Are you time poor with too many demands from work, family or other commitments to attend a retreat or do you simply not have the money to pay for one? Whatever the reason, there is a simple solution, CREATE YOUR OWN.
With a little planning and preparation you can honour yourself and take the time to focus on renewing your spirit and getting back in touch with yourself or perhaps even reach out towards the spiritual awareness you desire.
The first thing to remember is that you are worth the effort. If that isn’t a good enough reason to make time then perhaps for some reason you haven’t yet discovered the importance of self love, in that case, for the moment, focus on the benefits a retreat will bring to everyone around you. A calmer, happier, more positive and peaceful you will be able to give them greater support.
* FIND A SUITABLE TIME.
What is the best day of the week to do it. Fewer commitments. Easier for those living with you to support your need for silence.
Children at camp, away visiting, partner away, quieter time at work etc. If none of these are happening organise for them to happen.
Look forward to this time. Think what will make it really work for me? If you are addicted to coffee, tea or some other stimulant that will prevent your mind from settling cut back gradually. It will almost impossible to meditate with a screaming headache.
You might like to purchase some small item to enhance the experience for you. (This is not essential but if this is a treat you are giving yourself buying a special candle, some incense, a crystal, religious object, flowers or some special music can mark it as special and make it more significant.)
*TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE UNCONTACTABLE.
If it is difficult for you to do this for any reason, for example if you feel you don’t wish to share what you are doing at work, but need to take time out, then give a good reason, there is no need to lie simply tell the truth. “I am going to visit a close friend who needs me and I won’t have phone/internet reception until I return.” Remember that no one is so important that they can’t be done without. It will only be for a day. If you were to die right now it may be a nuisance to some but they would quickly find a way to do those jobs. Look at it this way, at least you’ll be back and most if not all the jobs can wait till then. If any can’t then delegate them for the day.
*DRAW UP A PROGRAMME.
Decide the length and number of your sessions. Four 30 minute sessions may be enough for a start (or six to eight 30 minute sessions).
Decide on the type/types of meditation techniques you will use. Sitting with focus on breath, object, mantra or walking.
*FIND A SUITABLE PLACE TO MEDITATE.
It needs to be quiet, not too warm and airy.
*CHOOSE SUITABLE MUSIC IF YOU ARE USING IT.
*DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS.
If you plan to read choose suitable texts. Spend time outside if you have a quiet garden. Physical labour is also suitable as is creating a mandala or artwork. Whatever the task focus mindfully on
*PREPARE FOOD BEFOREHAND.
Keep meals simple and frugal. Fruit, salad, bread, nuts, cheese. Drink only water or fruit juice.
*PREPARE YOUR MEDITATION SPACE.
HAVE WATER AT HAND.
HAVE A WAY OF MARKING THE PASSING OF TIME.
Suitable music with timed pieces can be used or have a watch/ clock in sight so you can time your sessions.
HAVE A BLANKET OR RUG AT HAND.
If you are sitting still you may get cold and hunting for one can be distracting.
*ENLIST THE SUPPORT OF ANYONE WHO LIVES WITH YOU.
So that you can keep silent all day. If you have pets and they may distract you take steps to prevent them doing this during your meditation times.
*TURN OFF ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS.
BEGIN YOUR PERSONAL RETREAT.
ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!