A few of you may be using your upcoming holidays to take a mini-sabbatical, a spiritual retreat, or maybe an artist’s retreat. Here are 10 tips to survive (and thrive) through the experience.
- Get away from ordinary activities. Enjoy and drink in the contemplative silence. Escape the hustle and bustle.
- Spend a few hours or a few days trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Lord. Gain some distance from daily life. Experience freedom of thought. Try to relax. Yes, this is the same as number 1. It’s that important.
- Look at your life from the outside, from a divine perspective. Get a true sense of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you might be led in the near and distant future.
- Ask what steps are needed to become more the person he’s created you to be. What rings true, authentic, transparent for you at this time? What do you KNOW, but perhaps have been ignoring? Notice any minor irritants or frustrations you meet along the way, they have a message for you too.
- Conduct both a morning and evening period of reflection. Journal and draw the journey, and write down every idea or thought that illuminates your search.
- Spiritual reading is encouraged, as is artistic reading. Sometimes we can see our own lives through the trials of others and in a period of isolation, the reading material can help us feel that someone else was along with us – especially if it is material about someone you admire. I also like to bring some art or some reading that is extremely divergent from the material I’m normally attracted to. I find this helps expand my thinking.
- Build community and learn from your fellow retreatants. Keep your head, trying not to pass judgment, rather simply observing statements and attitudes. You’re at a retreat to GET, no doubt. Be sure to have a mind to GIVE as well, and this can be in very small or large gestures.
- Are there two or three concrete resolutions from your concentrated thought? Don’t worry about the “how” during the retreat, there’s plenty of time for that after. Worry about the what and be sure to let plenty of air in for movement and for thinking about the what from multiple perspectives.
- Wait until you get home to review your notes and your resolutions. The art retreat and the spiritual retreat is the place for the work and the contemplation. Spend your time wisely, remember to ENJOY and laugh. The retreat should be if anything, refreshing and valuable.
- Share your experiences. So many of us simply can’t get away to have clarity of thought. Understanding what others did, and why and how, can be helpful in the larger community.
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