Why I retreat in silence and slippers

hand with rock and cross

hand with rock and crossI’m counting down the hours until this weekend; I’ll have a sleepover with dozens of women where we worship, eat, do crafts, sing, laugh, pray and have silent time together. I’ll be at the Broadway Women’s Retreat.

Why go on a retreat? It gives me a long view of my life when I remove myself from the daily routine. It’s hard to see a pattern from the inside. Going on a retreat pulls me out of the pattern so I can see it from a distance.

I do much of my life by habit. It’s a good thing because if I had to decide every moment, I wouldn’t have the energy to get through the day. With my thoughtful deliberation style of decision-making, I would probably get stalled out before 7 a.m. Habits are like little times of coasting. They allow me to function.

During retreat, I stop the motion and momentum of my life; I step away from the memorized choreography. It’s like an open-ended time to hear the music again. What was this dance about again?

Preparing myself to retreat

To prepare myself mentally, I’m working on letting go of as much mental clutter as possible. I plan to make a master list of all the obligations I have; get the worries out of my head and onto paper where they look more harmless. I will cut ties with my responsibilities. No household to keep going, no animals with needs, no meals to cook, no deadlines to meet.

I spend a lot of energy on self-improvement and meeting the needs of others. I care about achievement and seek betterment for everyone. In retreat, I put all that aside. This is time where I only seek honesty in my relationship with God. Less self, less responsibilities, more God.

My single focus will be opening my mind to the Spirit. I hope to relax. I normally chug through like a paddle boat, churning up the waters of my feelings. In relaxation, my emotions become clearer. With clearer emotions, I can feel more of the Spirit.

In retreat, I get a hint of how to align my will with God’s will. What are the subtle promptings? What do I need to refresh? What do I need to discard? What parts of the pattern of my life don’t make sense anymore?

As I soak in contemplation for 36 hours, I plan to wear my slippers as much as possible.

Your prayers

I would welcome your prayers that I have a nourishing retreat. If you have something on your heart that you would like me to take into silent prayer this weekend, send me an email, fill out the comment form that will send me an email or let me know in the comments below before the end of day Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

Blessing

Lord, you always seek us.
Let us make time to step out of our routines
and step into open-ended time with you,
free of distractions,
free of expectations,
free of responsibilities.
Our noisy world of cares will wait.
Help us breathe and relax.
Let us pray without distraction.

Remind us we were children who
delighted in blowing seeds of a dandelion.
Refresh us with a sense of wonder.
Turn our hearts to seek you as
you always seek us.

Bless the ones who keep things going
while we are on retreat.
Bless the ones too busy to join a retreat.
Bless the ones too scared or too jaded to consider silence.

Bless the ones who confuse your silence with a lack of caring.

We can stop for a day,
a few hour, or a few moments and
find you.
In finding you, we find peace.
May we all live in your peace.

Tell me your thoughts!

Have you ever gone on a retreat? What did you get from it? What kind of retreat would you like to go on? Have you ever tried a little one-hour mini retreat?

6 thoughts on “Why I retreat in silence and slippers

  1. I hope this is a great, restorative experience for you! I was lucky enough to go on a week-long meditation/ farm work retreat sponsored by my work at The Trust for Public Land (back in the plush budget days!) We paid our own airfare but our five days there were paid. A dozen people applied by essay and were selected to attend at a farm in Vermont in early fall. It was a great experience and helped encourage me to value that contemplative side to manage stress in my work and personal life and it was a nice “team building” experience for those who went as well. I still try to meditate 10-15 minutes a day, though I haven’t been so successful at making that happen recently 🙂

  2. I am so glad to read your thoughts on this year’s retreat. It truly is a wonderful experience. I so wish I could be with you and all my beloved sisters. I take heart that there will be other retreats to attend; I am doing what I am called to do and serving God and my family at this point in my life. I pray you receive the peace you seek – in a pair of comfy slippers!

  3. I love retreats! Nearby, I found the Bellarine Jesuit Retreat. You don’t have to be Catholic or even religious time attend . Their annual silent retreat for women was a powerful event for me. I hope to make this an annual event for myself when the boys are a little older and we have the money (it isn’t expensive, a pay-what-you-can with a suggested amount. Alumni give money to cover the costs of those who can’t afford the suggested amount),

  4. Have a wonderful retreat! Slippers and silence are very nice, and I’m glad you get to have a fair dose of it soon.

    I do love retreats, and I’ve gone on a few as an officer of organizations, but now I feel like I should take a retreat for myself. So much fun! Can’t wait to find my perfect little haven. Slippers will be required.

    I’ll probably try a little mini retreat today!

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