As I sit in the quietude of the morning, with the mist hanging low in the valleys, I find myself contemplating the value of simple awareness. Noticing. Feeling. Experiencing. For me, living here at AHKí all year long, I get to enjoy so many aspects of this life as a retreat owner, ex-pat, home owner, spiritual seeker, and of course, many more. But this morning my focus falls upon energy and how it changes within a space, depending on what fills it. For a good six months out of the year, my house embodies what most homes do: solitude, cooking in the kitchen, making the bed, keeping up with the maintenance, eating dinner on the sofa while watching a good movie... all the normalcies of a comfortable home life. But the difference here is, come our summer, we switch into business/retreat mode, welcoming groups anywhere from 10-20 people. Suddenly, my house is filled with a full staff of eleven; kitchen help, houskeeping and gardeners with our guests arriving every Saturday afternoon and departing every Saturday morning, keeping us in full motion throughout the weeks.
I have learned, over the years, how to ride the change. Many have asked me how it feels to have so many people "in my home" for such an extended period of time. Honestly, the funny thing is, during retreats I don't feel like this is MY home, per-se. All intention and focus is for this to be OUR GUESTS home - and some how I even become somewhat of a guest, myself. (Aside from being the director backstage, making sure all props are working and cast is remembering their lines!)
It's an honor to hold the space for retreats, with everything that brings: from every toilet malfunction to every smiling guest full of gratitude - from every quiet morning permeating silent meditation to every dance party night. There's something very special about simply providing (amazing) food and a (beautiful) space that allows people a moment to step out of their daily grind and cut loose, go deeper, reach higher - I bow to this.
And then, as quickly as it all started, the last group of the season departs and I notice for a bit of time during this transition that I feel a little bit lost. Perhaps, maybe even a little bit purposeless. But then the days go by, as they always do, and I allow the shift to settle me back into the solitude of a private home life.
Feeling blessed and full of gratitude for being a witness to it ALL!