Golden light on the fieldThanks to the gracious and loving women at the retreat last weekend, I had a great time. Here are a few reflections on what I learned (or what I was reminded of).

A day and a half is only a taste of relaxation.

Productivity and patience don’t seem like natural partners. I noticed my impatience especially during silent time.

Being productive is a driving force in my daily life. My mind flows like a garden hose turned on full. It’s not something I can turn off. So much pressure! My days are filled with lists of to-dos based on requests from others. During silent time, I decided to color a mandala. I found myself hurrying to get the shapes colored in. I felt the pressure of meeting the goal to get it all filled in more than I took pleasure from the act of putting colored pencil to paper.

I had the same struggle with walking through the labyrinth with a friend. We ended up having rich and fun experience: laughing, crying and opening our hearts to each other. But in the beginning, all I could think was, This thing is going to take forever! I focused on the goal of getting through, instead of being present to the experience. Last time I checked, there are no labyrinth races! But if there were, I could see myself as a competitor. 😀

Spirituality needs to be something I relax into, rather than something I accomplish. No fist-pumping allowed after prayer and Bible devotion with a cry of, “Yes! I won spirituality today!”

I’m going to need more than a day and a half to change my ways—and make some adjustments in my life—to find inner peace. Something to think about as I consider my Lenten practices (Ash Wednesday is next week).

Pray with other people to sustain your faith.

Whether in our daily worship or small group, praying with others buoys me up. There are losses, heartbreaks, betrayals and evil in the world ready to tear us down. Prayer boosts the system. If life is going smoothly, it prepares us for tough times ahead. If life is rough, it soothes us to lay our burdens down. All my worries, my tendency to push myself too hard, my impatience, my stuck places that lack flexibility: I gave these weaknesses to the Lord.

Write with other people to nourish your imagination.

During our creative hours, I offered a mini writing workshop. What a delight to sit in a circle with imaginative women and move our pens across paper today! Taking a solitary act like writing and make it into a spiritual practice in community was powerful and strengthening. I read poetry and used some of my favorite books on writing. Drop me a note if you’re interested in the books I used.

Get comfortable. Start with your feet.

A day spent in slippers is a day well spent. Amen!

Blessing

Gracious God, bless us in the many ways we make community:
whether at a church retreat, Toastmasters meeting or bowling league.
Keep us turning away from our self-centeredness and always
back to you, back to service.
You are not impressed.
We have nothing to prove to you;
you’ve already given us your gifts of peace, forgiveness and
perfect love.

Tell me your thoughts!

Is there a place you push yourself too hard? What are you considering as a change to bring more quiet into your life? Will you do something for Lent?

http://genevievehoward.com

8 Comment on “Comfortable feet (post-retreat thoughts)

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