Plotting Your Course

Do you know where you are headed in life? Are you going in a direction with intention or are you going with the flow, allowing life to guide your steps?

This question got me to thinking about how folks have navigated their lives over the course of time, especially the ancient seagoers.

For me, the thought of getting in a boat, leaving shore, and heading out beyond sight of land creates a good deal of concern. I suppose if I could sail along the edge of land, I’d be okay, but crossing an ocean by myself, no way.

I wondered how the early seafarers managed to arrive at their destinations, especially if they were going somewhere no one had ever been before.

I did a little research and discovered that they used the sun and the North Star (Polaris) to help guide them. Always knowing where north was became extremely important to them as a reference point. While the sun was up, they could easily track their east/west route and at noon they carefully watched the shadows the sun cast. They also became familiar with the constellations in the night sky as navigational aids. There was even a reference to watching the flight paths of birds and the direction the fish were swimming to help set their course.

What does all of this have to do with us?

Well, one thing it suggests to me is, what do we use as our aids to navigate our lives?

No doubt there are many ways for us to move through our lives and I’m wondering if I asked you, could you tell me how you do it?

Do you have a set of intentions, a kind of road map for what you desire to experience in your life? It strikes me that without intentions, it is very difficult to arrive where we say we want to go, for if we don’t have any set points we often drift an aimless path.

I’m not saying there aren’t times when it’s nice to kick back and relax, but it seems to me that most folks want to experience certain things in their lives and without knowing what they are, it is much more challenging to have them.

One thing that may help is to have some mid-points between your starting and end points. Sort of mini goals that keep you on track. Often it is easier to make advancements when your goal is nearer and seems more practical. Breaking down the process can be especially helpful when you start to veer off course from a mid-point because you can bring yourself back and not stress over how far afield you are from your end point.

What other navigational aids are there in reaching our intentions?

Perhaps you have many you use, and I hope they always help you reach all of your dreams. However, if you could use a few suggestions, here are the ones that come to me.

Although I’m not usually good at this, it has been one of the most important pathways to succeeding in my life…ask for help. None of us know everything, so it’s important to have your own North Stars in your life, folks who want to help you. And once you’ve asked for help, accept it when it’s offered to you. Learn from what’s given to you. It may not be the precise way for you, but it may spark something in you that does create a path forward.

I also believe we are all gifted. We came here with an idea in mind of what we’d like to experience while here. Each of us has an inner knowing. So, believe in yourself and then surround yourself with others who believe in you and who share your dreams. They can be cheerleaders helping you reach all of your mid-points and all of your end points.

Power

A visual image popped into my head. It was of a roadside mailbox, the kind that stands on top of a post and has one of those arms that the postal delivery person raises to alert you that you have mail.

But then the image shifted and somewhere in the background, I could hear a ‘ding’ and a voice saying, “you have mail”. I’m aware it’s there but some part of me is refusing to open it.

Have you ever been tempted to ignore messages being sent to you?

They could be from a boss, coworker, family member, doctor, attorney, or they could even be from YOU. Perhaps some part of you is trying to get your own attention.

I think I occasionally resist reading or listening to certain messages because I’m not sure I want to know their content and the simplest way to avoid them is to pretend they don’t exist. I sometimes do this despite knowing it won’t actually work. I know that whatever message I ignore, or resist will just keep coming back until I am open to listening to it.

I wonder what this image is meant to convey to me. Is there symbolism in it or some necessary guidance?

I ponder this for a bit and then something jumps up and waves madly at me. It has its own voice.

It says to me, “This message is about ‘power’, specifically ‘your power’. The voice goes on to say, “There is only one true source of power, which is your connection to the divine. It is from here that all power emanates. Every action, belief, and decision needs some of this power to manifest in your life.”

“It takes power to create each of your life experiences. Sometimes you are conscious of this dynamic, but most of the time you are not, and yet it remains the truth.”

“Every time you believe you are empty, you seek to fill yourself back up, so you expend power (your energy) by seeking positive responses or reinforcement from others in the world. And you attempt to refuel yourself using others as your power source. This will never work, no matter how hard you try. This will not work, even if they are willing to give you some of their power. Power does not work this way.”

