Dave and I spent four days on a writing retreat last week. What a treat!! Meals, clean-up, daily chores all taken care of…so that we could focus solely on our writing.
Retreat time is Sabbath time. Time set apart to be held as sacred, holy, wholly dedicated to listening and following inner guidance.
This time, I surrendered my regular routines completely in order to allow my own writing rhythm to arise, asking myself over and over: What is calling me? A walk? My somayoga? Meditation? Inspirational reading? My writing?
Surrounded by the unfolding of greening spring beauty everywhere, I sat by the picture windows and gazed out, letting myself rest.
Held by the reassuring cycle of meals and the never-ending supply of tea :), I let myself be nourished.
Supported by the loving and attuned presence of Karen Hering, the retreat facilitator, and the flexible rhythm of alone and together sessions, I let myself receive—
- receive my own rhythm
- receive my own guidance
- receive my own inspiration
- receive my own presence in the moment.
We NEED retreat time!
Our work week has it built-in—weekends are supposed to provide a time to release the work week and the hyper left-brain focus, to find rest and pleasure.
The seasons have this rest time built in, too—winter is meant to be a time of lying fallow, of doing less, or hunkering down and rejuvenating.
This gives the whole bodysoul a chance to rejuvenate—it is the inner, contemplative, quiet yin energy balancing the outer, directed, active yang energy.
On retreat, the body has time to release stress and relax, allowing all involuntary functioning that keeps us alive and well to flow more smoothly.
The heart has time to process all the ways it has been touched and affected by our lives so that it can release what is no longer needed.
The mind can get current, discerning how to work skillfully with arising thoughts.
And there is space for the soul to inform our lives—body, heart, and mind—to bring deeper meaning, nourishment, intuition, pleasure, and awareness.
In providing a space to come back to our whole selves, retreats can help us re-member ourselves—what we value, who we are, how we want to live.
But many of us don’t even take weekends off, let alone actual retreats, or less active wintertime! We work straight through, not varying our rhythm to match what is actually needed in our lives.
Is it any wonder our levels of stress and disease are so high? Is it any wonder we feel cut off from our bodysouls, estranged from a sense of deeper meaning?
Even if we feel we can’t not work on the weekend, we can’t take time away, we can’t slow down in the winter, there is still hope!
(Believe me, as a solopreneur, I wrestle with this, too…)
At any time, we have the chance to pause and mindfully turn toward ourselves—right in the middle of our busy lives.
Just when you’re reaching for that next cuppa, look away from the computer, take a breath, and mindfully savor that sip.
Let the phone ringing be a mini-wake-up call, and instead of immediately picking it up, take a breath, settle into yourself, and then answer it.
When the kids (or others) are demanding your attention, take a moment to turn your attention inside, finding some ground through your feet and in your lower belly, noticing your feelings, and bringing more of yourself to your response.
And if you can take 5 minutes, try my Do Nothing Break. Short. Simple. Doable.
These are moments of retreat, moments of returning to yourself,
moments of restoration and re-membering.
Many moments of retreat, woven together over the course of your life, create less stress and more relaxation, less inner chatter and more inner guidance, less mindlessness and more mindfulness.
I’m offering a 1.5-hour class called The Mindful Art of Tea in which we’ll practice little pockets of retreat time while engaged with tea, with presence practices to develop mindfulness of body, heart, mind, and soul. I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday, June 15th in the evening to practice weaving small moments of retreat into your life.
If you’d like even more practice, consider signing up for a free Discovery Session to find out how my holistic life coaching could support you—I love supporting soulful and curious people to feel more at home in their bodies and at ease and resilient in their lives.
p.s. Do you have friends who would like to feel more grounded and connected to their lives? I’d love it if you would share this post with them on Facebook!
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