Thanks 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!
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
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?
8 thoughts on “Comfortable feet (post-retreat thoughts)”
Yes I am pushing myself too hard. I will remember the humor of the labyrinth races!
Always good to stop and rest, even during competitive labyrinth! Thanks for your comment and support.
Recd your text then read your blog. I marvel at your self-analysis and awareness. There is such a blessing in reading your words and finding an insight into you. Thank you for generously sharing both.
Thank you for being who you are, Carla, and your kind words here. You encourage so many people in so many ways.
A mini-writing workshop? How fun! I love slippers. I’m wearing some right now and editing away. Bless you and your week!
Yes to slippers! Good luck with your editing. Blessings to you, and thank you for adding your voice here 😀
I’ve been in slippers for the last week and a half! My life is filled with wonderful things right now (the new baby, spending time with family) , but these come with their own challenges too.
I like the labyrinth races image, too. This baby will give me practice with patience, he seems to do everything at the very last minute!
Babies–and kids–and teenagers! are master teachers of patience. Also I think they help their parents develop a strong sense of humor 😀 Thank you, Katie, for taking the time to leave your thoughts here. Bless these days of new baby!