Frankly, I’m stunned by this message. I feel its truth for me. I recognize that it is exactly what I do and what I’ve observed others doing. When I sense an emptiness inside of me, I do not always return to the divine source for replenishment. Rather I seek out others and expect them to share some of their power with me. It’s not a fully conscious decision on my part and it feels like one of my default settings kicking in.

The voice returns, “No one can take your power away from you, although it may feel this way. Every person has their own power, drawn from the same divine source. If you feel as though you are losing power, it is because YOU have allowed it to be released.”

I wonder, why would I do that? What would possess me to release power that I need? And I wonder, what energetic dynamic is at work here?

Some clarity arrives when the voice continues, “As you connect with the divine, you are filled with power, and it is up to you to decide how to use it. You make all of the choices. You can release it (allow it to slip away), retain it (for later use), use it (for all of life’s decisions and actions or enhance it (share and combine it with others). Each choice is yours and yours alone. Neither you nor anyone else can give away their power to another, so remember this when you fill empty, and return to the divine source to be filled.”

I am grateful that I finally opened and listened to this message and the power it holds for me.

Bridges

Are you a fan of bridges or do they scare you a bit?

I’ve driven and walked over lots of bridges and most are okay. But then there are a few that are truly nerve-wracking because they are so high or seem to sway with the wind or the end seems to disappear before it reaches the other side, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever set foot on firm ground again.

I know a few people who will drive out of their way to avoid going over certain bridges. I recently discovered that there is a recognized phobia for this condition, referred to as gephyrophobia, and that it often produces panic attacks. I feel badly for those afflicted with this condition and know of many bridges that would produce these effects.

This morning I was thinking about bridges of a different sort. The ones it would be wonderful to build between people.

We have such strong opinions and reactions regarding how we view the world, and they can create large chasms between us. I wondered to myself, what causes all of these and easily came up with an extensive list. No doubt you could add to it with ideas of your own.

Political ideologies, religious dogmas, social mores, economic stratification, injustices, wars, philosophical differences. And, branching off each of these are even more opinions and hardened ideas that make it very challenging.

So, how are we to bridge the gaps?

I suppose it is up to each of us to decide what approach might work for us. I’m wondering, do you have a proven method, or would you like a suggestion?

If you have something that works for you, I hope you share it with others, because it often feels that our human race could benefit from a lot of bridging.

If you’re open to an idea, I have one to share.

The idea begins by visualizing a bridge in your mind. There are two ends, and each has a firm foundation, which suggests something to me. It feels as though both ends are necessary and important. But there is a feeling of them standing alone and apart, so that without the lanes that crossed between them, they cannot support each other, and they are less because of this.

The visualization shifts.

One side of the bridge is now connected to my head, where all thoughts about the world reside. It is powerful and capable of great things, but it falls short of being complete.

On the other side is my heart where feelings exist. It is a loving, caring place, but it too is incomplete.

The two sides need each other to be wholly effective. And they also need a way to communicate. They need the lanes in between them, and they need to partner together, otherwise nothing significant can be accomplished.

And they need to find common ground and a reason to work toward mutually beneficial outcomes.

I often find that I learn best through examples, so here’s one that came to my mind.

While driving in a city, I’ll often notice a person standing by the side of the road holding a sign, asking for money. My head recognizes that there are many opinions regarding those who do this. Some folks feel they should get a job like everyone else. Others resist offering them money because they feel they’ll use it for liquor or drugs or something else objectionable. And while folks may be sensitive to their plight, they don’t want to encourage them to continue and feel there must be a better way.

On the other side of my bridge, my heart fills with love, sympathy, and empathy for them. It hopes that they will receive whatever they truly need, whether it’s money, a smile, or a word of encouragement.

But without a bridge between my head and my heart no action will ever occur. For me, that’s where compassion comes in. It’s when the love in my heart finds direction through an outpouring of compassion. It overflows into my mind and creates a desire to offer aid, support, and kindness.

