Monday Smiles – 10/20/2014

home2At about 4:00 yesterday, I pulled into our garage in Anaheim Hills, home from a weekend retreat at the lovely Santa Barbara Mission.  Muri’s car wasn’t in the garage but there was a note in the kitchen that she’d gone to a movie which was fine.   As renewing as the retreats can be, they are also exhausting … lots of meetings, late nights and, for me, the difficulties of sleeping in a strange bed … I always require a nap upon my arrival home.   I slept for over an hour and when I awoke, there she was, sitting on the sofa, smiling.   As we get older, we miss each other when we are apart, even for a day or two, even though, if we were both at home, we might be doing different things in different rooms.  It is interesting to hear some men give different things in different rooms as a reason for leaving a relationship when it is part of what makes ours work.  We are together even when we are not together.

It’s become our tradition to go out to dinner after I wake up from my post-retreat nap and she always asks, How was the retreat?  That’s not always easy to answer because a precept of our meetings is What you hear here stays here and because Muri has never really understood what I get out of the 12-Step philosophy, which is fine.  Fortunately, she is low-maintenance and although I’m high-maintenance, it’s self-maintenance.   After some retreats, she can see … I’m in a great mood.  Others, the changes are more subtle … I tell her I’ve resolved some issue that’s been weighing on me.   Some retreats are easy, some are fun, some are work.  This one was work.  I spent more time alone at this retreat than usual.  I didn’t laugh as much.   I confined my conversations to particular friends with whom I felt comfortable talking aboutcandle2 the issues at hand.  I wondered: Is the the retreat that’s going to be a dud?  I should have known better.  Saturday night is always a candlelight meeting, the room dark except for the flicker of candles on the floor.   It seems to me men tend to share deeper and more honestly in the darkened room, but it may be that the candlelight breaks through my curmudgeonly shell and I hear differently.

This retreat was like a spiritual reset button.   By Sunday morning, I was ready to be home by Muri’s side.  I was ready to get back to some sort of spiritual discipline, one of which is writing every morning, not on Older Eyes – Bud”s Blog but in a journal where I can write what my heart needs to say.  And here I am, posting Monday Smiles.   I’m feeling grateful for the life I have … and I’m smiling.

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