It took me a minute to see this one
Judgy towel dispenser
Zen garden bathtub
Happy threshold is happy you've arrived...or are leaving
This is Tully, a sweet and docile pointer.
In February I was, once again, Nancy's grateful guest at a Veteran's retreat in Mill Valley. Our trip actually started the day before the retreat, as I decided it would be more relaxing to have a hotel nearby rather than have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the coast by 9am.
Nancy and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Marin Joe's! I used to love going to the Joe's in San Jose when I grew up there, and when we first moved to Sac there was a Joe's here but it has since closed. I was excited to see this Joe's right near our hotel, and happy that Nancy enjoyed it so much!
Shrimp and avocado salad
Nancy's first-ever REAL Cesar salad
Veal piccata with spaghetti
Spaghetti and meatballs
Having this day ahead of the retreat -- driving, dining, sleeping and a little bit more driving -- was a welcome bonding time for me and Nancy. She has been through hell lately and I was happy to play a part in some welcome R&R for her.
The retreat was held this time at Green Gulch Farm. What a lovely place!
We spent the morning in meditation and conversation. Each participant was given an opportunity to share a little bit about themselves. This time the guests were split about 50/50 - veterans and those without military service. Some we had met last month, and some were new friends. Each was encouraged to say what they wished about their service (or not), what changes they are currently facing in life, and what they are using to work through those changes (meditation, journaling, gardening, exercise, etc.)
An assistant then put a blanket down in the center of the room and laid out rocks that had been mindfully selected for us from the surrounding gardens. We were asked to choose a rock (or let it choose us) and then, since this retreat was very much about communing with nature, our rock was used in our next meditation. This was the first time I had used a "prop" during meditation and it was an interesting new experience.
At noon we moved to the dining room where we were served yam bisque, green salad and fresh bread. Everything was delicious and sourced from the farm right there. The first ten minutes of lunch is always spent in silence. It is a big challenge for some.
After lunch the group walked through the gardens, pausing to experience the moment each time the Inkin was rung.
Entering the garden path - the Ōgane
Herb garden ready for planting
My favorite flower
Helleborus foetidus, aka stinking hellebore
Entrance to the circular meditation garden.
There was one of these at each of the north, south, east and west points.
Center of the circular garden
Spring flowers under the tree
I really like lichen
A hint of things to come
After our walk we returned to the yurt. The group did some more guided meditation, played an "awareness game" with cushions and nerf balls, and then found words or pictures in magazines to glue to our rocks. Mine was simple and to the point. Based on what was on my mind and the changes I've personally been working through lately, I felt this was all I needed to say that day.