Hehe. The morning tribulations of mk continue :)
Last week I secreted away to Kadampa Meditation Center in Glen Spey, New York.
To start my school semester off right, I looked on a help exchange website (helpx.net if anyone is interested!) to see about any remote, mountainous locations that needed some help. These help exchanges--WWOOF is a really popular one--are among the best ways to travel on the cheap. You can stay for a few days or a few weeks or even longer, working for about 20-25 hours a week for room and board. I thought I'd maybe find a secluded cabin or a ranch but a few pages into the listings I found a description of a Buddhist retreat and meditation center. They needed help preparing for some large groups coming this fall and I figured I could be of use (groundskeeping mainly, but I also mouse-proofed a pantry. Did you know that there are no lethal mouse traps in a Buddhist temple?) I signed up and went off alone about 5 hours north of Baltimore.
It was as rejuvenating an experience as I could have hoped for. Worked alongside and broke bread with buddhist nuns and full-time residents, as well as some other working visitors, most of whom were foreign college-aged students from places like Zambia, Switzerland, China, and Spain. There was an eight hour workday--which is actually longer than the typical four or five hours required on help exchanges--with three square vegan meals and breaks interspersed throughout. This is really crazy but I think those four days were the longest I've gone vegetarian that I can remember. And we meditated. In the morning, after dinner, 15 minutes or for an hour. It was so useful to practice.
School started this week. I'm feeling cool as cucumber. Calm as a cow.