“A retreat is moving consciously and by my own choice into space where I can be alone with the Divine.” Marion Woodman
I've heard it said, I'm not sure by whom – that when we are busy it is wise to meditate at least twice a day for twenty minutes AND, when we are really busy, three times. That seems paradoxical, but I've discovered it's both true, and it works. When I pause for meditation, my daily mini retreats, my time and space opens up. Because I am now centered, so much more can happen in the moment and I am more focussed on my 'dance of doing.' Now it's a dance not a race.
In years past, when I decided, for example that I was going to pay off the mortgage over the next three years, I was driven. I doubled my hours with clients, wrote my first book mostly in the middle of the night, and remodeled part of our house. My husband, while not as driven – kicked in a sizable chunk from his tax business. We met the goal.
I'm not judging this DRIVE – it really was the ONLY way I knew how to get the task done back then. And, I'm very grateful the mortgage has been paid for a decade. Had I not, at that time, had some capacity to retreat, I'd probably be a dead woman today. Taking a half a day, even once a month, to head up into the mountains or occasionally napping on the couch with a good book was also PRACTICAL. Those simple rests, made it possible to keep going til the ink on the paid mortgage dried. Without the retreat times, I probably would have collapsed with overwhelm and possible illness.
We can retreat for 5 minutes, 2 hours, a half day, a day, a week, a month, (and I must confess, I once retreated from my professional life for two years). The time frame is not as important as the intentionality. The idea that “I am choosing to give myself this pause, this deep rest” matters most. Coming up with content is a creative adventure. For countless creative ideas on how to structure your retreats, see Jen Louden's “Woman's Retreat Book.”
I mentioned in the title that there is an incandescent power to retreating. By that I mean I return to work with a new spark, I might even be aflame, with an impassioned desire to return to my life's work. I just took a 3 day weekend and now that I'm back at work, that old fire in my belly has returned. I was replenished by the garden, by some old movies and some old friends. I even went dancing with my husband.
Back in the olden days, the folks who thought up the idea of Sundays being the sabbath day, were on to something. It is so NOURISHING to know when we intend to rest and to know that rest is coming right around the bend. – When we plan our rests, both consciously (as we so choose) and consistently (we can count on its regular occurrence), our life force and capacity to contribute expands and deepens.
What your soul is calling you to do in the context of your retreat – whether that is sitting with your back against a favorite tree, coloring, dancing, journalling, watching a comedy or a romance movie, writing poems or playing jax – doesn't matter so much. What does matter is that you are clear your activities will feed your soul and that work related things do not happen in your sacred space. So that means, unplugging the phone. the computer, even the television. It means letting go of child care, laundry and anything else that is shouting at you from your “to do” list.
For those of you who might like support and structure with this idea of retreat, I just happen to be offering a 6 hour virtual retreat coming up on October 24. We'll be meeting by conference call from around the world. I'm attaching your invitation right now and if you are feeling sparked by the idea, please jump in.
More info on the Coming Home to Your Sweet, Old Soul Retreat.
Thanks for listening today. It's my fondest hope that this blog will encourage you in an entirely new level of self care and that you'll leave it having set aside some sacred time for your own sweet soul,
ALL HONOR TO YOU,
“That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone here and the house and I resume the old conversations.” May Sarton