This past week I’ve been participating in a yoga and surf retreat in Santa Catalina, Panama, a small surf and fishing village. The retreat is run by Santa Catalina retreats at the Hotel Santa Catalina.
I’m staying here longer to do my own personal retreat next week; this morning I said goodbye to the rest of my retreat friends, a new family I created over the past week. After hugs goodbye. I watched them board the van for the ride back to Panama City.
The hotel appears to book most of its 16 rooms in connection with the retreats.
The retreats run from Sunday afternoon through Friday, with breakfast and departure on Saturday morning. The next group will arrive tomorrow afternoon.
Saturday is a day of transition at the hotel — the day of rest between retreats. A sabbath day.
The hotel grounds felt especially empty to me after my friends left. A muted quiet took over until the afternoon, when Panamanians from the city checked in for an afternoon and evening of rest at the hotel.
On Sunday, they will leave and a new group of participants will arrive for the next week’s retreat.
This creates a rhythm to the weeks and months here at the hotel.
Saturday becomes the pause in the cycle of the weeks, as the energy from the prior week is cleared out before the energy from the next week arrives.
In the cycle of a week, we call this a Sabbath day. In the cycle of the seasons we call it winter.
It is a time to go within; a time to rest and reflect; a time for dormancy.
In our daily lives, we get fixated on doing things according to a linear timeline. We forget that natural time is cyclical, following the rhythms of nature.
The Greeks called this kairos time, as opposed to chronos time.
All of nature operates by this cyclical time. The phases of the moon, the ocean tides, the growth of trees, the evolution of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Our circadian rhythms, which govern our sleep cycles and our organ function, also abide by cyclical time.
In cyclical time there is always a pause. We often try to override this pause. This is the way of a 24/7, always on culture. But we cannot override the pause.
Nature always wins.
In the cycles of the weeks, of the years, and of our lives, we must learn to honor the winter time.