Have you ever thought of planning a retreat? Most people plan vacations but only a few plan retreats. What exactly is a retreat? A retreat is an opportunity to step back from the busyness of life and spend some time intentionally reflecting on your life. Our lives are so busy we don’t realize how busy they are. I’m a huge believer in planning time to retreat – literally to step back out of life. This time is so important to allow us the opportunity to see what is important, set new priorities, allow ourselves to connect more deeply and to renew our energy.
A retreat does not have to be a long, expensive endeavor. It can be a few hours where you turn off all weapons of mass distraction (cell phones, ipods, TV, computers etc.) and sit quietly in your own backyard or take a walk through a local park. The advantage to planning one a little further away is that leaving our environment can give us new perspective while remaining in the environment can leave us open to the temptation of returning to the many tasks and chores.
Some people like to plan to read specific books or consider specific questions. This can be helpful, however, be careful not to over-plan your retreat otherwise it just becomes another time and place where you have planned to do a lot of things.
You may also wish to give consideration to what kind of a facility would encourage good self-care and opportunities for reflection? Some facilities are rustic, which tends to make them more affordable. Some give a deeper sense of appreciation of nature while others offer more amenities. If you find you are able to reflect better when you are in motion, then choose a place that has opportunities for exercise. Consider how far you want to travel, type of accommodation and meals offered. Some facilities offer complete silence while others offer programs on a variety of topics. Do you find it more meaningful to go alone or would it be more enjoyable to have some friends along?
It is easy to say we don’t have time but over the years I’ve found a retreat is an investment in time. By stepping back once in a while, I see more clearly what is important and am better able to set priorities. Upon my return, I have more energy and focus. If planning some time away seems overwhelming, start small. Plan to retreat from the world for one hour. You may find that once your spirit begins to be nourished the desire for retreat time will grow.
I’m hoping to start a retreat revolution. Plan a short retreat and send a comment to let the rest of the readers know what you did and how it went!