Where I write

Where I write

October 16, 2014

My inner hippie

I had the opportunity to embrace my inner hippie recently at a retreat center in Oregon. Many moons ago, before I discovered sequins, rhinestones and the color pink, I lived like a hippie in the mountains of Colorado. My Hippie 101 curriculum included living with people who drove old cars, never cut their hair, didn't having a savings account. We shared a funky house high in the mountains, rocky mountain high hippie style.

Surrounded by men and women in pony tails, I learned about tofu and chamomile tea and hanging out on some old couch and partying.  I could never embrace, though, hairy arm pits on women though I did stop dying my hair, for awhile at least, until Clairol called me back into the fold. Those days have long past. I'm older and live in the city and if my toe nails aren't painted I feel wrong, but in each of us may still remain that person we once were.  For me it was the carefree girl who wore blue jeans, had brown hair, and didn't worry about having a 401k that was performing well.

At the retreat center I visited last weekend, three friends and I stayed in cabins without Internet or cell phone access. No Facebook or texting. It was as if I was back in 1977. The cabins lacked television. Forty years ago, before HBO, we felt lucky in the mountains to get three fuzzy channels. I'd forgotten what we used to do without all the technological gadgets. How does one find out information without Google? Then I remembered in Oregon.  When we ate together at the lodge, vegetarian food of course, people had conversations. Not one person took out their phone. They were useless. At first, this was almost scary to communicate only in person.
The trees in Oregon made me feel small which made me want to slow down and think about what is really important. Living in a big city, as I do, with so much rushing around and busy busy I can get self absorbed and anxious.  Nowadays if I sit on the couch too long I feel guilty for not being more productive. I hoped to remember my hippie days where I just let life flow without worrying I was wasting time and would end up living in a trailer the rest of my life.

There were plenty of reminders of my hippie days at the retreat center. The guitar player on the left never wore shoes. I saw him wandering shoeless around the grounds with his curls bouncing not a bit worried about his feet. After we ate dinner one night, we listened to him play and he made us sing with him. Well in a nice hippie sort of way.

 I never sit around singing after dinner. I have better things to do. Don't ask me what because I really can't tell you all the great important things I do. I watch a lot of House Hunters International. Does that count?

 Anyway, he convinced us to sing and as we did old hippies with white long beards and red hankies on their heads strolled by. Well one did. Talk about a flashback. I sunk into the big couch in the lodge. So calm. So carefree. Why work? I wanted to quit my job, and stare  up at trees, and maybe even throw away my glittery purse and never ever wear mascara again. I didn't wash my hair the entire time I was at the retreat center because they won't let you use hair dryers there. Ugh. After awhile, it was freeing and I thought I could be that hippie girl again.

The hot springs was my wake up call. Actually the naked people at the hot springs. I will leave that to your imagination.  Being naked in the natural hot water was allowed. Embraced. Encouraged. I wore a bathing suit. Yes I was that prude in the bathing suit surrounded by naked men and women.

My friend Amity on the left said "do as the Romans do" and she was able to be naked.  Karen on the right bared her lovely self. Not me. I felt, gasp,  like a conservative person. I know. That is no way for a freedom loving hippie to talk. I just couldn't do it. I'm the woman  who likes to wear clothes decorated with sequins and apply the red lipstick. I need my hair color to survive.  And I think that's the secret to life. Allowing ourselves to incorporate who we once were with who we are now, remembering the good stuff, but also allowing ourselves to change maybe that's the true ticket to inner peace. And a glass of wine now and then.

Why spend a lot of time looking backwards, when there is so much beauty ahead? As a writer, if not a woman running naked in the woods, what I found the most heart warming was the library at the center.

Not that they had so many great books, a lot were self help and about achieving a healthy diet...not much juicy romance stuff  or mysteries. Yet what I loved was that when people weren't walking down the woodsy trails, or letting it all hang it out in the hot springs, or attending yoga classes, they were reading. Which was the best thing of all to see, better than seeing all the wrinkled rear ends. People reading with an actual book with paper pages in their hands. Books are still alive and are even appreciated without an IPhone nearby. I get it. Just don't take away my nail polish.


SunsetCindi said...

What a peaceful, enlightening trip!! Wow, what a cool thing to do, I remember those hippie days and that freedom from the constraints of modern day life. It has its benefits but I too need polished toes, something to pretty up the feet that are plagued with bunions and plantars fasciitis! Bet the guy who walks with no shoes doesn't have to worry about those things! So glad you got to go.

Tracy Mears said...

At least someone, somewhere in Oregon is still reading...Sounds delightful and I can imagine your nightly fun conversations about the characters...
Love, Tracy