After spending a week at the Deep Writing Retreat led by the brilliant author, psychologist and writing coach, Eric Maisel, at the famous Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, I’m inspired to get other retreats on my calendar. I know if I don’t, it could be another few years before I attend another one. While I enjoyed my stay and loved the writing instruction and cherished the time we spent writing, my soul is craving a silent retreat. The silent retreat location I adore and have gone to for decades (Self Realization Fellowship) has been closed since the pandemic began and they don’t know when they’re reopening. I’m on the let’s-be-as-careful-as-possible team so I totally understand and respect their choice. But what about me? I want a week of silence, of retreating, of re-treating myself. As I searched for other silent retreat places (there are plenty of retreats, but not silent ones), I found what looks like a fabulous center in the Santa Barbara area; its original location near Napa burned in the 2020 fires and they recently rebuilt and at the end of 2022 welcomed retreatants again. I wouldn’t have looked anywhere else if my regular location was available and I would have missed out on this gem. So far, I haven’t been available on the dates they’ve sent out, but I know I’ll make it there sometime.
What can I do until then?
Why not a home retreat? I could do a staycation, which I’ve always enjoyed, in one of our fabulous Las Vegas hotels. It’s not reasonable to assume I could easily do a silent retreat there, though, so I’ve decided to create the best experience possible in my home. I live in the iconic Las Vegas Country Club, an oasis built in the 1970s in the middle of our bright lights, so I’m able to enjoy a quiet neighborhood while still feeling the unique energy our city emanates. If that’s not true for you, turn your music up louder or put in your air pods.
First, turn off (or put on airplane mode) your phone and computer. I promise you the world will not end and you cannot have a silent retreat with it on—it’s impossible. Other than that, all that’s necessary to prepare is to stock up on healthy food so store runs or deliveries aren’t necessary; choose uplifting books, podcasts, and music to assure a calm and supportive atmosphere; and set up a nurturing area or two of your home—for me, it’s my bathroom with the jacuzzi tub surrounded by candles, scented Epson salts, bubble bath, lavender oil and sparkling cold water to enjoy while soaking. From there, I’ll move to my oversized, round, comfy chair that has room for me to sprawl out and read and nap and dream. Which of your areas calls to you?
I hear some of you saying, “Easy for you, Amy. You don’t have kids running around!” You’re right, I don’t, except when I borrow the cuties next door. I do believe anyone can enjoy a silent retreat for some period of time. How about during the hours the kids are in school? Who can you ask to babysit while you have one evening? If it has to be on the weekend because you work, how about a day camp for the kids or a day out of the house with their other parent or another relative? If your work demanded you work unusual or extra hours, you would find a way, wouldn’t you? If someone you loved needed you, you’d find find a way, wouldn’t you? If you were sick, you’d accept help because you had to, wouldn’t you? Let’s see what would happen if you found time for you, simply because you deserve it. It will also make you more present for others but forget about that—do it for you. Just this once!
Take a moment here—close your eyes if you want—and imagine what food you would nurture yourself with; what music would sound heavenly; what book would make you thrilled with yourself for taking time to read; and what scents would you use to bathe all your senses? Breathe in the commitment to do that for yourself and exhale out any excuses that would deny you of this experience.
Now schedule it. Now. You deserve it!
President, The Zen Speaker
$1,500 EARLY-BIRD SPECIAL AVAILABLE THROUGH FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1.
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Fall 2023 Writing Retreat Dates Coming Soon
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