In Quarantine or on a Retreat?
Do you have any idea how much money you have saved by going on retreat in your own home? You are going to be asked to stay home, so, why not turn part of your time into a spiritual retreat?
You can create for yourself a private retreat replete with spiritual guidance, spiritual practice, journaling, creativity and reading. And add to it, you get to choose your own food. Do you want to fast on this retreat? Drink juice and tea only? Have a vegetarian retreat? Stop for a moment. With the Coronavirus pandemic unfolding and the outside world closing down around you; YOU are at the perfect place to give yourself permission to retreat and reflect.
How do you plan your own retreat? Well, what are you interested in? Are you interested in spiritual practices? Give yourself a day, two, or three of no electronics and silence. Allow your nervous system to have a break from being bombarded and nurture yourself. Follow your curiosity and allow it to guide you. What is your first step? Decide upon a theme. Purification is a good one, as it aligns with what the outer world is doing. Or, maybe your theme is Self Love. Imagine tending to your own self and no one or no thing else for numerous days. Possibly you choose to enhance your intuition? You choose your theme, it ought be one you have curiosity around. Then build your retreat structure in advance, knowing you can always change it. The content will differ based upon your theme.
When I build a retreat I want to include several different things for myself:
- Spiritual study. Who do I know provides material that feeds me on this topic? I can read, watch a video or Ted Talk … I want to ground into a body of work.
- Spiritual practice. Meditation, prayer, and forgiveness is always good.
- Movement. Walk, dance, or pull weeds while you release past memories from your mind.
- Creativity. Playfulness is always good. On a retreat I facilitated our group built a labyrinth in silence out of stuff found on the land (pinecones, leaves, branches, rocks, flowers) and then we walked it. Painting, collaging or writing poetry is also good.
- Cleansing. Foot baths, meditative showers, anointing with oil. A ritualistic form of coming into the present.
- Outdoors. If possible, I like to have a portion of my retreat outside.
A Day Could Look Like This:
Wake up and drink water.
Read scripture, sacred text, or a chapter of a spiritual book. Notice what grabs your attention. Maybe it’s a word or maybe it’s a sentence. Then take this contemplation and write about it in your journal.
Remaining quiet, put on your clothes and walking shoes and then take yourself on a walk allowing that idea to continue to percolate. Don’t force any thoughts, notice what happens to your own organic mental and spiritual response from this contemplation.
When you return home, journal some more.
Make then eat your morning meal in a state of awareness and appreciation. Notice that what you eat has the totality of nature in it; the soil, the sun, the wind, and water. You are taking in sacred elements and something beyond you is feeding you. Be aware of the magical moment awake.
Choose a cleaning ritual to participate in.
Sit in silence, meditate, and then pray. Pray until something beyond you is praying through you,
Meditate and pray.
Journal about the day.
Close in prayer.
This is simply an idea. You can retreat for an hour and you can retreat for a week. If I choose to fast I let a friend know and give updates by text at the end and beginning of the day.
You make it up. Remember, this is your unique, beautiful, precious life and taking a pause, listening to yourself and loving yourself is a grand idea.