There was something so lovely for me about the bioenergetic retreat at Belcourt Center on Prince Edward Island this year. I know it was the last of 24 years worth of retreats. I know that it was my tenth year to participate. I expected to feel sad and somewhat bereft about that. However, I didn’t. What I noticed was my ability to enjoy the moment had increased. Instead of looking about me and thinking things like “this is the last time I’ll do this…” I was able to look about me and enjoy the experience. It wasn’t even particularly heightened by knowing it was the last time. It was just a lovely opportunity to be present and to stay open to whatever would be coming into my awareness.
Retreat: the word itself suggests going away from something, moving back. In some ways, I guess, we retreat from the stressors and pressures of our everyday lives to spend time with ourselves, with our inner spirits, with our bodies and our experiences. I wonder if it is really necessary to go away to do that?
How can I make a retreat for myself without having to head off to Prince Edward Island, or wherever is different from HERE? Perhaps rather than thinking about what I want to retreat FROM, I could think about what it is I would like to retreat TO…in other words, what am I turning towards in my life?
- Toward…greater self awareness
- Toward…equanimity and inner peacefulness
- Toward…..an ability to be with all of my feelings, no matter how uncomfortable, or how much I would prefer not to experience them, or what my thoughts about them might be
- Toward….health, relaxation, and wholeness
Creating space to listen to my inner voice, remembering and committing to my mindfulness practice, eating nourishing food in a nourishing way, embracing relationships with a commitment to be present to whatever comes up….those are ways I can retreat toward my identified goals. I can try to “retreat” on a daily basis when I sit in the morning, when I take a “mindfulness moment” to be fully present, when I move my body to check in on my inner experience.
It seems possible to make a space for all of that in my everyday life. What about you? What would you turn toward in a retreat? How could you make that happen in your life? Drop me a note about how you can “retreat” to being more in the world this week.
Thanks to Lee Ann McPherson for the stream photo; to Government of PEI for the lupins, and to an unknown but appreciated photographer for the lovely pile of rounded stones; inukshuk of sorts.
One thought on “Retreat!”
Leslie, that is a good question. You know the last two weekends, i was away and to me, those were little retreats (or mini vacations?), meaning i was away from my stressful life. I mostly enjoyed being near of the water, as it seems to have a calming effect on me. Funny, cause when i walk here near of the St. John River, i don’t have that effect…
But i discovered not such a long time ago….yoga :-). To me, it’s my weekly retreat. It allows me to calm down most of the time, to bring some awarness as to where i’m tensed and to also do some slow movements. So i try to retreat toward things that are calm, relaxing, everything that is the opposite of my stressful life. Some time, at work, when i have the time, i also close my eyes, just for few minutes and i try to think about a lovely moment (like dipping my feet in the lake:-)). Some times, it helps me to calm down and i can concentrate much better on the work I’m doing. I never been on a real “retreat” like yours. It must be quite interesting. Too bad there won’t be one next year. I would have like to try it.
By the way, i like the new look of yhe blog :-).