Compassion builds bridges. Simple acts of encouragement, caring and sharing from the abundance we each have within us. Compassion builds lanes between the two foundations, making the entire bridge come to life.

Spots

If you thought about it for a moment, how many references come to your mind for the word, ‘spot’?

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while now, you’ll remember that my mind doesn’t always travel in a straight line. Often, I see new routes and explore different directions.

So, when I landed on the word ‘spot’, many things came to mind, and I thought I’d share some of them with you, ending with one that may alter your life.

Looking down at the carpet on our floor, I noticed several spots. I wondered how they all got there, and something occurred to me. Two different ways of thinking, objective and subjective.

Objectively, it’s most likely that someone (and it could have been me), spilled something on the carpet and obviously, something that couldn’t be cleaned, otherwise, I wouldn’t still see it.

Subjectively, the cause could have been carelessness on someone’s part (animals included), or it could have been a simple accident, and no one’s fault. This led me to wonder what the difference between the two is.

Perhaps in the first case, the one responsible doesn’t care and in the second case, the one responsible may care a great deal. I wondered how I determine which one it is? Do I judge solely by their reaction to the spot? And how does my judgement impact how I feel about the spot and the one responsible for putting it there (me included)?

Another reference to ‘spot’ is the saying, “x marks the spot”. In some cases, this means that there is an ‘x’, perhaps on a map, which exists to indicate something significant is located there. Maybe the ‘spot’ is the source of buried treasure or marks the place to dig, so that a project can be accomplished. The spot is important, not in and of itself, but because it serves as a guide.

I wonder, are there ‘spots’ in our lives which would help guide us, if we knew they were there? Is it a case where they are already there, but we don’t recognize them? If so, what would we need to do, so that we would take note of them?

After a bit of consideration, it seems to me that everything in our lives is actually a ‘spot’. If we pay attention, everything is here to guide us, especially our intuitions.

A scary ‘spot’ is the one found on an x-ray. Once located, it usually creates immediate anxiety. It’s almost impossible to calmly sit back and wait for the results. Our minds are inclined to fill in the absent results with worst-case scenarios. Although it might be nothing but a shadow, we’re strongly tempted to believe the ‘spot’ will be life threatening.

This kind of ‘spot’ generates panic and fear and for good reason, especially under certain conditions.

So, what else can do we do about this kind of ‘spot’? Are there objective and subjective ways to approach it or do they blur together, making our path forward difficult?

Can we see this ‘spot’ as some sort of guide? And if so, how can it give us direction?

This feels to me like one of those decisions where, to use another expression, “the rubber meets the road”, meaning the point at which things become the most important.

This is everyone’s own personal decision point. And we each arrive at this ‘spot’, sooner or later.

If you have a guide who aids you, this would be the time to connect with your guide.

But, if you have arrived here, and have done so many times in your life and haven’t found a source, a guide who offers you wisdom and comfort, perhaps you’d like to consider this invitation. It is an invitation to form your own connection directly with the divine.

The process is simple. Sit back, close your eyes, breathe in and out gently and allow your body to settle. Relax into yourself. If you hear or see any objections or obstacles, acknowledge that they exist and promise to talk with them later, then release them, let them go. Allow yourself to feel a sense of freedom. Give yourself a chance to create some space inside you, as an opening to the divine, by whatever name feels comfortable to you. Imagine whatever ‘spot’ is creating a challenge for you and ask for help, then sit in stillness and listen. It may be a quiet voice at first, but over time, it will become a great source of strength, comfort, and wisdom. It will become a sure guide.

The Greatest Among You

I want to share an incredible experience with you. It may stretch your beliefs a bit, but I think it will be worth your time.

I realize it’s up to each person to find their own way in this world. I do not ask you to believe me. I ask only that you read the following words I am writing and let them reveal to you the truth they have to share.

Beginning on Good Friday in 2018, I started receiving an intimate understanding of the events surrounding Yeshiwa’s life (Jesus’ name in his native language of Aramaic). I sensed a strength, peace and clarity and felt a ‘knowing’ arrive within me, as if I were present during the events which occurred during Yeshiwa’s last week on earth. I felt the entire story channel through me. So much so, that I wrote it all down.

