Solitary Retreat in Emeryville

Date : January 10, 2016

New Year’s Week 2016

For Christmas this year I got bad news. FYI, if you can, never set a doctor’s appointment for Christmas Eve. I wish I could have, but it was the first opportunity for me to see any doctor since moving to California. I had a few symptoms that were bothering me, so I took what I could get. At that appointment the doctor confirmed that I should be concerned about these symptoms and we set up an MRI and bloodwork.

Emeryville Blues

Emeryville Blues

I had planned to staff a meditation retreat at the San Francisco Shambhala Center the following week, but this potentially life changing news called for a change of plans. I was scheduled to loft sit for an artist friend in Emeryville at one of the oldest artist co-ops in the area.

Reaching for the Sky

Reaching for the Sky

In the 14 years since I lived in CA, this industrial town at the eastern base of the Bay Bridge shifted from light industry and funky artist’s lofts to tech start-ups and Pixar Studios.

Emeryville Shores

Emeryville Shores

Mirrored Reality

Mirrored Reality

To be there between the holidays was an eerie scene as there was virtually no one on the streets. Just a couple blocks over, across 40th St., the shopping mall was teeming with humanity.

The streets around me were an odd mix of Mad Max ruin and sanitized new tech construction.

Decorating After the Fall

Decorating After the Fall

Except for the artist’s loft complex, nature was boxed and regimented in neat squares with empty park benches (that I would later see filled by returning employees the following week).

Bent Trees

Bent Trees

The loft complex was a mini-Garden of Eden ala Dr. Seuss, with succulents, vines, loads of fruit bearing bushes and trees from kiwis to kumquats.

Dr. Seuss' Garden of Eden

Dr. Seuss’ Garden of Eden

Hens and Chicks

Hens and Chicks

It reminded me that there was a wealth of creative energy hidden behind the sterile rectilinear exteriors.

Color Amidst Uniformity

Coloring Outside the Lines

Color Blast

Color Blast

I committed myself to a week of solo meditation practice to draw on the inner reserves to face the challenges ahead. During my mid-day walks I recorded moments of awareness I found compelling about this foreign environment.

Rusted Kurukulle

Fire Hydrant Dakini

Now less than a week later, the vividness is already fading.Up and DownHere are postcards from the journey, frozen in digital form.

Waiting to Get Hitched

Waiting to Get Hitched

Peek a Boo

Peek-a-Boo

No need to hold on, it’s futile any way, the consciousness that responded to these sights is already gone.

Reflected Geometry

At one point in my walk on a particularly mentally dark day, I came upon a STOP sign, as if I had never seen one before, as if it were speaking only to me. STOP it said.

Resting the mind

The dark ramblings in my head ceased, and I returned to an afternoon of sitting practice with renewed appreciation for the world around me and gratitude. It doesn’t last, but it can arise spontaneously, as I remain open, seeing fresh again and again.

Can't Fail Cafe

Can’t Fail Cafe

As I go forward, I am not sure how my health will shape me, my world and my creative expression, except that I know it will. What I do value is that my spiritual practice, and in particular, meditation will serve to sustain me through it all. Oh, art and cats help too.

Zorro on the Couch

Zorro on the Couch

 

Comments (13)

Guy

Deeply moving. An emotional journey chronicled in visual poetry. Love the captions. I felt like I was walking in your shoes and heart. A blog post as art form – who knew!

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    Thank you for the heartfelt response to this work. It means a great deal to feel that the imagery and words captured the essence of the journey so far. Stay tuned…

    2 years ago
Karen Monahan

Becky these images ARE visual poetry. I can’t say it better than it was said in the previous comment. It does seem that the images invite us to see through the eyes of your heart. What am amazing experience! I would love to keep walking beside you as you journey through this. I hope you will continue to invite us in.

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    Thank you, Karen. Your comment means a great deal to me. To know that there is something redeeming to come from this. I will continue to post.

    2 years ago
Joy kish

Groundlessness is a portal?

Where one sees like this?

Oh.

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    Groundlessness is truth. It is our sense of certainty and security that is the illusion. Pure experience, fluid and ever-changing.

    2 years ago
John Dwyer

Deeply moving… to read your words… and to view your light filled images. Together their potent blend of challenge, spaciousness, sitting presence and visioning the immortal dance of light & form. You ARE life inspired! Keep on growing… through all the moments, no matter what comes your way. In that, you and your journey are Sacred.

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    Thank you, John. It is my challenge and gift to dance with space. This body continues to be my teacher and guide. May it be of benefit to others.

    2 years ago
Tom Paiement

Just dynamite stuff Becky. Strong strong mental thoughts too.
Keep on truckin Becky.
It is one CRAZY journey.
Tom in Woolwich.

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    Thanks, Tom. You hang in there too! Let me know if you head West for awhile, perhaps I’ll head south to visit.

    2 years ago
Susan

So wonderful but yet so strange Like a post from another planet I hope you continue to find resolution with your health and body My thoughts are with you always Love Sue

2 years ago
    rebekahy

    I agree. Solitary retreat can be like that. A place out of time, or another planet, yet it is a reality within/or parallel to what we consider “normal”. Thank you for your love and concern.

    2 years ago
Kathy

Beautiful words and pictures Becky. You are in my thoughts and practice for positive lab results and manageable health! Love to you.

2 years ago

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