silent retreat week

I need a break. Life has been over full for a sustained period of time and I want to quiet the mind, slow down my body and open my heart. A holiday won’t do it, I don’t need other distractions. While there are mindful acts daily between the hustle, it is time to turn off and turn inward. It is time to come home. My husband, Karl, and I have planned a silent retreat.

At the end of this post are a few resources from which I have taken tips and summed up the following path:

Objective: to deepen awareness with presence. 

Approach: follow a rhythm of practice

Time frame: Months ago we blocked off 5 days this month, Monday to Friday. [we know weekends are needed for tasks]

Other ways to schedule are to take one hour a day, just one half day, a No Gadget Night, or if no free time, turn down the distractions [ie, digital detox] and turn up the mindfulness [ie, gratitude]

Book out: No meetings, work, volunteering, visitors, calls…tell people you will be unavailable. No tasks other than what is planned.
Be free to be present to your experience.

Plan your retreat: Meditation [self or guided..] breathing exercises, walking, yoga, contemplative reading, clean eating, no alcohol, no talking…
Whatever you choose, create a gentle schedule and go with its flow.

Set the stage: A day or two before, plan meals, fill the fridge, clean the house.. Reduce decision making during the retreat and feel lighter in your space

Pause preoccupations: Night before, journal about worries, responsibilities, and give yourself permission to park them for the duration of the retreat.

Turn off:
Reduce audible and visual noise and distraction. No tv, music, computer, phones, consider no electric lights and use candles instead…

Settle in: With our brains and bodies often in full action mode, it may take some time to wind down, let alone settle into contemplative practice. It is possible that the body simply needs rest and may fall asleep! Be patient and allow things to unfold as they will.

Resist, don’t resist: There may be an urge to quit, to distract, to allow the brain to run on with worry… there may be feelings released that come to the surface… commit to your retreat intentions, yet also ‘be with’ what ever arises, returning to presence when ready. 

Know thyself: You know best what you need. Do what feels right for you.

Emerge: When your retreat time is complete, allow for a gentle re-engagement with your environment. 

Please go to this blog post where I am documenting my retreat plan and post retreat experience. If you are joining me with version of retreat activity, please go there as well to share your thoughts. 

Be well,
Jo