Tuesday, September 14, 2010


                               the view from Kripalu 
                          (Lenox, MA)

Geneen set the woman straight, kindly but pointedly.

"I'm not going to fix you," she said. The woman nodded, and the rest of us -- four hundred hopeful, eager women in an overly warm conference space -- let out an inaudible sigh. 

It was Day 1 of the Women, Food, and God retreat, and Geneen Roth was not about to encourage the disillusioned.

"I'm not going to fix you."

Which meant, of course, that she wasn't going to fix me, either. So I accepted rather begrudgingly the reality that I would have to put forth some effort on my own behalf. For two days, I proceeded to treat myself to Geneen's wisdom, again and again (what else would you expect from a re-treat?), and Sunday afternoon, I emerged on the other side. Not fixed. But not broken.


I meant to write about my expectations for the retreat. I meant to reread Women, Food, and God. I meant to buy some yoga pants. I accomplished none of these, but managed to get through the weekend just fine  (although I really should have packed the pair of stretchy black pants without the hole in the rear section. Ahem.)

Having no expectations, I could not be disappointed. I learned some things, too, like that Geneen Roth is an Abraham Lincoln buff. My notes are filled with quickly scribbled pearls from Geneen, and my raw, ineloquent responses to her prompts. Wound tight with anxiety, I somehow managed to sit through most of the sessions, including my very first yoga class. I soaked up the sweet, authentic company of the incomparable Kate with whom I shared a teensy cubicle of a bedroom where a monk had once slept (really). I ate zucchini and mint fritatta, and a quesadilla, and homemade gluten-free bread, and cashew cream, and I remembered anew why I love food. And eating. And eating with friends.


Stay tuned for more thoughts on the retreat, including what it feels like to watch four hundred women close their eyes and savor a Hershey's kiss.


  1. love love love love love. love.

  2. I was there with you. I breath in your words. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful, E. But now the suspense is killing me...when do we get more?

  4. Allison: So glad you found me!

    Karen: Soon! Still processing...

  5. Glad you are back and that the journey was worth it- as it seems from this first writing. And maybe what we can most wish for in life is to be both not fixed, but not broken. If we're fixed, perhaps we quit living. If we're broken, perhaps the same. Maybe it is in the between that we do our very best for ourselves and others. Just the beginnings of a thought...

  6. I'm so glad you're back to your blog! It's been lonesome without your posts.

  7. Rosie: First, I'm so, so looking forward to getting your book next week! Second, I love what you've offered here. On a spiritual level, it makes sense to me that I can't ever be completely "fixed"...to be "fixed," is, I think, to be wholly enlightened and then the purpose of living has been satisfied. What happens next is anyone's guess, of course, but I hope that there are lots of doughnuts wherever we go after we die. Doughnuts and quiches.

    How sweet of you to say, Nicole. I've been working full-time for a few weeks now, and it's hard to find time for the dissertation and posting. Thanks for continuing to come back even when it's quiet here! xox

  8. Edith Wharton's hometown, nice. I have always wanted to go to one of Geneen Roth's retreats. I have read a lot of her work and I think it's really helpful. Good for you and Congratulations on attending one of these! (This is Elisa from facebook btw)

  9. Elisa aka Eustacia the raven-haired: We stopped by The Mount after it was closed so Kate could catch a glimpse, but I'd forgotten that the gate is so far from the house. So disappointing. I'm hoping to get out there again this fall to see it again (it's been too long) and the Dickinson homestead, too.

    In other Edith news, I think this might be my favorite photo of her: http://bit.ly/a1Yt9l.