Monday, May 16, 2011

Vacation or a Spiritual Retreat????

Summer is the time for vacations; day trips, a week at the beach, a cruise, or a multi week jaunt over to Europe. There are as many types of vacations as there are people! When I was growing up our family always took a summer vacation. We drove up and down the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida. Other families like to spend there time in one place like at a cabin in the woods or a week at the beach. Summer vacations usually require a lot of planning time, money, and energy figuring out the basic questions: what, when, where, and how. Very often you come so tired from you vacation that you need a vacation from your vacation!!!

A spiritual retreat is like a vacation but different. A retreat is like a vacation in that you leave your house or your local area and go to a different location whether a cabin in the woods or a monastery or retreat center. You could also go to a nice Bed and Breakfast. Taking a spiritual retreat means that you leave your regular surroundings and take time for yourself in quiet and deep introspection. You may want to take long walks and enjoy the nature around you, or maybe sit and read the Bible or perhaps a book or two. A retreat is a time for simplicity and reduction. When I go on a retreat (which is not often enough!!!) I make sure NOT to bring my computer, cell phone, or other electrical devices. I do not watch TV or listen to the radio. I spend my time in quiet. I also sleep a lot. I think we become so plugged into the world around us that when we take a few days to rest our body just collapses and we come to a major halt.

If you have never taken a retreat before you may think about taking one. You can start small by taking a one or two day retreat at first, just to "test the waters." Then, later on, if you enjoy it, you can go longer, 3, 5, or 7 days. But time away from work, family, and other personal commitments is healthy.