I made a last-minute decision to go on a weekend yoga retreat by myself, in a fairly desperate need to get away from my son and husband and not have to do things for them or clean up after them for 2 days.
The hardest part of being a mom to young kid for me is never being alone and never being done with tasks. Sometimes (=always) I feel like all I do with my life is clean up after and otherwise take care of my child and husband. I needed to be left alone for a couple of days to restore.
The weekend retreat fell during my month of Aparigraha, so my intentions were to: be open and vulnerable with new people; not have expectations at all, especially with the yoga style being taught; relax and enjoy the serenity of not having to take care of anyone but myself for 48 hrs. I would not try to grasp for perfection or seek 100% satisfaction; I would be grateful for every simple, peaceful moment.
That's exactly what I did and it worked out so much better than I could have expected, had I had expectations.. Going into the weekend with an open and clear mind allowed me to open to and enjoy each activity and experience. Sometimes (often?) I go into situations a little defensively, almost looking for things to disappoint me and finding plenty. But not this weekend; I was just so happy to be AWAY, BY MYSELF, that everything was pleasant and enjoyable.
I met some very nice yoginis, but was not attached to making new friends. I took part in all group activities, but also took to my private tent for afternoon alone time and did not feel like I was missing out on what the other ladies were doing. I fell in love with foraging and learning about the local edible plants instead of feeling antsy at too much information. I allowed myself to be led in easy yoga classes, rather than wishing we were doing more challenging poses. I ate the food that was arranged for us and didn't dwell on the 'meh' quality or choices.
The only thing I didn't go along with was making S'mores because I think S'mores are a fundamentally dumb invention and 100% overhyped.
Even the 5+hour bus ride to and from were fine for me: I got to catch up on tons of reading and just staring out the window.
I wish I could enter all experiences with this open receptiveness and no-expectation attitude. I know I would be a more pleasant person and suffer far less disappointment. Hopefully I can take the attitude of "no expectations" with me going forward.
Firelight camps in Ithaca, NY (highly recommend) with Karen Shelley, who is now based in North Carolina.