Chug, Chug, Toot, Toot
Want to do something very fun? Have an adventure? Or create a retreat? I was anticipating the fun and would never have guessed that the adventure and retreat would come with the purchase of a ticket.
I bought a ticket on Amtrak for a sleeper berth to San Francisco and spent 21 hours each direction on the train. It was so fun to just sit back and enjoy the ride and not have to drive or fight traffic to get to the airport. A friend drove me to the train station, which is hosted by the volunteers from our local retirement community. We were not searched nor did we have to remove our shoes – except to crawl into the bunk at night.
I ate six very nice meals in the dining car and could have gone to the Parlor Car for a wine tasting experience. There was an activity station and a lounge on board. I was served Champagne upon arrival to my compartment while I was awaiting my first meal – lunch. The meals were a part of the ticket price even though I had packed a bag of food to eat to cover the trip.
I was seated at a table in the dining car with 3 other people and we introduced ourselves and had a nice conversation. New acquaintances to enjoy and even the rather dower older man who held his newspaper in front of his face, came alive as I tried to understand how to take the shuttle bus from my destination station into the city and get off at the correct stop to connect with the Outbound Muni Train.
There were a number of children on the train, and one passenger apparently “cussed” at a couple of them, but that was taken care of quietly without rowdiness. Most of the children were enjoying the adventure part and did not want to hang out with the older folks or the readers.
We went through the heavy snow during the night and awoke to sunshine the next morning.
Stretching long legs was part of the adventure. We had longer stops at several of the stations so I challenged myself to see how many times I could walk the length of the train before we departed.
I read a whole book on my Kindle from beginning to end on the first part of the trip. Sheer bliss!
The shower was warm and good and helped to settle the body for a fair nights rest.
On the return journey I discovered my retreat. My travel partner woke up with a headache and the morning sun streaming in was just too much. So I closed the curtains, turned off the lights and made a dark cave for healing and napping.
I could not use my computer to write, it was too dark to even use the Kindle to read, and I had no desire to play any more games on my Nintendo DS – Brainage. After a few minutes of feeling a bit resentful, I decided to give myself a meditation retreat instead. I decided to be still. My mind wandered at first to our finances and my worries about those issues. I decided to give my stock portfolio a funeral service in my mind and then conjure up a new portfolio deciding what would be the new outcome.
My mind would not let go again, so I focused on how I was going to make magic for our Christmas part of our celebration and what would be my spiritual journey through the holidays and all the company coming and going. I felt myself relaxing with such intense focus and feeling pleased about my plans and ideas.
I then thought about all the people I had talked to and connected wit on this 8 day adventure. I recalled their faces and our words shared and included a little blessing for each one. I thought about all of the people I said goodbye to this year and about what we shared in this life together; a mini memorial and remembrance honoring the times of our lives.
My Mother would have been 95 on the 29th of November, but she left this earth a year and a half ago.
I thought about her, her life, our time together and made a list of the important lessons she was hoping I had learned from her. The birthday celebration was all in my head – a retreat.
I felt refreshed as I left the ride into the rain. It was lovely to crawl into my own bed and sink into the comforter. I was at Peace – I was still.
What do you do when things don’t quite go according to plan? Lemons to Lemonade? How do you find Peace on your journey?