It took a great deal of courage for me to share this dramatic portrait with others, especially because there are some elements which differ widely from the traditional Easter story. But I did, and with the help of many others, the play Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love, was performed live on Good Friday at Unity Church in Albany (NY) in 2019. The congregation sat in rapt attention while each part was spoken. It was the quietest congregation I’ve ever experienced.

Recently I was rereading the play and one section jumped out at me. I could tell instantly why it did because it was an answer to a series of questions that have been troubling me.

I understand that you, as a reader, may have different religious and spiritual beliefs and I honor that. I wanted to share this with you, because I believe that no matter what faith you embrace, there is profound wisdom in these words.

As a part of the story, Yeshiwa is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper and is explaining the meaning of his washing their feet.

Here is the passage:

“And I responded, because I love you and care for you and to show you the way to live. Others have told you that the greatest always receives rich treasure and reward. But I tell you that the greatest among you will open their hearts wide and will serve others. They will draw love from the deep well inside them and let it overflow into the world. This will be their service and reward.”

For me, there is enormous relevance in this passage and a great deal of clarity.

I’d failed to fully understand that ‘others’ refers to all those who surround me, but specifically to all of the cultural training I’ve received from others since day one. And I recognized in a new way that the reference to the ‘greatest’, were those I’d considered as the most popular, prettiest, most famous, those that have the most followers or influence or who have received the most complements and praise. They were the ones with great wealth, premium cars, big mansions, and those who received major awards and recognition. And even though I intellectually understand none of this necessarily bring joy or happiness, I felt attracted to it.

After rereading the passage, I felt a huge shift. A very welcome huge shift.

I sensed the usage of the word “I” to mean the divine (in this case, Yeshiwa) and that the ‘greatest’ refers to those who are the most joy-filled, happiest, most open. And that when a person chooses to ‘open their hearts wide’, they naturally offer others love, compassion, aid, hugs, encouragement, companionship, and they give freely from their strength. When one chooses to ‘serve others’, they offer themselves freely and fully, they provide support and care. They donate their time, talents, and treasures.

Those who decide to live this way in the world will find they can always draw from the deep well inside. And this well never runs dry because when one lives this way they are connected to the divine source.

This is what I want most in my life and I needed this reminder to help me shift away from what ‘others’ may feel is important and center in on what I know in my heart is important to me.

SPECIAL OFFER There will be a live performance of Nine, A Holy Week Story of Love at Unity Church in Albany on April 7, 2023, at 7:00pm. This performance will also be livestreamed on YouTube. I’ll provide more details a few weeks prior to the event

The Origin of Disease

I am curious about where diseases come from. It seems to me there could be many sources and I wonder how much control any of us have over them.

Are you curious as well? Have you ever wondered it’s just the luck of the draw whether you get sick or do you think there is more to it?

I am not a doctor or scientist, and I don’t profess to have any of the answers, but what I do have is a lot of questions, some of which might be valuable.

After doing some preliminary research there seems to be a sense that perhaps most disease results from interactions with an individual’s environment. Some harmful external force impacts our internal workings and creates an interference with our normal healthy selves.

It’s not too hard to believe this is the truth, especially when you consider air, water and soil pollution, toxic chemicals, contaminated food sources, insect and other infestations. And when you add in other disease sources likes viruses and bacteria, the list of possible diseases expands rapidly.

I discovered that it is felt by some that there is a simple underlying factor, which is that when disease is present, there is an imbalance within our physical system. That seemed to make sense to me. When something that does not belong in one place is introduced, it certainly could interfere with normal functioning.

And as much as disease effects our physical being, it also impacts our emotional, mental, and spiritual selves. It feels true to me that when one system is compromised, others may be as well. This of course compounds the problem, and no doubt creates more challenges in the healing process.

I am extremely grateful for the whole medical community and their contributions in identifying and treating all of the diseases that afflict us.

