In June, I went with a friend to Tassajara Zen Center overnight—which isn't really enough time to truly "check out" of reality, though it was a very pleasant visit.
Now I am at Green Gulch Farm, another property of San Francisco Zen Center. It's a working farm (they supply much of the produce for Greens Restaurant, which itself was founded in 1979 by the SF Zen Center), near Muir Beach on Hwy 1 north of the City. With another friend. This time for two nights.
The guest house we're staying in, Lindisfarne, is beautiful: "green" construction, with lots of wood and whitewash and light. The bed is super comfy. There's a desk for writing, a sofa downstairs for lounging (in front of a wood fire if it gets cold). Fruit snacks, hot water for tea. Three vegetarian meals—straight out of the garden—a day. All for only $90 a night.
There's even electricity, which there isn't at Tassajara—for over three times the cost. Really "getting away" comes at a price, apparently.
I looked at my phone on arrival and saw I had no service. Good. I've been checking email and Facebook (yes, despite my vow the other day) far too often.
All of a sudden, I felt more relaxed: the idea of putting my phone away came as a release. Knowing I won't be getting any text messages or emails means I don't have to feel guilty (for not responding to a SAR call-out), irritated (at a friend's shoddy communication skills), or less than competent (I sent a sample edit to an author, which invariably brings anxiety until I get a response).
I can, I thought, just put the phone down and be present.
But of course, once I got installed in my room—books and journals arranged on the desk, clothes put away—and pulled out my laptop to write a blog post (as a TXT file, to save and post later), I decided to check the wi-fi. And darn it, there is wi-fi.
Which is good for posting my blog, but . . . I was happy to have an enforced break from the internet.
So I guess I still have to put some effort into being mindful.
But at least there's no better place to practice that.
We may go to the zendo for 5:15 meditation practice. (I will not be going at 5:45 tomorrow morning, though.) I will certainly go for a wander through the vegetable and flower gardens. I will kick back and read. I will enjoy the simple lifestyle here.
I still won't be getting text messages. So that's a good thing.
And now, something I never (ever) do: I think I'll take a little nap.