I know. These are known as the busiest days of the year. It all starts this week, and doesn’t end until January 1st.
Most of us work too hard, and we’re not very good at slowing down. As I mentioned the other day, the majority of us spend way too much during these days, and many have lost the whole reason the Christmas season exists.
If I had a wish for the next several weeks, it would be that we would each make some time for a little retreat. Some will actually be able to get themselves to some retreat center and truly relax and refocus. Others won’t have that luxury, but that’s still o.k. They can change things up and still accomplish the mission.
No matter if we’re lucky enough to go to a retreat center or our little retreat takes place at home, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s my top ten list of things to bring/do to make your little get away a time of peace for you:
- Don’t use your phone or check your email during the retreat. Let people know that you’ll be temporarily unavailable.
- Choose one book and focus on it. My suggestion is that the book should be either spiritual or self-improvement oriented.
- Use a cd with meditative music on it. You could also create a retreat playlist for your ipod. Choose one or two songs and focus on them.
- Have four or five notecards, and write to someone about how much they mean to you, or how sorry you are for something you may have said or done.
- Spend part of your retreat thinking/praying about what happened in 2011, and where you want to go in 2012. Be sure to write it all down in a journal.
- Treat yourself to something special to eat and drink. Maybe its a piece of pie that you normally wouldn’t touch, or a glass of a favorite Chianti that brings back memories of a Tuscan adventure. You have my permission to indulge a bit.
- Think about five people you need to thank when your retreat is over. These people could be anybody, but you might want to focus on the people we often take for granted, like the store clerk, the mailman, or your child’s teacher. This isn’t about giving them gifts (they don’t need them), it’s about appreciating them for their service to you and your family.
- Spend at least an hour or two doing absolutely nothing. Don’t read, write, listen to something… Nothing. Just “be,” and do it in silence.
- Get spiritual. Thank God for all that you’ve been given, and ask Him to help you be a better friend, spouse, son/daughter, mom/dad, coworker, brother/sister, supervisor, or neighbor.
- Choose a date for your next mini retreat, and stick to it. I think we’d all be so much better if we took these little breaks every three months or so.
I’m really looking for some feedback with this post. If you make a little retreat in the next six weeks or so, and I hope you will, I would really appreciate letting us know how it went. It’s easy to post a comment on this site. Do it!
Around this time of year, I love to listen to Yo Yo Ma play the old shaker tune, Simple Gifts. When I make my little retreat, it will be one of the songs I listen to. I hope it gets you in retreat mode 🙂 There is not better time to make a retreat than now!