The sky is white and long over the lake this morning, the gray-blue waters moving swiftly on their way as they always do. The air, scented in that familiar northern Michigan way, is calming, reassuring, fragrant with pine and rain and the goodness of the earth beneath my feet.
I planned for months to host this retreat on Mackinac Island. I marketed, sold, pulled in wonderful people, got them registered, took care of details. And then, it was here.
It is so appropriate that we began with bright sun and we finish with an overcast morning sky in so many shades of blue and gray. The details never cease to delight, no matter the weather.
The weather really doesn’t even matter because this has been a journey of the soul. We are here, in the present moment, an exercise in just being who we are meant to be, who we yearn to be, who we want to become.
People go on retreat for a variety of reasons. Mostly, though, we go away to come closer to our hearts.
This week, it has been writing and yoga in fresh air, beautiful surroundings, the nature of an unfettered island where noise is relative and mostly, we listen to the sound of the waters chugging against land and back out again toward the horizon.
Of all the places I could choose for retreat, I decided on Mackinac Island because of how absolute the quiet is. Here, in this resort, we are at the edge of the island, with constant water views. At night, the quiet is so profound, so far-reaching, so incredibly seductive.
I went away to come closer to myself.
On the last day of retreat, of any vacation, of any journey, we have already shifted into a mindset of leaving.
Our thoughts get ahead, already on I-75 south, already picturing the to-dos of our home lives, the words of the children waiting for us, images of snuggling tonight beside my sweet Shaya, my rambunctious Eliana, my loving Asher.
This week, I’ve slept surrounded by six puffy pillows on a bed so much bigger than the bed back home. And yet tonight, I will gather close to four other bodies in a queen-sized bed, almost toppling out onto the floor, but not quite, gathered in to one another because it will be so refreshing to finally be back together.
It takes going away to appreciate the meaning of home.
It takes leaving to celebrate the beauty of what we have every day.
It takes exploration to realize that all the answers, all the wisdom, all the profound knowing, was there all along, inside us all, in little golden nuggets shining like winks of sunlight from the soul.