Last month I took a three-day trip to the mountains for writing and meditation. I ended up doing more sleeping and reflecting. I arrived home with no blog posts or book chapters written, but I was extremely well rested. My husband laughed at me. “What did you do for 3 days if you didn’t write anything?” I sat. And I prayed. And I let myself be in the energy of inspiration, sitting in the energy of spirit. Often when I go on retreat, I go with a purpose, a determination to write something, make something, do something, to create. But in the process, it’s easy for me to forget to just simply be. Inspiration isn’t about having to produce a product or a book; it’s about being within your own spirit. In-Spirit. Inspiration.
In the days since coming back down the mountain, I have been working on how to apply that to daily life. It’s easy for me to be in my spiritual practice when I am in the quiet serenity of the mountains. It is much more challenging to sit with the same grace when the dogs are barking, I’m behind on notes, I haven’t returned phone calls, and my house is a sea of dog hair and laundry. How do we maintain the joy and peace of a retreat in what feels like the chaos of daily living?
I set out with the aim to have a mini retreat every single day this past week—moments of pause and quiet, sips of peace, and intentional connection points to allow myself to tap into inner wisdom and guidance. It looked like taking big deep breaths, snuggling with my two dogs on the couch and appreciating their warmth, feeling the leaves crunching beneath my feet in the forest, watching a stink bug’s little legs walk across a window pane, basking in the sunshine pouring through my window. Each of those took mere moments of my day. But when they all added up, I found I was no longer barking criticism at my husband for how he unloads the dishwasher, I had patience with the barking dogs, I was laughing and smiling more, and I felt more at home in myself.
Retreating allows us to tap into our inner strength and well of wisdom—the source of unconditional love that rests in our heart. Having the courage to retreating into our heart allows us to be in response, rather than reaction, so we can respond from that still small voice within. Reacting only amplifies the energy you are engaging with, but responding, gives us the ability to transmute and diffuse the situation. The difference is a few deep breaths, taking a moment to walk away and get in nature for reflection. The difference is amplifying the energies of anger and frustration, or stepping back into forgiveness and love. Do you want to hold onto the energy of resentment or the power of peace?
There’s strength and power in stillness and silence. How can you take a mini retreat this week?