my weekend of “the not so big life”

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journals from weekend of note taking at weekend with sarah susanka of the not so big life
 when i saw that sarah was going to be at kripalu mid-december, i decided i must sign up. what a divine way to end the year – participating in a year end review with an author whose book was instrumental in my year! it was fortuitous to start the decade at kripalu in 2000 and to end it there this year. such a blessing.
friday began at 5am with a train ride to new york. i dashed out to h&m (my favorite location) during a brief layover and picked up a beautiful one shoulder dress and baby pink legwarmers. the journey to kripalu was dreamy as the train travels along the hudson for 2 hours. ahhhhh. arrived to a snow scape of tranquility. played catch up in the cafe with my laptop for a few hours, noshed on yummy food, and headed to my first session all about intros for the 26 participants. a beautiful blend of women and two men. my excitement kept me up and i didn’t sleep well.
up early for morning meditation and an 8-hour day of workshop. was greeted by a dreamy sunrise. she encouraged us to see thoughts as champagne bubbles. oh, how i loved that imagery! the time together was oodles of processing and discussion. a big emphasis on mindfulness and going toward that which you are rejecting – to note what you are avoiding. we spent about 10 minutes going over 5 questions from her end of year review. the questions we answered were:
how have i spent my time?
what are results of these actions?
what realizations have i had over the past 12 mos?
what has inspired me?
what are the blessings, sorrows, disappointments and how have they changed me?
there was a lot of rumi poetry sharing and a great challenge to change a behavior pattern for three months. in her book she gives the example of no longer drinking wine after work. it’s interesting how we can identify with certain behaviors so intensely and how breaking these up can have an impact on our world as a whole. still pondering which one(s) i will change but have (for the first time in years) been playing with a bit of pink and gray in my wardrobe. also pondering the notion of simpler living (less stuff) and less connection time. to be determined in 2011 dreams post.
sunday was a wrap-up day and i began my journey back hOMe. oui, there was another stop into h&m during my layover for another dress that i had my eye on but told myself to wait and see if i really needed it. um, saw it in a magazine during my retreat and determined it was a sign AND it was only $35. also picked up one of those fuzzy russian style hats that i’ve been donning 24/7 ever since. 
although the workshop wasn’t fully what i’d expected (thought there would be more product via reflection and less process), i enjoyed the experience.  
my takeaways were:
1. read more rumi/poetry
2. infuse mindfulness into everyday
3. explore what i avoid
4. i’ve spent my time doing. want to spend more being.
5. animals, travel, art journaling, time with family and friends, flowers, yoga inspire me
6. slow down and savor experiences at hand
7. change a behavior pattern for 3 months
8. anytime something comes out of your mouth about another person, 
it is a reflection of you. be aware. (uh oh!)
it was a treat to meet sarah in person and to dive into a practical exploration of mindfulness mixed with psychology. her book was transformative for me this year and i look forward to applying more of the principles. here is a link to our podcast interview earlier this year. enjoy!
may we all embrace a sense of mindfulness in all we do. namaste.