What I am wondering about is the impact of our thoughts and beliefs regarding disease. How much influence do they have on whether and to what extent we experience diseases in our lives?

Is it possible that what we think will happen (good or bad thoughts) effects our experience of any disease? Is it possible that our beliefs create our diseases? If so, is it possible for us to return to health, with new or different beliefs?

These are the intriguing questions that run through my mind. Of course, each person would need to answer these for themselves. I wondered how a person goes about making their decisions, and began considering my beliefs about health, wellness, and disease.

Would there be any value in thinking about the sequence of events that led up to the disease’s arrival or is there too much randomness?

Personally, after giving all of this a great deal of thought I have come to a few conclusions I’d like to share. Of course, none of these are intended to sway you from seeking qualified professional help or medical treatment. They are just some things you might want to consider for yourself.

It seems to me that my beliefs play a key role in my overall health and depending on my decisions, contribute to experiencing wellness or disease.

What I believe creates my life experience.

A simple case in point was a belief that if I got cold (walked outside without the proper clothing) I would catch a cold. It worked EVERY time, until I changed my belief. One day, I decided to shift my belief and told myself that what I used to believe was no longer true. Interestingly, I’ve never had another cold merely from being cold.

What would be fascinating to know is how many diseases in my life were created by my beliefs, rather than from an outside environmental source. It’s unlikely that I could ever know this, but what it suggests to me is how beneficial it would be to investigate my beliefs whenever I experience any dis-ease.

Dropping Weight

I wonder what the title of this post suggests to you. Perhaps, it might imply the idea of losing physical weight, by following some diet and exercise plan. But, if you thought for a moment, could it also mean something else to you?

Could it mean letting go of the things that weigh you down emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually?

For me, it does.

When I journaled recently about how life was going for me, I discovered several items that came up all had one common theme. They all represented things I felt were missing in my life, or at least it seemed so.

As I thought more about it more, it became clearer that, not only was it about things I felt I didn’t have and wanted, but it was also about things I had, but wanted to get rid of. It was both ends of the spectrum.

That seemed like a pretty significant challenge to try to work through.

That’s when an image appeared. Without thinking about it, I began drawing in the margins of my notebook. I started on the left side with a stick figure that represented me. I was under water and sinking quickly because I was holding a huge heavy weight in my arms. There were little air bubbles escaping my mouth and rising to the surface. I colored in the weight with my pen, making it darker, which gave me an even stronger sensation of descending. It felt oppressive and a sense of desperation began to form.

After a moment I started drawing a new figure in the right margin. It showed the same stick figure, but I had released the weight, which was descending rapidly downward. Once I’d dropped the weight from my arms, I began ascending, up, up, up, until my head broke the surface, and I could breathe again.

Ahhhh, what a relief.

I glanced back and forth between the two drawings, stunned at what they conveyed to me.

In one, I held onto the weight. In the other, I let it go. Could it get any simpler than that?

The outcome depended on a singular decision, which was entirely up to me. I wondered, is that really the case? Could it truly be that easy to change things in my life? Could it be that easy to change things in your life?

As I centered my gaze on the position of the weight in both pictures, the starkness of the difference seized me. On the left, I would not let go, so began sinking. On the right, I let go and began rising. I realized I was repeating my observation, but sometimes that’s necessary for me to actually understand things, even simple things.

So, what in my life weighs me down? And even more importantly, why do I allow this to happen? Why don’t I let go, especially when I know it will harm me in the end?

Of course, the ‘weight’ could be anything; the extra physical weight I carry, past emotional traumas, worries about getting day-to-day tasks completed, whether we’ll always have enough of what we feel we need, or anything else that runs through my mind, sometimes at warp speed.

It feels important to ask myself a question at this point. Will carrying this weight help me or hurt me? In many cases, the answer is obvious, it will hurt me.

So, what do I do about this? How do I just let go?

An answer forms inside me.

In every case where I feel weighed down, I sense there is a message for me. Something meant to illuminate me and guide me toward the surface, where there is air to breathe. Discovering the message then becomes very important to me. So, I began to spend time with each one, allowing them to unfold and offer their wisdom, so I can release them and rise to the surface.

