.)

I arrived in my friend's backyard on a Saturday early afternoon. She and her husband were away until the next day. I unpacked my equipment inside the hut, as neatly as I could, then walked out into the secluded, pristine territory of her back yard. I was still aware of the freeway I'd just traveled, the light noise of the traffic in the street; but my intent to turn inward had an increasingly quieting effect. And soon ~ as I ate my lunch at the outdoor table, looking across at the brilliant red roses and up into the embracing, leafy branches of the trees ~ I was no longer in transit. I was there.

The late-September sun shone down on my arms, warming them and attuning me to the visible, audible, palpable wealth of nature around me and in me. This sweet settling in, as I lay in the hammock strung between two strong trees, eased the staccato rhythms of my worrying mind, and reminded my breath of its connection with the ocean. The more "here" I was, the deeper my awareness increased of how good it was to be right here, and the more I realized ~ palpably, in my skin, in my cells ~ that my presence to nature was what was making the difference. That in my stillness and appreciation, I knew how much was being offered; and I was present to receive it.

Had I been at home and set myself the task of writing for a certain period of time, trying to trip-wire myself into an inspired state, I would have lit a candle, burned some fragrant incense, said some prayers, and tried to clear the decks. But here, it all came as a gift, on its own. Even lying in the hammock, listening to the pitch and number of syllables in the calls of the local birds, suddenly into my awareness came a line for my book. It came, and it repeated itself, and it repeated itself again, and again, knocking and saying, "Get up, now's the moment, write me down!"

Relaxed and yet galvanized, I recognized a gift when it reached for me. I rolled out of the hammock (I had been aching for a hammock earlier in the busy week) and ran to the hut. Quickly setting up my typewriter, swiveling the chair into place, ratcheting the blank typing paper into the back of the machine, I typed that one line. And when it was there in print in front of me, then more came, and more.

I wrote with that kind of beautiful absorption which characterizes an inspired state, knowing nothing of time, caring for nothing but exactly what I was doing, neither critical nor full of forethought, just being present with what was inside me. And when I was done, I was thankful, and breathing differently, as if my very spirit had been well exercised.

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