Retreat! Time to Reflect, Rejuvenate and Rejoice!
(c)1999 - Julie Jordan Scott
Every year, I pack up a duffel bag and head to the mountains near Yosemite. A weekend each year spent in the company of 90 or so women. Journeying from places mostly from throughout California. As we step from our vehicles upon arrival, we breathe in the pine smell of the crisp clean air and breathe out the stresses and concerns of our lives in the Valley below.
I have been making this pilgrimage for the past six years. Each time I return home refreshed and ready for whatever real life may have in store for me.
Embracing fully the concept of retreat, I have decided to schedule a monthly, day long personal retreat. I have set aside on my calendar throughout the year the last Friday of the month for this purpose. On my retreat day, I will intentionally create an experience that is unlike any of my other days throughout the month. Set apart. Special. Solitary.
Come along with me, lets try this together! I have uncovered a retreat formula that may work for you as well.
The day begins with a day of reflection. Raise a figurative mirror to yourself, take your personal pulse. There are several ways to approach this. A few suggestions are as follows:
* Make a list of victories from the current month. Reflect: How did you achieve these victories? What action steps did it require? How did it feel to complete these victories? Would you describe your achievement fun? work? performing? striving? playing?
*Make a list of unfinished goals. Reflect: Why did you miss the mark this month? Is this goal truly according to my life purpose? Is this a task I can delegate or barter out? Should I re-add this to my list, or should I take it off?
*Make a list of goals/tasks for the new month. Reflect: Which projects should "bridge up", fitting into my 30-60-90 day, 6 month, yearly plan? Are there any other areas that need to be thought out or planned? Which tasks are the highest priority and how can you ensure you will get there.
Then, set aside your carefully crafted plan! Its time to move!
Now it is time to put aside your "thinking hat" and work with your subconscious or intuitive mind.
Time to get busy! Do you like to exercise? Create Art? Look at Art? Listen to music? How about a long drive? Believe it or not, I have been known the cruise the Mall during my rejuvenation time.
Take along a pad and pencil or pen and relish whichever activity you choose. The pad and pencil is to take notes about whatever comes up, whatever floats in your mind in regards to the earlier Reflection exercise.
Don't force anything to come! Just play! Enjoy! Be! You have this agenda, yes, but in actuality, you are not wedded to DOING anything! The point is to be intentionally free with yourself.
After you feel you have had enough time creating, driving, walking, exercising, mall cruising take time and sit down. Take out your list from your Reflection time and revise as necessary. This may be the time to have something to eat. Some refreshment. You may choose to completely envelope yourself in the process of eating.
Next, I find it helpful and invigorating at this point to do some reading. Not the newspaper, not a magazine, but something inspiring. Something that addresses the areas I am currently addressing on my Monthly plan.
After a half an hour or so, go back to your list. Has your quiet mind told you now to make any changes? Make note of them, add to the list, subtract from the list, brainstorm if necessary for your barter list.
Depending upon how long each component has lasted for you, you may have time to reflect some more. Spend more time in creation. Make sure to leave the time frame as loose as possible while still somewhat structured. The three main themes are very important. As you move to the end of your Retreat day, spend some time rejoicing. Applaud yourself for your efforts. Note all that you have accomplished this day.
Re enter the world slowly. Be gentle with yourself as you continue to refine YOUR Retreat process. I hope you will take time to really thoughtfully consider making this a regular part of your Purposeful life.