Monday, 22 July 2013

Where I've Been

Remember how I've said that I wanted to obtain peace in my to-do list? Well I've finally done it. I've been missing for the past few days because I went for this silent retreat at this place called the Maranatha Retreat House.

Alright the words 'silent retreat' is not as scary as you think it is. Many of you would probably shun away and go into hiding at the sound of the word 'silent'. I still remember the long tormenting days in kindergarten where our punishment for doing anything that was deemed unacceptable or bad behaviour, would be the Silent Chair.Basically, this punishment was just sending kids to a chair at the corner of the class or wherever it is. And the kid would have to sit there till he or she knows what he has done wrong.

But most of the time, it works on the contrary.
Haha to be honest most of us would just sit there and plan our revenge on the other kid.

Regardless the reason people are so afraid of silence, be it cuz of kindergarten or any life experience, the 'silent' in the 'Silent Retreat' was a good one.
It was four days and 3 nights altogether. At first I was really nervous of what will actually happen and I really did not know what to expect since it was my first retreat afterall.
 Lol the leaves on the little plant behind looks like my hair is flying around.

Surprisingly, it was a really pleasant experience! I mean the location they chose to built this retreat house was really good. It was on top of a mountain, so it was chilly and not hot and humid like how we struggle to pull through this condition every single day of our lives. In addition, it was so peaceful there because of the trees and forest surrounding it.

I hope you're not visualizing the movie, Cabin In The Woods right now. Because if you are, hold your little ponies.

The retreat centre was really beautiful and what amazed me the most was, most of their furnitures were from Ikea. On top of that, not a speck of dust or spider web was found in our rooms. Everything was in tip-top condition. Don't mess kay xD.

Our dorm.

 The guys' dorm.

The whole retreat was not as quiet as I thought it would be. It is encouraged but it isn't forced upon you. So if you're as thick-skinned as me, this would not be a problem for you. At all. You can still talk la but just at a minimal level, and make sure there's no one glaring at you.
Apparently I can't live with silence. All three nights I was talking and sharing stories with my room buddy, Samantha. Not to mention,  Odelia and Michelle as well who was next door.

But I guess it was alright, as we had a nice little catch up session with everyone, though it was not the purpose of this retreat haha.

The first day when we arrived, there was not really anything much. We were sent to bed quite early at 8pm. But of course we young and hyped up people immediately took advantage of it and stayed up till 2.30am.

That was not a really smart move I would say, as we had to gather at 7am the next day. The second day we had two sessions which they called a conference, a bible sharing session and alot of breaks in between. I would say these three were what struck me the most.

The only thing which actually got to me on the second day was a really rude uncle. It was tea time in the morning and I was sitting there eating. An auntie came to me to ask whether it was my first time here and etc. So of course I replied but with like really short answers cuz I knew we were supposed to be quiet. Then my friends came along and sat with me and one of them started to talk to me, and what can I do but to reply. I can't remember what we were talking about but we lowered our voices. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulders and saw this uncle standing there. I thought he needed help or something.

 He asked me: "Do you know why I sat outside just now?"

In my head I thought to myself that I did not even know he was here in the first place. So instead of saying that I replied No.

He said: "Your talking really disturbs me."
And then he just gave me a really stern, bitchy look and stared at me.

So I replied : "Oh I'm sorry. Peace be with you."

At that moment I wanted to say so many things. I wanted to fight back and claim my dignity. I wanted to ask him back: "If God is with me, who should be against me?"
Alot of thoughts ran through my mind before I really felt mad and angry.

Firstly, it was the fact that he was a Catholic. Secondly, it was the fact that both of us were here for the same purpose: peace. Thirdly, how can little things such as abit of talking (not even noise) disturb you if you are really here for the right purpose? Fourth, it was tea time. It was not as though you were praying as you eat.
Fifth, you could've asked me to shut up it in a more polite manner, instead of giving a general and pointless statement and expecting me to interpret what your true meaning was. If your purpose was to insult my voice, then thank you very much, you managed to do it perfectly well. You could've just said a simple "SHHHHH". I'd get your point. Sixth, how come my friend who started the conversation and was as loud as me (if I was even loud) did not get a single look from you, instead smiles throughout the entire four days from you?

I was really mad for awhile but then we had our second session of the day, and I came to realization that I shouldn't feel a thing for this guy. I realised that I should be a better person not only to the people I love or like but also to the people who hate me or I dislike. That I should accept others as they are, after all everyone was made in the image and likeness of God. Even though he failed to do the same for me, what better would I be as a person if I did the same to him when he was talking.

The session gave me alot of insight and understanding on why we should act this way instead of rebelling against the people we hate/ dislike. You'd probably be waiting for my reason, but it's not something explainable. I'll try though. This is because the way we think will ultimately influence our body and spirit. From what my little mind is able to fathom from this statement, it's like how we get sicknesses for no reason. Most major sicknesses such as cancer for one, can be caused by stress. And stress forms from the mind.

So when the mind is not healthy, it can affect the body and spirit as well. Same goes with harbouring hate and treating the person as shitty as possible. When you do that (say revenge), you'd realize you only feel victorious for a second probably, and then the rest of the time you'd worry on what might that person do back unto you. Eventually, worrying causes stress and that little second of victory you had will backfire upon yourself and cause you misery or worse, a sickness which can't be healed. This is just understanding it at a personal level. There's also an understanding of it in a spiritual level, which I won't go into.

Alright I shan't dwell into that any longer, cuz that was not the purpose of this blogpost LOL. During our break times, we would venture out into the wilderness and walk around. Ok maybe it's not that wild since we only saw like two baboons at the side of the path the entire time we were there. The air was cool so it was even more fun to walk and jump around the place.

 Came across this random dog.

 I think it was flirting with me.

 One of my friends called this an accorn.

 Sigh. The best shot we got together.

Inside the retreat house, was really lovely as well. Coming to this place felt like we were coming back to mother nature again. It had it's fair share of beauty.

 The chapel 

 The little pond.

The priest who facilitated our sessions was super cool. He also has a pretty good sense of humour, which can crack up the entire room. He really inspired and motivated me to be a better person as a whole, and to also continue to pick up the crosses in my life. This place really opened up my eyes to the beauty of everything. Life, happiness, suffering, and even pain.

 No matter how tough life gets for you, just remember that someone has already experienced what you're experiencing, and has conquered it.

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