My mom and I spent a weekend at The Art of Living Retreat Center this summer. We'd been looking for yoga retreats for years, but most of them didn't fit our calendars. This one finally did, and it was in Boone, NC, so it was easy for my mom to fly in.
When we went, we took advantage of the mother-daughter retreat, which we could schedule any time, including (in coordination with my summer teaching schedule) Thursday through Saturday.
Our stay there included a room near the spa, pottery, yoga and meditation, massages, and three vegetarian meals every day.
Our pottery session was scheduled right after we arrived, and it was so much fun! Getting dirty and doing something with my hands (which I haven't really been able to) was a great way to start off the weekend of relaxation.
In addition to the planned activities, we came up with some mother-daughter stuff that, while cheesy, was a lot of fun. Honestly, a few weeks before our trip, we both got worried that the retreat would be too yoga-y, that everyone would be really intense, that our Diet Coke habit would be shunned. So we started planning things that we liked to supplement the trip. For example, we bought a handful of books on our way up to the mountains, committing to read at least one each while we were there so that we could trade before my mom left.
I also ordered us One Question A Day books, in which you can record the answer to one question every day for five years. That sounds like pressure, but it's really not. The questions are short, and if you skip a day, it's not a big deal. It also gave my mom and I something to talk about while we were there and a conversation to carry on afterwards.
The best part, I think, was that we brought our laptops, but neither one of us opened then.
Of course, the mountains and facilities were gorgeous. We had not idea that this place was there. It's a huge retreat for the Art of Living Foundation founded by the mediation guru Sri Sri.
The truth about the yoga and the meditation and the chanting is that some were better than others. I was not into the chanting at all. It was fun watching other people get into it, but it was not for me. I basically just said "banana" over and over, so we only went once. The mediation was actually really good; it was fun to just be quiet and center myself, be just in my body. (Okay, I admit it; I did fall asleep one time, and my mom almost interrupted all the other mediators by laughing at me.) And the yoga wasn't quite as awesome as some yoga studios I've been to, but it was fine. It was different and the atmosphere was amazing.
Finally, we see that the woman we’ve come to think of as Mom — whether she’s nurturing, or disapproving, or thoughtful, or delusional, or pestering, or supportive, or sentimental — is also a mysterious, fun, brave babe.
I actually think it was the best trip my mom and I have taken together in years (not that our other trips weren't great). This was just the best. We both got away from our lives and were able to connect to ourselves and each other.