A Day of Chill at Writers Theatre
This blog post was written by author and poet, Amy Lee Kite.
As I walked up to the beautifully-designed, captivating Writers Theatre — a place in my hometown that I have marveled at (and in) many times, I immediately felt at ease. The theatre emanates peacefulness with its natural facade, numerous windows and expansive views of the trees, which were swaying effortlessly on this fall day. I had signed up for Chill’s North Shore day-long meditation retreat, and I was already grateful that I had done so.
There were 25 of us who had joined together to meditate, do yoga and be open to whatever Chill’s leaders had in store. I had expected that during this meditation workshop, there would be moments where we broke off into groups and other moments where we would write in journals. I was so pleasantly surprised that, today, there was none of that. Today, we all could just simply be.
We sat on cushions in the theater’s tiered lobby to begin with an opening meditation. We were guided to soften our eyes and look straight ahead at the trees. The image of myself swinging on a hammock in those trees popped into my mind as we were then guided to close our eyes and focus on our breath. That feeling of swaying in the breeze stayed with me the entire day. And, as a mother of three, a dog owner of three and a worker at more than three jobs, that feeling of weightlessness and abandon is not one with which I am often familiar!
After our opening meditation, we enjoyed some coffee or tea. Chill provided their new organic CBD oil for us to drop into our drinks if we desired. Then, we went upstairs for a yoga session. If you have been to Writers Theater in Glencoe, then you are aware of its magnitude, its power, its overwhelming beauty. Now, if you can imagine that inviting space with yoga mats, cushions and blankets, all in subdued grey and black tones, you can envision the way we were all drawn into this welcoming space.
It’s often said that a group’s energy can be palpable, and we certainly were all feeding off of one another. But, I also felt the energy of this structure: The creativity and passion and talent that has circled around these walls lifted me even higher. After the yoga, we had a 30-minute seated meditation. It was guided, making our breathing and comfort almost effortless. I tried and nearly succeeded at clearing my mind of thoughts until my stomach betrayed me — it was time for lunch!
Luckily, Chill had that perfectly taken care of, as well. Not only did we get to enjoy a nutritious, colorful, delicious lunch, but we were guided to bring some awareness to our eating. Even if it was just for one bite, we were to be fully present, appreciating the taste and texture.
While we were eating, there was a DIY station where we had the opportunity to create our own smudge sticks, as we grabbed lavender, thyme, roses, etc. The gift we made for ourselves was something that we could take home and use to clear out energy in our spaces.
But, my favorite part of the retreat was yet to come. After lunch, it was time for an hour-long sound bath — an auditory meditation that took this retreat to a different level for me. The leader, Davin, was so skilled that it did not even seem as if he was performing in any way. It was as if he was being directed by something greater than himself — that his singing and sounds came from another stratosphere. Most of us chose to lay down for this meditation as the sounds reverberated around us and within us. It was a powerful experience, and I felt better for it.
As Davin was saying goodbye to us, he perfectly summed up the day and so much more: He said that if this experience shifted something within us that we should then take that newfound energy and use it to better any and all living things. Just like the sounds he shared, those words will continue to echo within me.