Knowing I have the option to drop the weight makes all the difference to me.

Steps to New Beliefs

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the beliefs I hold and wondering if they all benefit me.

If I asked you, would you say that all your beliefs serve you? Do they help you throughout your day, save you time, improve your relationships, make you happy?

Have you ever wondered if you would be better off if you changed some of your beliefs?

Either fortunately or unfortunately, I ask myself this kind of question all the time. I’m happy about it when the answers come easily, but not so happy when they don’t. I have to confess, more often than not, they don’t come very easily.

However, what I’ve also discovered is that that’s not a bad thing, because much of their eventual benefit to me is found in the struggle I have while considering my beliefs.

Even so, I do occasionally get stuck and need some help digging out.

By now you probably know my source for aid often comes from Lia, a feminine voice of god that speaks gently to me.

When I reached a low point in trying to mentally figure out the origin and benefits of a belief recently, I became fatigued and disappointed. That is always my cue to sit back, close my eyes and breathe deeply, allowing my mind to take a much-needed break. It is then that I can hear Lia’s voice clearly.

So that’s what I did, and I was absolutely shocked by her words and contribution to my sanity.

She guided me through a process which transformed something in me. It shifted my whole perspective and gave me a fresh approach to use, one that felt very right to me. It felt so right in fact, I wanted to share it with you.

Lia cautioned me to not make it too formal a process, but rather to listen to the intent of each of the series of steps she provided. For me, the name I used for ‘beliefs’ in this case was, ‘problems’, so when you see the word appear, remember this is my reference.

Step 1: Identify all of your ‘problem’ areas, because it is very difficult to hit a target you cannot see or name.

Step 2: Note (list) your obstacles and objections about this process. Be candid about your roadblocks. Take note of each of your fears as they appear.

Step 3: Review you list of obstacles and objections, then reread them and note any clarifying thoughts. See how fear drives each of them and consider whether ONE speaks for all the rest (this would be your primary fear).

Step 4: Examine your primary fear and realize that every fear is a message about a belief you have.

Step 5: Explore all of the messages you encounter. Ask the primary fear- how will my answers speak my truth to me? Or in other words, what is their purpose? Recognize that the answers are always tied to your spiritual blueprint (the experiences you came here to earth to experience). Know that each message is drawing your attention and will become louder, until it has your full attention.

Step 6: Realize that your beliefs form the basis for all of your experiences in life and that shifting your beliefs allows you to create (choose and claim) any reality you desire.

Step 7: Applying the message reveals ways to shift your life (through choosing and claiming) so that you live a new truth, one that will serve you.

I am currently playing with this new approach to understanding my beliefs and shifting the ones I feel will be most worthwhile to change. So far, I’ve discovered some rich rewards and I hope you experience the same thing, should you decide to give this a try.

Rules

Do you always follow the rules? Do you know anyone who does? Do they have to make sense to you before they feel worth following?

It’s a fascinating thing to me that when I pulled up my Word application to begin typing this post, a screen popped up that indicated that Word would automatically be checking my spelling and grammar.

Should I take that as a sign that Word doesn’t believe I can spell or use proper grammar? Maybe it’s noticed that upon occasion I make mistakes and wants to help me out. Or maybe, Word believes everyone needs support.

One other way to view this is that Word feels I need help following the rules.

I wonder, what if I don’t care about Word’s rules? Will Word allow me to write what I want without changing it? Is there a place within the application where I can check a box that says, “no thank you”?

I’m probably overthinking this, but there is something within this simple action that sparks something in me. Some reminder no doubt, from an early English class.

I distinctly remember learning some rules about grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation in seventh grade. Occasionally my mom would help me with my homework. She was very interested in this whole subject and if I used an incorrect word or pronounced it wrong, she would tell me about it.

Given the nature of the English language there are so many rules and exceptions to the rules I wonder if anyone even knows them all? Or cares to know them.

I find it a curious thing that there are rules about what words are allowed to be included in a dictionary. What path do hopeful words have to take?

