My final assignment with my Peace in Schools mindfulness training, is to create my very own, four-hour retreat.
So I thought I’d share my process with you, so that you can create one for yourself, too!
Let’s start with WHY. Why create a retreat for yourself? Well, as Peace in Schools says, “We often talk in mindfulness about giving ourselves the gift of our own attention.”
What arises when we give ourselves attention?
In my busy day, I frequently push thoughts aside because I need to focus on the task at hand. Nothing wrong with that! In fact, it’s necessary to function and be our best self.
But I find that if I push aside, and push aside, and push aside, and I don’t create time at the end of my day to stop and give attention to those things pushed aside, Anxiety arises. Or sometimes, Frustration, frequently partnered with his good pal, Displaced-Irritation.
I’m thinking of this retreat as an opportunity to invite in what I have been pushing aside.
There are big changes happening in my life right now -- so I am also seeing this as an opportunity to widen my focus for a little bit. Instead of just getting through the day’s tasks, pull back. See the bigger picture. And of course, note what arises.
As best I can, I’m letting go of any expectations for this retreat. I’m not expecting it to be calming and relaxing, but I’m also not expecting to start balling after examining my innermost truths. Both of those things might happen. Or neither. Regardless, I trust that I am adequate to experience whatever arises, and be okay.
At least, this is what I’m aiming for. This is what I’m practicing. Can’t make any promises to be perfect. ;) But practice is what it’s all about, right?
Alright. Let’s build this thing.
Like any good recipe, let’s start with the ingredients.
You will need:
FOUR HOURS OF TIME:
My husband and I are in the midst of closing on a house, so I’ve scheduled my retreat to happen on a day that I *hope* will allow me to practice in the new house. I think that this would be a really lovely way to introduce myself to this house and kickstart our life in it.
I’ve already told my husband which day it is, what room I’ll be in, and that he’s not allowed to come bug me unless it’s an emergency. Boundaries, baby!
I know that I’m going to want to do some mindful movement, so I’m planning on wearing something comfortable but not so comfy that I’m tempted to just take a nap. ;) I want to feel good in whatever I’m wearing.
No tech is a little tricky because I was thinking I’d use my phone to track time. I guess this means I’m going out to get some sort of clock! I’ll update you when I do.
I’ve planned my retreat for the morning, when my mind is clearest. If you’re not a morning person, don’t feel like you have to do your retreat then. Schedule it for the best time of day that works for your schedule and your ability to focus.
So! For my meal, I’ll be having a yummy lunch! I think I’m going to make a really big salad with all my favorite things. And a cookie. A really, really good chocolate chip cookie. I’m already excited.
SOMEWHERE TO PRACTICE:
Like I said, I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to host the retreat in our new house. But if not, I’m planning on doing part of it in my apartment and part of it at the park that’s near us.
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