MY MINI RETREAT

I don’t know if it’s because of lent – a time of death and resurrection, but it seems that a number of my friends, as well as myself, have been going through some kind of transition lately. For a while now there’s been a battle going on inside me that’s pitted intuition against logic. And logic has been winning. Coupled with the fact that I tend to be a perfectionist and want to have my hand in everything, it has been difficult to trust my intuitive nature, which has, in the past, served me well. So why has it been so hard to trust intuition this time?

KNOW WHO TO TRUST

I think I’ve been putting my trust in the wrong places. There are always people who know more than me, or so it seems. It’s easy to get confused when so many say the same thing. They must know what they’re talking about, right? They are the experts, after all. So we do what logic tells us and seem surprised to find that we’re  deeply unhappy. Yet, like so many things, we get so comfortable in our discomfort, we find it difficult to disengage ourselves. What to do?

JUST BEGIN

I recalled that meditation used to help me stay centered and calm within the storm. But I rarely took time for it because “I’m so busy,” (she said, tongue in cheek).  But I decided that 10 minutes of my time each day would be time well spent. Turned out I was right. The meditation I did was one of my favorites by Sharon Moon about transitions. It asked, “What is it that blocks you?” Great question, but alas I had no answer. Then while having tea with a friend the other day, I told her my difficulty, and she asked me the very same question. “What is it that blocks you?” I still didn’t know, but one thing I did know, I needed to find the answer. Oddly enough the answer came to me while she took a telephone call, and my answer didn’t entirely surprise me. 

“I think I’m trying too hard to make things happen,” I said when she got back. “To do what I’m ‘supposed’ to do, when I know it makes me unhappy. I’m afraid if I stop trying, things will all fall apart. Yet I know that when I step back and ‘allow’ things to unfold on their own – that is get out of my own way, things have a way of working out.” On some level I had known this. We always know what we need, but fight against it. But at that moment in time, something clicked inside of me. I knew that if I was to get back on track, I needed to take some time away from my usual routine, and give myself some much needed time for reflection. But what am I going to do if I can’t write? I wondered.

MY MINI RETREAT

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. It’s not like I’ve never done a mini retreat before. In the past, my friend and I used to take a day together to do this very thing. We read spiritual books, reflected, and shared what we had uncovered. At the time, she lived along the river, so it was the perfect place for it. But it’s something you can do anywhere, if you have a little imagination.

I decided to take the week off from writing and worrying, and let the day take me where it wanted to. So for the next few days, I got up when I wanted to, I had a long leisurely breakfast with a good book before having my shower. I meditated, and by some act of synchronicity I recalled that I had a CD based on Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love. This book changed my life 20 years ago, so it was great to listen to her messages once again. I think that I needed to change the negative thinking in my head to something positive. So much is happening in the world today, people are worried like never before, and I’m no different. A good way to change the world is to change our thinking.

TIME WITH FRIENDS

I also decided to take this time to connect with friends – old and new — who make me happy. One of the simple pleasures, and greatest joys of my life, is my friends. I love intellectual conversation, and long country bike rides, as well as walks and shopping days filled with laughter, not to mention days of adventure canoeing on the river. I’ve also been craving pasta, so I called a friend to see if she was free one night to go out for dinner. I can hardly wait.

DO IT YOUR WAY 

Personally, when I’m doing a retreat, I like to do something reflective so I can get in touch with my inner self. If you’d like to try your own mini retreat, here are a few suggestions of things you could use. You might already have some of these things on hand. Use whatever feels comfortable for you:

  • Candles as a symbol of illumination.
  • Essential oils.
  • Some type of spiritual reading. If you don’t have anything, I’m sure the library has something appropriate.
  • Meditation CD. Again the library will likely have something, or you could find something online.
  • Some type of journal to write down what is revealed to you.
  • Angel cards to guide you through the day, week, or year.
  • Qigong for clearing your Chakras, or simply for meditation.
  • Lap labyrinth, also meditative.
  • Crystal Gemstones for calming or creative energy.

The point is to honor this time you need for yourself with some kind of ritual. The world is a busy place. Sometimes we get into wrong minded thinking, and need to slow down to get in touch with our true nature. We need to hear the truth of who we are and what our next move is. We can’t always do this when we’re too busy to even think.

When we take even small steps to better understand ourselves, things happen. By deciding to do a guided meditation on a daily basis, it brought up the idea that something is blocking me. When the idea came up again during a conversation with a friend, I knew I needed to address it. We always know what’s wrong on some level, we just need to bring it to the surface where we can see it clearly and decide how best to respond. I had been longing for some time out, for a break, but I was thinking more in the lines of a vacation in the sun. Turns out, it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking a retreat day/week has not only made me happy, it has helped me to recognize the importance of trusting what I need to do to be happy, and following through.

ONE LAST THING

An important lesson I’ve learned from all of this, is don’t wait until you’re on your knees before you take time out for a mini retreat. Mini retreats should be a regular part of our soul journey if we are to remain standing. Namaste.

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