There's a lot growing in my inner garden these days. I got home from spring retreat with Jon Bernie realizing that I just love intensive group meditation practice. It makes me happy in such a deep way. And while I was at the retreat I received an email from the lovely Birmingham Shambhala center, which listed some upcoming Shambhala training weekends. I completed Levels I-III several years ago and then stalled out, which is kind of something I do and not one of my favorite features. So it felt great to be re-energized to finish the series this year. I've signed up for Level IV in August and am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get to Level V in October and the other thing I've been enjoying doing doesn't happen at the same time...
And that other thing is that my sweetie and I have been having such a great time on our weekend metal adventures! Last weekend we drove to Chattanooga where we spent hours at the aquarium and had an awesome dinner at Hennen's. Then that Saturday we drove to Atlanta for the last night of the Heritage Hunter Tour with Opeth and Mastodon and I got to experience my first mosh pit (very briefly as it erupted right where we had been standing for most of the evening) and re-create Mr. Toad's Wild Ride as I got us back to the lovely Ellis Hotel. Seriously, why so many Peachtrees and one-way streets people? But we made it back in time for some late-night nachos at the Hard Rock Cafe and I was able to soak up Sai Baba's words in huge letters on the wall above the kitchen: Love All, Serve All. Now that's a statement to live by! So anyway, there's talk that Opeth will tour in the States again this fall and if so, you know we'll have to be there!
And that's how it's going these days. At the Jon Bernie retreat, which I suppose might fall under the heading of non-dualism, I couldn't stop reading poems by the Catholic monk Thomas Merton. Heavy metal is followed by a phrase by an Indian holy man considered by his followers (which included me in my teens and twenties) to be an incarnation of a Hindu diety. And then there's my current obsession with Eckhart Tolle. (Holy moly!) While it could all look very eclectic on the surface, underneath all of it there feels a great sense of integration. All the pieces feel like they're fitting together beautifully and the puzzle feels like home.
I hope your passions are playing well together these days!