When Was The Last Time?

by Andrea Campbell

When was the last time you took 3 slow, deep breaths? The stress of daily life keeps my breaths shallow, and my stomach tight. Although I'm semi –retired, I still lead a busy  21 st century westerner’s life. I drive in traffic, surf the net, fight to get to the checkout in Trader Joe’s, pay bills, pump my own gasoline, yech! This summer things just weren’t working in my life. I had a disappointing love affair, my friends were unable to keep social plans, I was lonely, stuck with a property I couldn't sell, two-and-a-half years into a self -imposed five year austerity program. When I became aware of how tight my stomach was, I decided to enroll in a 10 day silent meditation retreat at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch in New Mexico to avoid a future diagnosis of acid reflux.


When an old master artist like Di Vinci decided to paint over a part of his initial composition, it was called pentimento, which means to change your mind. Life is just like that; sometimes we paint a composition and then change our minds. Thus, we alter our lives. I went to meditate on order to look deeply into my life composition and alter what needed to be altered. 

Set in a pristine mountain forest 9,500 feet above sea level, Vallecitos has nine ponds, flowered valleys, an old restored hunting lodge and private cabins for participants. I joined about 37 like-minded people from various parts of the U.S. and two teachers to explore 10 days of being with my own thoughts, feelings and sensations.  Here are some of the awareness’ I garnered.

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