Retreats! Aww! They sound delicious and so self-serving don’t they? Well THIS is a mindset that needs to change right now! Actually, retreats do you and those you interact with MUCH good.
They CAN be a key element in personal growth. At the very least, I’ve found them to work wonders in defining my next major goal(s) and the steps needed to move ahead. Besides a relaxing getaway, retreats can illuminate our next personal missions (for the season), or even year. It’s because we ARE more relaxed, with no other demands, that our brains are able to expand and think more clearly. It’s a lovely thing!!
Retreats do not have to cost any or much money, nor must they require a whole week, or even a few days. Even though this length of time sounds grand, sometimes we just don’t have it in our busy lives. Nevertheless, there is a way! Home or not, retreats can be 4-6 hours, or 4-6 hours a day for 3 days, or a 3 full days, up to a week. It all depends on what we need, our environment and the time we have. But no matter what, believe me, each one of us should claim one.
My personal idea of a retreat is SOLITUDE for, at least, 4-6 hours a day for a few days in a week. Most importantly, it is a time where nothing is expected and therefore I experience no “lazy” guilt. The chance is there to totally relax and focus on myself and God. Later, to complete my day, there is usually 1 or 2 other chill people I socialize with in the evening, and this makes me happy.
No matter your preference, retreats give an opportunity to contemplate what we like about our life, what we need more of, and what we can do without. We focus on those events, tasks, and behaviors that WE have control over because, frankly, anything else is USELESS!!
It’s a time to DO and “study” the things that bring joy and growth to our spiritual and practical lives! Yes, please take that fun book that you’ve been wanting to read, and certainly watch a great movie or two, but ALSO use the time to learn and plan for some aspect of life that could actually make a DIFFERENCE in your weeks and months to come. I’ve got a ton of ideas, so here are a “few”:
· Study ways and exercises to strengthen the lower back.
· Learn about clean ways of eating and setting up a menu plan.
· Learn about good workout programs that you can implement.
· Do a workout that you’ve been planning to try.
· Learn and practice different methods of prayer / meditation.
· Find new recipes that you might want to try.
· Do that puzzle book you’ve been meaning to take out.
· Run, Canoe, swim, lay on the beach!
· Take long walks. Contemplate on the move.
· Learn about new places you would like to vacation with the family.
· Plan next year’s garden (or anything for that matter).
· Learn about ANYTHING that gives you pleasure and will make you a better version of YOU in the coming years.
· Plan for anything that will give you peace of mind once your retreat time is over.
· Do any fun project (scrapbooking, painting, knitting, etc.) that you just haven’t allowed yourself in lately.
So, SERIOUSLY! Take this into consideration. If you’re not comfortable with the Retreat idea, start small (4 or 6 hours or 1 full day), but definitely take it on. Decide on an amount of time, then OPEN your calendar, FIND your date(s), write it in and then COMMIT. Protect that scheduled retreat time like you would any other event or appointment. Next, you can take a few days to brainstorm and decide what your focus will be, and the materials you need. Then, you guessed it, COMMIT! 😊 Make any arrangements you need to so that this can happen, and then ANTICIPATE the time to come.
It’s worth the planning, and If you follow through, I GUARANTEE you will be sooooooo HAPPY that you did. Remember, at times, WE really need to be our own BEST friends.
GATHER YOUR PEARLS!!