I just discovered that I’ve already completed one of my 2019 goals! Little did I know that I could complete the goal of “research and go to a retreat center” in such an unexpected and rather low-cost way.
Soon after returning from our trip East, I developed a cold. I needed to lay low and to give my mind and body “rest and renewal,” as many retreat center brochures would say.
The retreat center I chose was perfect. It had a beautiful setting with green vistas, access to meditation, yoga, gentle walks, inspiration, healthy food, wonderful human and canine companions, and peace. Yes. You guessed it. It was our home.
Since I was my own retreat center mentor, I could create my own unique retreat workshop experience. What kind of schedule, I asked myself? Totally flexible. What daily activities? Minimal (see below.)
- prayer and meditation
- looking out the window
- making hot lemon-honey-water
- hot tubs
- having nice conversations with my husband
- petting doggie and taking her for a few short walks
And then, just to make sure I experienced as close to an “unplugged” retreat as possible, I inadvertently dropped my cell phone into a sink filled with soapy water; the phone stopped working and spent its retreat time in a bowl of dry rice in hopes that it, too, would revive.
As for my retreat food, I found an old cookbook called Zuppa! by Margaret and G. Franco Romagnoli and made a hearty Tuscan Rice and Bean Soup, adding more vegetables and Italian herbs than were required, and started feeling better almost instantly.
Finally, I created a “cleanse.” I went through all my books and decided to give away some well intentioned “I-wanted-to-read-this-but-didn’t” books; I cleaned out the pantry and the herb shelf; I tried on and re-routed to a local thrift shop some iffy clothes.
Sometimes, we do need to “get away” to have a retreat, a renewal. But sometimes, we can’t, or don’t want to. Rather, we can nestle in and try to create a healthier slice of life right on the home front. I think I did just that. Let’s hear it for goals!
“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, meander, live in the changing light of a room.”
May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
P.S. I’d love to hear any of your own at-home retreat ideas.
4 thoughts on “A Retreat”
You had me until you started walking the dog and cooking. What about food delivery, for crying out loud.? When you started on the purges—clothes, pantry, herbs, books—I curled up on the couch for a good rest.
I like the idea of food delivery, though I do find making soup is therapeutic…must be part of my Italian-American
heritage. And I think your choice to curl up on the couch to rest instead of “sorting” was a smart move. That’s what
I’m doing right now.
Marie Kondo’s got nothing on you, Gigi!
I do like a lot of her approaches. Asking “what sparks joy” when going through possessions is helpful, though there are so many nuances around joy, no?