Two days off horse training in the middle of this retreat was a good idea. It worked really well for me, anyways — I needed a bit of down time, time to absorb and take a few breaths and reflect. On Wednesday morning I got some work done that had been weighing on my mind, and then caught a ride into town to hit the thrift shop and look for something to read since I’d finished the book I brought with me: Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje — which was a lovely poetic, meditative story that I was sad to finish way too early on my train ride here. I found two books at the thrift store: one that I hadn’t heard of before (Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison) but chose because it was pretty much the only one that really spoke to me, and then I also grabbed a copy of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf just in case. Back at the lodge I did a bit more work and then had a massage. I’m SO super glad I signed up for that even though I had to think hard about spending the money. But a good massage is always worth it. Afterward I caught another ride back to town to meet up with 3 of the others who had gone in shopping. I followed them around and browsed a few shops, then we had dinner together at a really nice Mexican restaurant.
Thursday was my birthday. It was a really nice day from start (a Skype meeting about an exciting new work opportunity) until finish (a call with my love, a bit of my current favourite show, and not too late to sleep). In between I spent the day wandering around Ouray, a super scenic little town with amazing shops. I don’t do a lot of shopping on a normal basis but it was so much fun to wander around all day looking at all the things and not buying anything (with $16.00 in my pocket and $62.00 in my bank account, it wasn’t too hard to resist). But I did spend a bit on lunch (a glass of delish brown ale and an amazing warm, cheesy corn dip with tortilla chips) and I bought a stick of santo palo ($2) and I would have bought a shampoo bar if I had found one — I asked in pretty much every store but no dice. When we got home just before dinner I was surprised with carrot cake cupcakes with candles, a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday, and a lovely gift, followed by really nice evening visiting at the lodge with my new friends.
We’re at the point in the retreat when friendships are growing and solidifying, and I feel so lucky to be spending time with this group of amazing women, although we’ve had one guy hanging out with us since last night, and that is also really nice. But being in a circle of women is feeding something in my soul that doesn’t get fed enough, and I have a super deep (and growing) appreciation for this opportunity to be here, in this company of women who are all so different and so amazing in their own ways. It’s a pretty great group, I have to say. Not that I’m really surprised by that…. there is a certain magic when women gather, and if you add some horses and some stunning landscape and a step outside of our ordinary lives into the mix — it is no wonder that it becomes extraordinary and healing and honestly above all, fun. So there is that.
But today, Day 6 of the retreat, was another hard/frustrating one for me. I’m struggling with Mirror — there’s no other way to put it. I think she’s a challenging case, but I also think things are coming up because of my lack of experience or inadvertent mistakes or … honestly, I’m just grasping at straws here because I actually have no idea what’s really going on or why. We’re having to back pedal to address Mirror’s nippiness, although her relaxation is a lot better. Today the set-up was a bit different and she charged at Calibri less (maybe only once or twice), and only wandered off a few times. But she’s starting to take the food from my hand with her teeth instead of her lips, and she’s nipping me in the process as well as getting nippy towards my wrist/arm, which feels like it might be frustration. Maddy worked with her a bit to see if she had the same problem (not really), and has come to the conclusion that I need to deliver the food reward in a different way: cupping my hand and kind of tilting it upside down instead of holding it lower, which allows Mirror to take the food with her teeth and nip me — probably accidentally, but still. Not fun for me at all. Maddy figures that I can avoid this by holding the food higher toward the top lip, and cupping the hand in a certain way so the food just falls if she tries to nip, thereby avoiding reinforcing the teethy/nippy thing. I’m struggling to master this different way of holding/delivering the food, however, because it feels quite a bit more awkward and I’m still not 100% sure about exactly what I need to do differently — it’s subtle and hard to see, but we captured some video that might (hopefully) help me figure it out.
Sooo, it’s another early bed time for me because I’m exhausted & a bit dejected, and I just want to curl up and be warm and drift off to sleep. Hoping for some insight and change tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.