Social media, magazines, studios, and Gurus, tend to push “retreats” that usually cost a pretty penny to attend.
These getaways can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
As a culture that is tending towards cultivating more mindfulness we are attending these retreats then coming home fresh and more ready to face our busy and hectic lives.
We’re taught that it’s normal to pay someone else to teach us how to cultivate more peacefulness, mindfulness and healthier behaviors. We are taught that we need to leave our homes and go away from our lives in order to find such self awareness.
But a Self-Made Retreat can offer us the same benefits, and at a fraction of the cost.
Instead of giving into the idea of our needing to leave home (and paying for it), planning a self-made retreat (especially for those on restricted budgets) can be as—if not more—deeply powerful.
I chose to create one for myself within my own home.
I let everyone on social media know I was, ”Slipping into Silence,” taking three days and two nights offline, off phones, off texting, with no music, no television, no writing, no reading, in complete silence… and no talking (not even to my pets).
Then I turned the ringers off my phone, put my laptop and smartphone out of sight. I prepared by buying all my favorite healthy foods for the three days, and I slipped right in silence within the comfort of my own home.
What came out of that practice was a lot of quiet time studying trees from my window, allowing them to be my books. Mother Nature became my internet, as I witnessed her changing each day and night. The wind became my music, my cats and dog became my entertainment, and yoga was my exercise.
I welcomed the use of my mala, invoking a silent sacred chant every time I found myself wanting to “connect,” through Facebook, email, text, and phones, or wishing for music or a movie, something outside of myself.
My meals became a sacred act in making and eating. I found myself eating more slowly, mindfully, and with each meal becoming filled with gratitude. Eating, too, became holy. I slept beautifully every night, and rose when my body felt ready.
My relationship to my house also changed. Mundane chores became meditations, my mind more centered with one-pointed, on where I was and on what I was doing.
The act of sweeping and the clearing away of dust psychically—and physically—allowed for new space to enter.
When I bathed, my body temple became just that, my body temple. I tended to every aspect of it from head to toe rather than the usual overlooking hurried fashion that so easily can happen on days during our busy lives.
All sense of hurry melted away.
By the end of the last day spent in silence I came to see with more clarity how truly peace is found within, within the daily actions we must perform to maintain our households, and that what we choose to fill our time up with, can all serve as a meditative act.
Our self-made retreats potentially can cost less than what we normally spend on weekends, or consecutive days off, and it offers the same, if not more, powerful lessons than the pricey retreats we can get hooked into buying and attending.
Whose energy is better to spend quality time with than our very own? After Self-made retreats, there’s no debt to pay off on a credit card.
If we set the intention to create our own sacred self-made retreats, to sit in silence and observe, in the darkness of our own dens, communicating with Mother Nature, by listening, then when coming out of our silent days we are filled with knowledge on when to speak, we come to know what must be said, we act when we know what must be done, and grow closer in knowing how to live from our own creative wisdom, rather than that taught or inherited from another.
In silent time spent alone, self-made retreats teach us that peace is not found outside of us or our homes, but rather in our own dens. Through separateness in silence we find a guided ‘knowing’ to emerge from within that can’t be bought, traveled to by plane or car or paid thousands for.
But it certainly can be found in the comfort of our own homes.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Image: martinak15 at Flickr