I held a blue flower in my hand, probably a wild aster, wondering what its name was, and then thought that human names for natural things are superfluous. Nature herself does not name them. The important thing is to know this flower, look at its colors until the blueness becomes as real as a keynote of music. Look at the exquisite yellow flowerettes in the center, become very small with them. Be the flower, be the trees, the blowing grasses. Fly with the birds, jump with the squirrel! –Sally Carrighar in The Earth Speaks
It is that time of year again…time for a retreat! I recognize a pattern in my own life that I’ve been conscious of since my first miscarriage, the deep call to retreat beginning in November of each year and finally having a chance to be held in February. I’ve been feeling it coming. I started hearing the call in late October/early November and I was like, oh yeah, THIS. This call for silence, for mindfulness, for taking heed, for regrouping, for calling my spirit back, for resting. I set aside the first week of February each year to take a “computer-off retreat,” in which I unplug Facebook and take a break from blogging. Since the rest of my life doesn’t necessarily recognize this rhythm, I can’t take a completely computer-off retreat this year (having the computer off isn’t really compatible with teaching online, especially during midterm week!), but I can take a Facebook retreat and a retreat from feeling compelled to write/blog and to stay “caught up” with a variety of miscellaneous time-eating, online-based activities (like clicking on interesting articles or updating my ScoopIt page). I will also try really, really hard to check email only once a day. I’d like to actually deactivate my FB account, but that will take away my pages too (from what I understand) and I don’t want to do that—if I’m wrong, tell me please! (and, I’ll see your message when I check my email once a day ;)) And, guess what?! This year, I’m not making a to-do list. I know what I want and need and it isn’t a list.
I went out to the woods to think about this and this is what I said:
This is mainly a noise-silencing thing for me. I’ve been looking forward to it since November. I’ve been feeling it coming. I need it badly!
My favorite retreat resource is Woman’s Retreat Book: A Guide to Restoring, Rediscovering and Reawakening Your True Self –In a Moment, An Hour, Or a Weekend by Jen Louden. I also treated myself to a Breathe Peace online class (ah, the irony, since I’m having a computer off retreat! Luckily, the online class lasts throughout the month of February, so I can take my break and still come back to it!)