Happy Holidays to all of you out there. I’m sorry it’s been a while since I wrote anything other than a Christmas card or email!
Funny story, last year (2016) I turned 40. I know, I can’t believe it either! I asked my husband for a deluxe spa day, he said “yes”, and that was pretty much it. It never got planned, and before we knew it, my 41st birthday rolled around. He said, hey, I owe you a spa day. And I said, what I really want is to go on retreat. He said he could watch the kids for a weekend in December, so I booked a stay at Kripalu in western Massachusetts.
Why did I want to go on retreat? I was hoping for some divine inspiration on what to do with the rest of my life. I mean, I have a plan, but is it the right one? I felt like I needed some quiet time without any attachments. I wanted to give myself some space to think outside the box and maybe have some new ideas. And, frankly, that’s just what I got!
Things never unfold the way you think they will. Did you ever notice that? A lot of time you get what you need, but not what you expected or even asked for. This is totally true for me in this case.
I drove myself 4 hours north into the Berkshires, expecting zen bliss. What did I find? A zen retreat center that felt a little stark, and dare I say, boring? I had a shared room and bath – like going back to my college dorm days only way cleaner and nicer. I had a nice roommate, and after each class session (we both signed up for different programs) we’d compare notes on the cool and wacky things we learned.
My first day there I was exhausted, probably because it’s the first chance I’d had to relax in a while, and when I regained my energy the next day, I actually felt a little bored. I had so much free time! I didn’t know what to do with myself. I roamed the halls in between classes and just tried to take it all in.
And, before I knew it, I was having original thoughts and receiving positive insights about my life. All of a sudden, ideas and thoughts started popping into my head…I guess they came in when I left an opening in my mind.
I felt these insights were a gift, as they reminded me I had much to be thankful for. I also felt absolutely no stress, b/c all I had to do for 48 hrs was visit class and roam around. It was a nice break from my usual routine. I must say, though, one of the most amazing things was that I forgot it was the Christmas season! As a mom who creates the “magic” of Christmas for two kids, I usually plan and plot and shop and wrap and hope I got all the ingredients right for my girls to have a wonderful Christmas. It can be all encompassing, and I forgot about it all! Now, I did most of my prep before leaving on retreat, but really, I’m still shocked how much I tuned it out.
In addition to the great insights that came to mind, I also enjoyed a workshop on holistic health which was not at all what I expected, but completely useful. (yay!) I also did a wild and daring thing (by my standards), I had my tarot cards read. People, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that experience. It was powerful, emotional, moving and inspirational. In short, after one weekend on retreat, I came home relaxed, grateful and inspired. And I mean that in the best way possible – not like Hallmark greeting happy – like my soul is singing happy. Frankly, it was a little freaky, but I’m going with it.
You are probably thinking, wow, snore, that was a great story (not). What’s in this for me?
I’ll tell you what’s in it for you. Do you want some insights? Do you want to feel grounded and like your best self? I urge you to carve out some time for meditation or yoga or reflection or prayer (all forms of self care, by the way). Put it at the top of your list and give it 5 minutes a day, say instead of checking FB. Ask for inspiration or whatever it is you feel you need. If you make a little space for it, it will come. It may not take the form you expect, but the ideas will come, and when they do, trust them. When we give our minds a break from the daily rat race, they can show us amazing things.
I think this may be an important thought to take with us into the new year. Let’s leave some space for rest and self care, so that the inspiration can sneak in!