I just gave myself the most lovely gift of a weekend retreat in silence.  My time was filled with meditation, yoga, healthy food, fresh air and insight.   The retreat took place at the Galilee centre in Arnprior, Ontario, a sacred spot populated by a forest of Oak trees and families of acrobatic squirrels.  We were lead by Daryl Lynn Ross, a beautiful and gentle teacher who held a safe space and shared her wisdom to our intimate group.

The theme of the weekend was compassion and insight.  Something that I thought I understood and lived very well.  As a Naturopathic doctor who eats primarily a vegetarian organic diet, is environmentally conscious, has a daily yoga practice and is committed to nurturing meaningful relationship I thought I had “it covered’.

And then I took a seat on my cushion, inhaled deeply and… realized I had much to learn.   Through Daryl’s teachings I began to see the areas of my life where I lacked compassion.  The pain and suffering that is caused through judging myself and others, the work involved by holding onto anger and resentment and the true freedom that comes with an open and accepting heart.

As I went deeper into my silence I began to sense that compassion is not a lifestyle or a role that we take on.  It is a way of being.    I learned that compassion is not complacency rather there is a true strength and courage that comes from the compassionate life.

As I move back into my daily life filled with emotional triggers, old story lines and fantasies about the future I am grateful for this offering of compassion and acceptance to myself and others.