My mother is still living. I am grateful for that.
My mother and I get along well. In that, we are fortunate.
Furthermore, although she is an octogenarian, my mother is in reasonably good health. Another reason for gratitude.
Her interests are varied, and she’s willing to try new things. My mother has always been quietly innovative about life. She has pursued alternative therapies for health and emotional well-being, read difficult texts, studied disciplines and subjects that challenged her, traveled the world, lived in foreign lands.
Mostly, she has been a care-giver of one kind or another. This past weekend, I took my mother with me to a Qigong and Mindfulness retreat, thinking she could use a couple of days of restorative practices and a little time off from care-giving for others in order to care for herself. In addition to several hours of “medical qigong” (Yi gong), we learned some practices for spiritual qigong (Tao gong), got information about implementing a plant-based diet, observed a tea ceremony, tried our hands at Chinese bamboo brush painting, and followed a labyrinth path in a walking meditation. It was quite a significant conclusion (of sorts) to my recent weeks of thinking about consciousness as presented by various “Western” thinkers on the subject.
Kirkridge Retreat Center hosted the weekend. Kirkridge’s organization is dedicated to peace, compassion, and community–to the concerns of social justice and to individual healing. It is a peaceful place, located on a steep, wooded hill. The setting alone fosters a sense of restorative energy. Our teachers were excellent, informative, and full of grace. The meals were terrific. The crickets sang sweetly and the moon shone amidst the clouds. My mother and I felt grateful for the event, the weather, the place, the people, for the breaths animating our bodies and for one another.