According to one internet source the folks who get to decide (called lexicographers) usually expect three criteria to be met. They want to see that the word has become widespread, has an agreed-upon meaning and has been used for a long period of time. Once they feel confident about this, they include it in an updated version of the dictionary. (Ain’t that great)

Many people don’t care to wait for this lengthy process, and would rather the new word appear immediately, so they add it to an Urban Dictionary. They kind of jump the gun on the whole formal process. Maybe they don’t like all of the rules either.

Now, I do realize there need to be rules for there to be an orderly society. I understand that most are critical to a smooth-running world, but I wonder about the exceptions.

Are each of us allowed to use our own commonsense to decide which rules to follow or would that constitute a breakdown in the process?

Have you ever wondered if we follow the rules to stay out of trouble or because they make sense to us? And what are we supposed to do when the rules create injustice? What if they are only in place to favor certain people?

I suppose the first answer is, we can attempt to change them so that they are fair and equitable for everyone. I am in awe of those who stand on the front lines in this endeavor. Those who care about others and take actions to help and support them, especially when the rules need to change.

They are true heroes in my mind, and I want to aid them in their quest. I am not as interested in being a rule breaker as I am in being a rule changer. It seems to me there is room for growth here and I hope I am a part of the answer, not another part of the problem.

Retreat

Have you ever gone on a retreat? It doesn’t have to have been for a specified amount of time, just long enough for you to feel separated from your normal existence. A pause, a time out, just for you.

If you haven’t, I’d like to invite you to give it a try.

I know, it can feel like there are a million reasons why you can’t do it. Not enough time, money, family coverage and I’m sure every reason is legitimate.

But what if you could spare an hour, an afternoon, or a day, and if you’re very fortunate, even more time? How might you benefit?

Okay, maybe it can’t be a block of time. Imagine if you were to be  able to separate out a half hour every day, where it was ‘your time’, able to be spent in ways that rejuvenated you or where you could map out some new and exciting directions?

This is certainly something I wished I’d paid more attention to earlier in my life. I can see now how beneficial it would have been to have had a few dedicated hours of ‘me time’.

Of course, if you’re in partnership with another or part of a family group, it’s important to make sure you’re also supporting others needs for the same thing. This mutual caring is part of a loving relationship and at the core of holding good intentions for others growth.

Maybe it would help you decide to give this a try if you knew some of the benefits, so I’d like to share some of those that have come my way.

For several years I’ve made it a point to block out time for a retreat. Often, it’s part of a formal program, but within the program there are many hours each person has to themselves. Time which can be used in whatever way brings them fulfillment.

Recently I attended a workshop (retreat) and discovered a variety of ways to enrich my life.

At the beginning I encouraged myself to be open to connecting with others, to letting them in, so that we could form friendships. This isn’t always easy for me because I have to overcome my own past history, where as a child, I went to summer camp and found it challenging to make new friends. But I recognize that releasing my fears clears the way for all that others will bring into my life and for what I might be able to offer them.

In addition to having some trouble making new friends, my childhood history includes bouts of loneliness and that comes to sit with me every time I go on a retreat. Knowing this, I try to find the courage to accept the feelings when they arrive, to let them have their say and then to move past them by taking the first step in connecting with others. I’ve discovered that taking some form of action often allows me to move through most any ‘pain’ I encounter.

During each retreat I consciously choose to explore new opportunities, try new foods, create art, write poetry, probe new thoughts, and spend time giving of myself to others, and if given to, I try to accept their gifts with grace.

Most of all, I attempt to speak my truth, to say what feels important to be shared, to support others growth and to affirm everyone’s value.

Of course, this type of group retreat provides the opportunity for connection and interaction with others. But I also do retreats by myself, and this creates different and beautiful experiences as well. So, no matter what you choose, whether you are with others or all by yourself, there are wonderful experiences awaiting you.

Early on I discovered there was only one way to truly find out if a retreat would be worth it. I had to go on one.

I hope there is some time in your busy life where there is a retreat waiting you.