I recently hosted 5 dudes – 5 MEN – for 5 ePic days and nights. Two dudes became four and then finally five. The population of my house exploded from one to six. It took me an entire week, 7 full days and nights, to recover from that adventure.
How did this all come about? You all remember my friend, Rosh, right? I met Rosh in Maui at the start of 2014 on a yoga retreat with Hana Maui Yoga Institute. On the drive out to Hana, Rosh was chatting up The Blind Cafe which I had *just* heard about a few months back. Rosh was that guy, the guy who founded The Blind Cafe, THE man behind the operation since he started running these pop up events in 2010.
Rosh stayed at my place last summer when The Blind Cafe came to Seattle and while I was in Peru. He called me up a few weeks before the event and asked he if could “rent” my car and I said, “you mean… borrow?” During the course of that conversation he joked that maybe he should “move in” to my house. This scenario had occurred to me and I had already decided I’d be ok with that, so over the phone I agreed to let Rosh stay at my place while I was on the other side of the equator. That was a first for me, quite an act of trust on my part, to let some man I’d only gotten to know for a week on retreat, interacted with briefly at a Blind Cafe in San Francisco, with whom I exchanged sporadic emails and a few phone calls, have total access to all my belongings. But that’s the thing about Rosh… he engenders immediate and whole hearted trust.
Rosh and I reconnected in Maui at the start of this year for our second annual new year’s retreat. During that week, our mutual respect of each other and friendship deepened. When I learned The Blind Cafe was coming back to Seattle, I offered up my place to Rosh as his home base, offered up the use of my car. There was a bit of back and forth – phone calls and emails – questions like, “how many people are you comfortable having stay at your place?” and arrangements to split up The Blind Cafe team at two houses so we wouldn’t be all on top of each other. Going into this adventure, it was my expectation and understanding that I’d be hosting 2 guys, Rosh and his new operations manager, for 7 nights. Two guys. I felt my insides relax when I got the final news. Not four or five. Two.
The night Rosh arrived he told me housing fell through for his other guys and that he needed to find a place for them to stay, with mentions of possibly booking them a hotel room. The next morning Rosh asked me if I’d be ok with two more guys joining us. I hesitated at first. My insides said, “ahhhhhh.” He read me energetically and said, “it’s more fun if we are all together.” Tug, tug at my heart strings. I thought about it on my bike ride to work, visualized in my head where folks would “camp” out, did a mental inventory of blankets, pillows, and towels. Ok. We can do this.
On the third night, the fifth guy joined us. Not so much asking at this point, just Rosh slipping in a little, “Sliver Fox is coming,” before bedtime on night two. Me: “What? Who?” Rosh: “We’ll talk about it in the morning.” Ultimately: questions unanswered. Sigh. At this point, what was one more person?. Oh and I guess I forgot to mention that two of these five guys are blind. Yeah, you are experiencing this news just like I did, “ummmm, what?!” and “ok.” (here you’ll have to add tones of first surprise and then tentative agreement into your internal voice of my voice and please, laugh along with me if you haven’t yet already)
I imagine that as you are reading this, you are getting a sense of Rosh’s watery nature and my more earthy nature. Rosh shifts like the sands, he is fluid. I am solid, steady, grounded like the earth. Rosh’s watery nature, from the get go, was rocking my earthy nature, but that’s what I signed up for. I know this about Rosh, I know his watery nature “pushes” people to stretch and grow. One of our retreat mantras was, after all, “the schedule is carved in sand, not in stone.” Rosh’s vibration, his optimism, his upbeat and encouraging energy, makes you want to stretch and grow. I find myself saying yes to things I wouldn’t normally say yes to and I do it because I know it’s helping me to grow and I want to grow, I want to expand the edges of my comfort zone. I signed up for this adventure. I invited this experience into my life, all the way in…
What was it like having 5 dudes in my house? Intimate. Noisy. Bustling. Busy bathroom. House and yard full of life, sometimes more life than my nervous system could tolerate. I am a highly sensitive creature – my nervous system cannot hold multiple conversations, loud music, and people shifting about all at the same time. In these moments I was really challenged to stay grounded and collected. Remember, the population of my house exploded from one to six and I was one female among five MEN.
I got a lot of practice relating to men and experiencing very different kinds of energies. I got practice making requests. I got practice setting boundaries, particularly around my tolerance for certain kinds of humor. Father and past relationship issues bubbled up to the surface. In one particularly loud and expressive voice, I heard yelling and anger and I noticed how my nervous system started to rev up and go into fight/flight/freeze mode. Oh, and exhausting. I didn’t sleep well at all. I knew that would be my greatest challenge and it was. A rush/flood of adrenaline and stress hormones made it hard for my body and mind to relax, especially the first night. And after 5 nights of not sleeping well, I was really run down and worried I was on the verge of coming down with a whopper of a cold.
Rosh rockin’ in my living room like the staR he is.
The whole experience – hosting 5 dudes and “being” with Rosh’s wateriness – rocked my internal structures, specifically my needs for order, predictability, reliability, boundaries, peace and tranquility. I stretched myself farther than I’ve stretched myself before on my home turf. I’m not accustomed to so many bodies “living in” my house. I’m not used to being around so much big male energy, and sometimes the emergence of middle school aged chatter, in my home, my sacred space, day after day. I’m not used to so many shifting variables and changes in plans. I’m not used to my furniture being moved around. All of that rocked my insides, rocked my structures and I was asked to adapt, be resilient, or crumble and break down inside. Toward the end I *was* starting to crumble inside. My system was maxed out. I had experienced more “shake ups” and “rattling” than I could hold. I was feeling agitated, irritable, and needed space and quiet and sleep.
I was rocked and I recovered. Now I know I can make it through ePic internal stretches, that I can push myself and be pushed outside my comfort zone. It is my hope that my nervous system benefited from this experience, that it will be able to hold discomfort and change, to be with agitation, with ease; that I will be able to stay grounded and collected with grace when things get shaky and turbulent. I will say this of my earthy nature: I *am* resilient and adaptable and where I am not, I am cultivating a softer, more fertile soil, letting my being soak up ~water~ to soften my earthiness.
Rosh’s rock, used at The Blind Cafe to “gong” the singing bowl. Ironic, huh?, that Rosh left it at my house.
I can tell you this much…as a writer, I have let go of conventional form here. I fully embraced the meandering, watery quality of a personal essay, taking you on a walk and talk along the bank of and sometimes wadding into the babbling brook that is me.