Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on August 22, 2013

Well, here I am in the wee hours of the morning with my sandwiches packed. I always pack one more sandwich than I will eat, just in case. Today I made four, but of a different style than usual.

Normally I use some kind of whole-wheat bread with brown rice, avocado, cheese, and olive oil (black pepper of course) in an attempt to stay organic, but my family knows I like to go off the reservation.

So, since it is a one-day (long trip, this time I got four mini white baguettes and loaded them with the following: olive oil, white Chipotle cheddar and aged Swiss cheese, raw horseradish, sweet onion, alfalfa sprouts, and romaine lettuce. And of course, fresh-ground black pepper on top.

To me there is nothing quite as good as eating a sandwich on a long road trip. Every bite is precious and savored, because there is nothing better going on for hours ahead. Those sandwiches, a bag of seedless grapes, and a couple of thermoses of cold water and I am good to go.

I am already up, but things will start moving around here around 3:30 AM, and by five o'clock we should be on the road. We go from our home in Big Rapids, Michigan to Port Huron, Michigan and then across Canada to Buffalo. From there, it is the New York Turnpike all the way to the Saugerties New York exit and then the last eleven miles to Woodstock, and finally we make the 3-mile or so drive up the mountain to the monastery itself. And then we are there and safe for two weeks.

If we are lucky we arrive in time for dinner. If not, I eat that fourth sandwich.

The daily schedule for the retreat is pretty packed. Starting at 5 AM is the Green Tara sadhana, followed by personal practice until breakfast at 7:30 AM. Then it is karma yoga (work) until the teaching starts at 10:30 AM. This lasts until Noon, at which time lunch is on. After lunch, it is either more karma yoga or time to catch a nap. The afternoon session starts at 3:30 AM and runs until 5 PM. At 6 PM there is dinner, followed by Chenresik and Amitabha practice at 7 PM. When that is over there is time for a cup of tea and conversation, but I usually head straight for bed because 5 AM rolls around mighty early. Anyway, I get up around 2 AM most days.

I will try to blog, but we shall see what happens and what kind of time I have.

[Photo of the main shrine room at KTD]