People in a search of direction often look for a place, an escape to a far away land or a retreat, to be the catalyst for one's direct connection with the Universe (the Source, God, or which ever you want to call it).
Learn to create a retreat where ever you are and the pay offs will far outweigh the career we hold so important, or the money, or the bigger house, or the habits and beliefs we grip on to so tightly. When you start putting that relationship with the Universe first, all the other things automatically fall into place with ease, no more struggle.
Are you searching for answers extrinsically, seeking for external rewards such as money or approval (which is disempowering), or are you starting from the perspective of pleasure, going deeper, and enhancing the expansion of your already enlightened state because you understand the power of going within for your answers (empowering us)?
One must accept that transformation is an ongoing practice centred in the little things of our mundane living.
When we distill the core essence of a retreat, I’d propose that all the various activities, rituals, ‘medicine’ taking they offer, are ultimately facilitating;
- - a faster and deeper connection with our Source,
- - of providing holistic relief, rest, pleasure, and rejuvenation,
- - of healing physical disease, and/or
- - of revealing insights and answers to our troubling questions.
The retreat facilitators are there to catalyse our energetic shifts and removal of our self imposed blocks - not to heal us or give us our answers.
So as much as I advocate attending a retreat as a kick start catalyst to one's inner change, I remember that the real power is in creating mini retreats in your home, in mastering your emotions, in embracing the contrasts in life. It is in developing your own way to tap in, tune in, and connect in the comfort of your lounge chair with the clear knowing that you already have all that you need to do this.
It's in the forgiveness of the a**hole who cuts us up on the road and letting go.
Keeping my mouth shut when my teenage son releases his hurt on me in a passive aggressive way while projecting thoughts 'I love you my child'.
Being my own witness when I slip into 'not enoughness' or shame.
Feeling myself out of these states and acknowledging my inherent goodness.
Appreciating the miracle that is me, a spiritual being having a physical experience on this glorious planet.
Make it your highest priority to access your inner guide everyday.
This requires factoring in the space, the time and the undisturbed quiet. To feel the Source of life as it permeates every cell of your being, harnessing the sheer power of your intention, to see clearly how to draw on Universe's power to drive the life you want to create, the reality you want to have, to acknowledge and accept the truth by which you want to live by.
With that in mind, I invite you to consider the following practical tips you could integrate into your home living as a way to claim your power, to master your emotions, to become more inner guided, and be responsible for your healing and enlightenment.
1. Quiet Chair
Choose a space in your home that feels good to be in. Place a comfortable chair there and add cushions, and a blanket, of colours and textures that please you.
I have a wing backed chair with a piece of faux fur material draped over, a teddy fleece blanket and a soft cushion. I have a little table next to the chair on which I place a burning, scented candle, and some water. My chair is positioned overlooking a window, a gloriously healthy plant that I adore, and an inspirational vision board I created. Decide what you would like to overlook and put it in place.
When I first get up, and the kids are still in bed, I sit there to sip my water, and tap into Source, to ask questions and to listen for answers. 15-30 minutes is my usual time span, although you decide how long you want to bask in your Quiet Chair. I go there when I’m feeling stressed, agitated, overwhelmed and in need of some time out. I’ll light my candle, and stare into space while focussing on my breathing. I practice the art of emptying out and not chasing thoughts - not easy but I give it my best shot.
There is a belief amongst some that napping is an act of laziness or indication of old age. I beg to differ. Create opportunity to take a 20 minute nap in the early afternoon. Switch off all distractions and potential disturbances like the phone or email, and enlist another’s help to occupy the children, if this applies.
My favourite spot is near the conservatory window when the sun is warming the area. Using a comfy sun lounger cushion I lie on the floor snuggled with a light blanket and pillow and allow sleep to take me over. I wake refreshed and recharged allowing me to carry on my day energised, alert, and more fruitful and creative.
3. Fire Gazing
I go for an outdoor fire most often. Enjoy the process of connecting with Source using this primal element. I have an open brazier in which I build the fire. A chimenea works too, as does a patch of ground in an appropriate, safe space in your garden. I’ve even used a charcoal bbq.
Do this on your own as it’s about silent contemplation. If you do have another being sharing the experience it’s on the premise that they will not engage you in conversation as this will bring you back into left brain mode and you will not get the full benefits of this awesome home retreat.
Be present and engage mindfulness. Put your entire focus on starting the fire. Use a little piece of fire lighter in amongst very dry tinder and set it alight. Gradually build your fire by adding super dry twigs, then sticks, followed by branch sized logs. Absorb yourself in the process and ignite your child-like excitement as you watch the fire grow and burn. When you’ve got a good sized fire, pull up a seat and observe the fire take on a life of its own.
Engage your feelings, your senses. The heat of the fire making your cheeks red. The occasional smoke in your eye. The smell of wood. Watch the shapes and patterns that form in the ashes and embers, stare at the flickering flames. Add more wood. Peacefully experience this home retreat and you’ll know an earthy connection with Source.
4. Non-Habitual Movement
This is a great way for those of us uptight and resistant to a little foolishness. It’s effective in helping us let go of all our cares and adult seriousness so we can experience surrender and acceptance of ourselves. It helps us to face our resistances and gives us opportunity to either choose to remain stagnant and change nothing, or overcome them by saying “Stuff it, I don’t care what other people think, I’m gonna act silly knowing it doesn’t diminish me as a person nor my intelligence”.
The laughter that ensues releases happy hormones which have a calming effect on our nervous system, as well bonds us to those we’re being silly with thus creating deeper connection.
Put together a playlist of about 10 songs, of varying tempo, that pleases you and makes you feel good. Pump out the tunes through your speakers and begin to move your body in ways that are unfamiliar to you. Bend your knees and step forward with your arms dangling to the ground monkey style. Make like you’re piling boxes or cleaning windows. Kung Fu moves from the movies. Make it all up as long as it isn’t dance moves and steps that you are familiar with.
5. Generation of Appreciation
We are often reminded to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. As much as there’s value in this, there’s an element of resistance in the emotion of gratitude because it tends to have us past focused, usually on something that we’ve had to overcome in some way.
Appreciation has us present and future focused generally on that which we want to create more of. The rising of our sun every morning, the breath we inhale freely, the seeds germinating and our food continuously growing, babies entering our world, our Earth spinning on its axis, the flow of clean water from our taps, the love in our child’s smile, the dinner cooked for us last night.
Appreciating the good in our lives creates a certain energetic state that allows more of this goodness to flow, again and again, in ever increasing amounts.
Instead of a gratitude journal, I invite you to build a Journal of Appreciation. Head for your Quiet Chair, neutralise distractions and disturbances, and begin to reach for the emotion of appreciation by focusing your thoughts on that which you appreciate and want to expand. Write these down in your journal. Really feel the appreciation in your body, relish it and give it power for this is the path to joy.
These are just some of the ways you can create a retreat in the everyday. How often you apply these practises is your choice. The more regularly you do, the more you will benefit.
Learn to observe yourself. What resistance do you have? What strong emotions rise to the fore? What happens when boredom sets in? What insights are revealed?
Claire Naya is a DrivenWoman collaborator and in the start of a new career path, inspiring you to live an inspired life every day.