Pixies need to get away sometimes, don’t we?
Except that many pixies don’t have time, funds, energy, or resources to simply “get away” from their lives.
Benefits of Retreating:
Resets the nervous system, the digestive system, and the immune system
Gives your bodyMind a rest
Centers or re-centers us with our purpose and intention
Helps us cultivate self-care as a priority
Re-calibrates our priority list entirely
With just a bit of planning and preparation, you can have a deeply restful and wonderful experience, for not a lot of money. Follow my tips and see what magic you can create! I recommend retreating at least once a month, for at least 24 hours. If that’s not possible, use the tips you can to make the most of the time you DO have. Starting after lunch or dinner, and retreating until the next morning, say, after breakfast, can be wonderful. Make it yours!
Actually, staying at home is MORE fun for me sometimes, because I know I will sleep well in my own bed, and I have ALLMYSTUFF around me to play with.
I like knowing exactly what is in my fridge, and how to get somewhere if there’s an emergency.
I also like that it’s SO inexpensive to do a home retreat, and that when I follow my own rules, I really do let go and enjoy my time.
Well, you’re around allyourstuff, so getting distracted can be easy. To avoid this, I do two things: schedule my time, and add in time for a movie or other “distraction” stuff, that I can do at home.
Folks might not respect the boundaries you set for your retreat. To help this, I suggest clear communication, about a week ahead of your appointed retreat time. Arrange for overnights at a friend’s house for your children. Let your partner or roommates know you will be playing hermit, and would like your space during this time. Maybe you arrange to enjoy one meal together at the end of the day, but outside of that, you’re left alone. Lots of compromises and solutions can be found, but you need to be clear about what you’re setting out to do:
Take time off from the world in general, and playing spa.
The list of Not Right Now:
Cell phones, computers, TVs, tablets, eReaders and the like. Anything that plugs in. Just turn it all off. Keep a clock around, but that’s it. Even that, keep in a corner.
Add to the list: unnecessary social stuff: friends and neighbors dropping by, family members wanting to hang out…these folks need to be made aware that you’re not “around” for however long your are retreating.
The list of Yes More Please:
Plentiful fruits, vegetables, water and herbal tea. You will cook simple, nourishing foods. You are bringing balance back into the energetic and physical bodyminds.
Books you love, or that will inspire and maybe challenge you. You will be reading and meditating as part of the retreat, so…find some stuff to enjoy! Sally Kempton’s “Meditation for the Love of It” is a wonderful guide, and my old standby is Lama Surya Das’s “Awakening the Buddha Within”.
A creative outlet or two: Do you journal, or write poetry? Paint? Sketch? Make collages? Throw pottery or work with clay? Make stuff with leaves or flowers? Take photographs? Whatever gets your creative juices flowing, have it around. You can look for art journal ideas on Pinterest for sure, but don’t spend tons of time and money investing in a new project you might be upset by.
A yoga mat, or another way to move your body. You gotta move the body. However you do it, make sure you have whatever equipment you need, and music, if you need that, too.
Dancing, by the way, is totally appropriate for your movement. And this is the only piece of technology that’s allowed: music player of some sort.
Candles, incense, and epsom salts for a wonderful soak or two.
Now, onto the template of Awesome Retreating!
1. Turn off your phone and all the other technology stuff. Take a few moments to make a cup of tea and journal about what you are aiming to cultivate during this time. This is known as setting sankalpa, or intention, and it’s extremely powerful to practice because it sets the tone for everything else we do.
Some ideas: To enhance connection with my Source; to increase Energy, to decrease stress, to heal the bodyMind, to practice Silence, to listen to mySelf
Journal about what’s been going on lately, and what specific steps you will take to enhance your intention.
Ex: “I know I have been neglecting my bodyMind lately, by not eating well, and not moving my body as much as I like to. I will be eating foods that I enjoy cooking that nourish me deeply, drinking plenty of water, and moving my body at least 2 times for 45 minutes each session during this weekend retreat.”
You are making a pact with yourSelf, so honor it. Take a moment, and repeat 3 times:
“I honor these promises I now make to mySelf. I am ready to change, and I will allow this time of retreat to change me.”
2. Map it out:
Schedule your time so you KNOW what you are going to do, and when to do it!
Make time for bathing slowly, drinking lots of herbal tea, being in the kitchen, moving the body, and meditation. Make time for “free time” so you can watch a movie (something that won’t bring you too far out of the Retreat mindset… Whale Rider and The Fountain are two of my favorites for Retreat times. You can also choose to eschew all technology and simply enjoy a book or a walk. Make time to be outside, and time to reflect.
Leave space in between things, so you aren’t forced to do something if it doesn’t feel right. These are guidelines to help you, not a rigid system to judge yourself through if you don’t get it all done.
The things I love most about Retreating are: epsom salt baths with lavender essential oil, time to be quiet and take naps, time for art projects, and time for yoga and dance. I also love getting outside and making mandalas with natural materials found along my way.
Do things that make you feel Beautiful, Connected, and Indulged. You deserve the sumptuous sheets on your bed, and a long bath, and a beautiful fresh fruit salad for breakfast.
Speaking of food…here’s a suggested menu-template to follow:
Waking: warm water with lemon juice followed by light movement (yoga, walking, gentle swim)
Breakfast: Fresh fruit salad or a smoothie (adding in a handful or two of spinach will amp nutrients without making it taste “swampy”)
Morning snack: Almonds or Cashews, or more fruit, drink water
Lunch: Quinoa Buddha Bowl (make quinoa, cook up-or just eat raw- a bunch of veggies, toast some cashews or sesame seeds, and mix it all up with some salt or tamari)
Snack: Carrots or celery with peanut butter, or some fresh fruit. Think light and easy and nothing processed (i.e. nothing you didn’t make yourself)
Dinner: Vegetable miso soup (cook veggies in water, dissolve fresh miso paste in some of the water, and add extra flavor if you like. I like rice noodles, dulse or arame sea vegetables, carrots, scallions and mushrooms, with some tofu.)
Have some herbal tea
Dessert: cacao drink made with warm almond mylk (make your own almond mylk if you can), 2 t raw cacao powder and 1 t honey. Warm it all together over the stove, and stir well. Pour into a mug, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
Bed early. Stop drinking fluids by 8:00 (or about an hour before you get into bed) so you don’t wake up to pee 🙂
I hope these ideas and offerings inspire you to set up a wonderful Retreat for yourSelf and maybe a friend! Please be in touch with questions and concerns.