I recently returned from a spiritual retreat at the Bon Secours Retreat & Conference Center in Baltimore, Maryland (this was the view from my room). It was an amazing experience. The grounds provided a wonderful place for quiet reflection, connection to nature, and meditation. Lectures I attended opened my mind to new ideas, creative solutions, and faith formation. The people I met were kind, generous, loving, and supportive. Chapel time was spiritual, healing, and sparked a renewal deep within me. In a word, it was awesome! And it was hard to come home from that experience.
I knew my re-entry would be difficult and after the last few amazing days, I just wanted to stay in that bliss for a little while longer. But my home was calling, my pets needed me (and I needed them), and it was time to go home and get back to business. I had planned ahead to ease back into “my life” knowing that the re-entry could be stressful. On the way home I also wondered if there was any way I could bring a little piece of the magic back with me to Colorado. Here’s what helped with my transition home as well as ideas for bringing a little retreat to every day.
I had planned ahead and kept a light schedule for the first several days. This was key as it gave me time to complete the house chores, check email, and plan for the month.
Permission to go slow
I tried to ease back into normal life at a slower than normal pace. I gave myself permission to sleep in the first day, take time to walk my dogs, and review my notes and photos from the retreat. I thought about those things that made the retreat so special and how I could incorporate some of those things into my daily life. Here are a few ideas:
Being outside provides a wonderful retreat for many of us. Fresh air, birds singing, natural landscape, and being close to nature is grounding, inspiring and relaxing. Mix up your routine to include going for a walk in the park, hike a path in the mountains, meander along a path near a river or lake. You can also visit your local Botanic Gardens or create your own “Zen” garden at home. Another way to find a little retreat outside is to find a labyrinth to walk (http://labyrinthlocator.com/).
Simple Retreat at Home
With a few simple adjustments, your home can feel more relaxing, inviting, and spiritual. Try turning off the TV (especially the news). Turn on some relaxing music, light a candle and set up a “sacred” space for meditation, reflection, and prayer. Most important is to remember to take time for quiet reflection each day.
Taking care of our body is an important part of taking care of our soul. There are many ways to treat your body including epsom salt bath, massage, reflexology, and a wide variety of energy healing. You can find many Denver area practitioners at the Colorado Holistic Healing website, www.coloradoholistichealing.com.
I really enjoyed being able to go into the chapel anytime during my stay at the retreat center. It was a safe and beautiful setting for time alone to reflect, pray, and meditate. There are many local churches that keep their sanctuary open during the week for visitors. For example, St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Arvada has open time Monday through Thursday 9am – 3pm.
There are many ways we can make each day a little more “sacred.” It’s so easy to get caught in the frantic pace of life. By slowing down, having a plan and maintaining a little discipline we can find a little retreat time each and every day.