Are you planning a contemplative weekend or a week-long spiritual retreat? Or perhaps you have vacation time coming and would like to use some of it for retreat but are not sure how.
This is the second article in a two-part series on turning any vacation time into a spiritual retreat whether you only have a weekend or have an even longer vacation time.
Spiritual Weekend Retreats
If you are planning a weekend retreat, you have several options. You can visit a healing spa or spiritual retreat center and let them plan your retreat for you, you can plan your own weekend retreat in advance or you can take each day as it comes, which may be the best choice is you are adding this retreat to vacation plans you have already made.
No matter which retreat plan you choose, the first step is to identify what you hope to gain from the experience. Are you hoping to regain a sense of spiritual connection, hoping to heal an unresolved issue or just wanting to spend more contemplative time in nature?
Once you have identified your primary purpose, you can design your retreat around that goal. Planning should include lighter fare and a very relaxed schedule so that your mind, body and spirit are able to give themselves fully to the spiritual task at hand.
Fruits and vegetables, salads, plenty of water and plenty of rest will help lighten your body's load. Sleeping a little longer or taking a nap or two will help your body and spirit release whatever is no longer needed.
For the actual retreat time, you could incorporate any, some or all of the following into your schedule: meditation, guided imagery, journaling and reading whatever encourages and inspires you.
"Retreats -both long and short, with companions or alone-transforms as as we journey by opening us to those subtle spiritual realms that we instinctively crave. This transformation process involves shedding layers of personality, beliefs and acculturations, which form the veils separating us from the world of the spirit. "- Rachel Harris, Ph.D., 20-Minute Retreats: Revive Your Spirits in Just Minutes a Day with Simple Self-Led Exercises
If you are able to take a week or more, you may want to add longer meditations, more journaling time and more reading. And you can be creative about how you retreat.
Walking meditation, where you contemplate all that really and truly is as you take in the environment is just as valid as sitting still in a yoga position. Standing meditation works, too. It is your intention and the energy you bring to the experience that transforms it.
Whatever your time allows, it is your focus on using that time for intentional and contemplative retreat that will create the experience you need and allow you to leave the experience lighter and more spiritually connected, or closer to healing the unresolved issue in your life.