Sunday, July 27, 2008

I went to Guru Camp!

OMG! Are you as shocked as I am?

No, not the fact that I went to Guru Camp, although that in itself is an interesting story, which of course I'll tell you in just a second.

What I mean is that I'm actually writing another post!!

It's hard to believe so much time has gone by without updating all my adoring fans on the facinating details of my life. Yet it's true.

One would think with all this time off, away from the computer, that I would actually get something productive done.

Oh how I really wish I could say that were true, and rattle off a long list of all my amazing accomplishments.

Sad to say, the honest truth is I've been doing a lot of ...


Oh and gardening.

Did I just hear a gasp?

Not sure if that was aimed towards the fact that I actually spent over a month cleaning my house rather than blogging, or the fact that I, a convicted plant killer, took up gardening.

I guess it could go both ways huh?

Anyhoo, I'm back. You're thrilled right?

Now, I bet you all are wondering who the fellow in the picture is right?

Well I'll tell you, that is my happy little guru. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Not to be confused with the sitar player of the same name.

Because believe me, I really stood out in class, when I excitedly announced, "Really? Ravi Shakar is coming! I love his music!"

Um yeah. I'm the American dork.

Here's how it all started. My sister in-law who was taking part two, told my husband and I about this course offered through the Art of Living.

The class was everynight for 5 days, and totaled 20 hours.

It promised all kinds of goodies. Relaxation and breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, yoga, meditation, and words of wisdom from the main man himself.

Hold on a minute. Did I see, reduction of anxiety?

Some of you may or may not know, that I suffer from anxiety every since I was put on disability last year. Sometimes it's bad enough that I get panic attacks.

Naturally this class sounded perfect for me. Haven't I always heard that to relieve anxiety and stress you should breathe properly and meditate?

But haven't I always been too lazy to do it?

Seems like I should take this opportunity.

The only catch was, I didn't want to. I was afraid to go, because I thought I would have anxiety being in class so long.

Yeah. You heard that right.

Naturally I pulled every card I could think of not to go, from the cost per person, to my diabetic cat.

All the roadblocks I set up were neatly knocked down by my husband.

So I gave in and went. The first day was six hours long! One of my fears was not being able to leave the room. I hate disrupting people and felt it would be rude if, say I had to use the restroom. Considering my bladder is roughly the size of a grape, I have to go. Often. Plus they wanted us to drink 3 liters of water everyday! You might as well conduct the class in the bathroom, cause that's where we all will be if we drank that much.

The morning of the first day, I awoke in terror. Something horrifying occurred to me. What if, they make us be all touchy feeley with each other, and share our feelings with the class?

I hate speaking in public! I would be mortified should this happen. When I shared this fear with my husband he assured me that they wouldn't dare do such silly things.

So we walk into class.

Not only did we have to speak in public, and share our feelings all five days, but we also had to do crazy things, like dance by yourself in the middle of the room, while the rest of the class is holding hands in a huge circle around you.

Not everyone was had to do it, but of course my nervousness stood out like a beacon, and I was the second one picked. I nearly died of embarrassment.

If I had been properly inebriated I would have let it all hang out and put on, quite a show.

Unfortunately I was sober and forgot every single dance move I ever knew. Including the sorry white man side to side shuffle. So I stood there frozen giggling like an idiot til my turn was up.

Yes it is funny. Go ahead and laugh. I certainly am. Now.

I actually loosened up quite a bit after the first day. I was forced to push the boundries of my social limits. That was not in the brochure!

The rest of the class, we learned fancy breathing/relaxation techniques.

Why haven't I tried mediation before? It's like a bonus nap! Talk about relaxation. I can barley walk straight when I'm done. Love it! In fact it was during meditation tonight that I though to write this post!

Did I use enough exclamation points in that last paragraph?

We also learned a top secret breathing skill, which I can't divulge. He-he.

Seriously though. That? Freaked me out. It is basically controlled hyperventalating.

Um.. for someone with panic attacks, this is a no-no. Needless to say I had a major anxiety attack. And I'm thinking, I paid money for this? I can have one for free anytime I want.

I was very discouraged after that day. I did not want to go back. And it was only the second class.

But you know what. I did. I faced my fear and sat through another session. Only I did it on my own terms, and it worked out just fine.

Basically I had a great time. Once I got used to the heavy breathing, (sounds naughty doesn't it?) and talking about feelings with strangers I found that I was having fun.

And after each class we got to go to Satsang, which was a huge room filled with 1000 people, singing, dancing or meditating, and listening to Sri Sri talk.

This was one of my favorite parts. I love listening to him. The things he said, I was able to apply to my life. Oh and the bonus is, he's very funny!

Apparently we were lucky that he was there. I guess he doesn't go to all the classes, but this was part of his US Tour.

I learned so much through this course, and I use the skills everyday. Believe me it has helped. A lot.

I now know how to relax.

I know it's hard to believe, but I actually feel...

At peace.


Authors note: If the spacing on here Is all wacky, I apologize. Blogger is doing some weird stuff, and won't let me fix it.


Practically Joe said...

Wow! That must have been real challenging for you. Congrats to you that you succeded in getting through it. You should be proud of yourself!
As for the weird spaces being caused by Blogger ... I thought you were doing some meditative breathing between typing your thoughts.

Lilly's Life said...

Michelle - wow you are back I missed your posts but the wait was well worth while. Congratulations for going on this course - it is brave and you did it and came out the other side feeling more positive. When I read your post I thought, yes I would have felt the same too...I get so nervous about courses such as this. Reinforce what you learnt and I hope the peace continues. You are a fabulous writer and your posts make me smile....and relax....ommmmmmm

Jane Turley said...

Good to see you back Michelle!

The grape thing.. I have the same problem. Whoever thought up the idea that drinking gallons of water everyday was good for you obviously had the bladder of an elephant. I've had 3 kids - my bladder is a sieve. Sneezing is baaaddd.

Also I'm glad to hear you are also a convicted plant killer! Cripes, I love that plastic stuff....

The Rev. said...

Glad to see you back!

The class sounds like an incredible experience - Ravi Shankar actually came up here (to Memphis) a few months back to perform, but sadly I didn't have $50 burning a whole in pocket at that moment. In retrospect, I clearly should have just thrown it on a credit Live and learn.

I'm jealous of your relaxation techniques; my technique consists of going to the gym and excreting about two pounds of sweat over the course of a few miles. After that, I'm completely exhausted (and, I suppose, relaxed).

Good luck with the gardening (my mini peppers and squash are getting HUGE).

-The Rev.

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LadyBanana said...

Hey, where are you??

Jolene said...

lmao, you are funny! I just came across your blog through Entrecard, I hope you get to blogging more! I love the spunk in your posts!

BlueRidgeLady said...

Hi Michele! I laughed and laughed at your story, I can imagine me trying to do that, guess that's what was so funny, I would have been the same way! Wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog. I will be back!!