Last July, I took a month away for a self-imposed zen retreat for some R&R (rejuvenation and reawakening) and it ended up being the most creative time in my life. My days were spent getting in touch with my senses whether walking through the peaceful streets of my small village just outside Paris where roses were in full bloom. Of course I stopped to smell them, noting the differences in the aromas that diffused from the variety of colors. I also did what I call creative cooking--never following a recipe--experimenting with colors and ingredients and then savoring every bite. I listened to all kinds of music from Chopin, Muddy Waters and the soothing sound of Jazz to Heavy Metal Metallica and the funky rhythm of World Music. It was my time for creative freedom but was also a very spiritual time when I spent a few days in silence contemplating, writing in my journal, sitting and praying every day in the village's ancient church. There, I rediscovered the beauty of silence and the comfort of that sanctuary where I really felt god was definitely listening and guiding me into my spiritual journey going forward.
Life can be like a rose in full-bloom, but its life also ends. The time on my retreat taught me that with each passing day, I will embrace and cherish the people and things that are the most meaningful to me--those that fill my life with positivity: My loved ones, my faith in god, and paying it forward as much as I can. The world can be very, very cruel place and I am grateful every day I have on this earth with good health, security, food, water, love, and freedom to be me.