I mentioned my annual retreat in my newsletter. Got several emails asking more about my annual retreat. So here’s the goods.
First, read this article:
Introduction to Retreats = http://www.relaxfocussucceed.com/Articles/2004010002.htm
My annual retreat takes place at the local Passionist Retreat Center near Sacramento, CA. We gather on Friday, catch up with people we haven’t see in a year, and take stock of who’s not here.
The retreat officially begins with a meal. After the meal, we gather together and talk about the theme of this year’s retreat. There’s a little photocopied pamphlet with readings and information. After that meeting, we are “on retreat” and remain silent most of the time.
Most people find that, once they check in and the retreat begins, they feel compelled to go take a nap.
We hold in so much tension and so much nervous energy. We spend our time tending to others and serving our families and businesses, that we rarely have time to truly unplug. Just the psychological knowledge that there will be no phone calls, no email, no interruptions, no weeding, no dishes, and no errands is very powerful.
Here’s your agenda for the next three days:
Go to meetings (“conferences”) if you want to.
Pray if you want to.
Spend time wandering the beautiful grounds.
Eat meals (someone else will do all the work).
Sleep at night.
To the extent that you wish to participate in the program, the retreat is “guided.” But if you choose to quietly do your own thing, that’s perfectly okay.
In the last year, my brother wandered all over Europe for six weeks. He came back with some revelations about changes he wanted to make in his life. Similarly, my wife went walking in the backwoods of Southern France for two weeks. She came back with a resolve to make changes for a better life.
I didn’t get two weeks or six weeks. But three days of quiet solitude is a very powerful tool.
My retreat is a time to start reviewing my year ahead. It helps that it’s near the year end/beginning. But you know, January First is just an artificial line. You can review the year ahead any day you want.
Now I’m back in the real world. A little more refreshed. But, to be honest, now I gotta do some Christmas shopping and take out the garbage.
It was good to get away.