When my husband proposed the idea of us going on meditation retreat together for Labor Day weekend my first words were "I'll miss the kids but if we're going to go away together could it at least be romantic?" He being spiritual and a fine architecture lover read about Won Dharma Center in Architectural Digest and didn't give me a sign that he would skip this retreat. Won Dharma is a Korean Buddhist center who offers a variety of retreats from family to solo experiences. For this weekend it was a silent retreat with a girl's and boy's separate dormitory. Not what I had in mind, mostly because before I met my husband I spent over ten years visiting retreat centers like this and I immediately associate sitting with myself for hours at a time with my past and moving through deep pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering always exists and at the moment it is running at a mild pace. With Amit's persistence and knowing attaching labels to something is never a good thing I opened myself up to the Won Dharma experience realizing that I don't always have the right answer.
Won Dharma Center is super clean, filled with Zen sharp lines amidst a country back round along with the best dormitory accommodations I've ever experienced on a meditation or yoga retreat. I didn't take any indoor pictures as each time I was indoors I was meditating. Within the meditation hall is wide open space adorned with no deities rather a huge golden circle. This image is meant for the beholder to process. My interpretation is that once we sit and shed judgments we realize everything and everyone comes from one source.
|Vintage paper hat from Bloomingdale's, tunic Monsoon, London|
|Tunic, vintage from India, necklace www.forever21.com|
When it comes to packing for a meditation retreat I suggest keeping a neutral color story. I packed only white, navy blue, denim, straw hats and bags with costume silver jewelry. I believe Friday's blue moon was my inspiration.
Also I made sure my clothes were light weight and gave me the proper coverage necessary for meditating and long walks in the country. When I was a younger yogini I never understood why wearing short shorts and a tank top was a no no when it came to sitting in a sangha/group. Now I do. Ladies, you don't need the attention. Meditating is about drawing your energy in, not getting noticed. Besides you will not be working up a sweat as you sit.
My suggestion is, over time invest in a variety of tunics, and good ones. They will last you a lifetime and are timeless pieces. If what I'm sharing doesn't inspire you to cover up in a meditation hall then at least for practical reasons wearing long sleeves and ankle length tights will lessen your mosquito and possibly tick bites.
|Shades www.forever21.com Earrings, NYC street vendor|
|Tunic www.zara.com tights & booties www.forever21.com|
Light summer booties like these were perfect for long dusty walks on the prairie.
After long periods of meditation you get really good at speaking with your eyes.
On our way to Won Dharma we discovered the town of Hudson, New York. It is filled with great restaurants, style, antiques and charm. I felt like I was in the country version of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Although this spot is better priced.
Because of discovering such a hip town, we decided to redefine our spiritual retreat to match where we are now as a couple. We did so by leaving the center in the evenings to stroll through town, browse through shops, eat and discuss our experiences. This semi silent retreat was just perfect for us.
|Bag, vintage and gifted|
A teaching that stuck with me from the weekend is, the only way to clear muddy water, our conscience, is to let it sit. Eventually density will settle below and light will shine through the open space.