Monday, June 26, 2017

Living at the Core 5: Retreat

Previously, I wrote about how the most powerful forms of self-care keep God at the core. In my day to day life, this means I have intentional rhythms and routines that help me to maintain a comparatively higher level of peace through strengthening my relationship with God, such as starting my day at 5 am with Scripture and reflection followed by any combination of prayer, reading, and writing; attending daily Mass and weekly Adoration; and praying the Rosary daily.

Making these intentional shifts have meant the difference between regularly feeling like I was drowning and being able to have an overall sense of peace and calm, lower level of stress, and a solution-oriented mindset. Nonetheless, sometimes I can feel the impact of a busy life starting to build and recognize I need a more extended rest. In the early winter I started to think about how I could probably really use a silent retreat; yet, I also knew I wanted to attend the first women's conference hosted at our diocesan retreat center. Logistically, I was having a hard time figuring out how to make it work to block out both that weekend and another time for a retreat.

Instead, I started to think about the retreat center, one of my favorite places and somewhere that I associate with great peace. Even if there was not a directed silent retreat, I thought a couple of days there prior to the conference would nurture me. As the days grew closer, I could tell I was going to need this even more than I had anticipated, aligning with just finishing up the academic year.

It ended up being perfect. Rather than having a structured schedule, I knew types of activities I wanted to do: attend Mass and Adoration (there are 3 parishes within a half hour going in different directions providing for a range of options), read, write, spend time in the Chapel, walk, rest, sit in nature...

Now, it is back to my "real life" with one foot in summer vacation and the other in doing some work at the university and church. As I continue to refine the patterns of my days through liturgical and academic seasons, I will be keeping a couple of days of retreat annually as an option in the back of my mind.

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