Friday, July 20, 2012

All alone and loving it



I recently took a week of forced solitude in the beautiful wine region of Heathcote, where a dear widow friend of mine lives.

After catching up with my boss and finding myself in tears, he suggested I go offline for a little while, spend some time alone with God, and with ample time to read, pray, think and reflect.

I've not been a retreat type of person in the past. My thinking has been, it's kind scary going away by yourself and what if you freak yourself out, and can't you just keep going and just hang on for a bit longer?

But I can't tell you how good a week of no email, and no phone was for my soul. I didn't realise what a burden communication was until I wasn't carrying that weight any more. Interestingly, the things I missed most were google and a few friends who I speak to regularly. But other than that, not having to respond to anyone or anything was AMAZING.

I also understood the value of solitude for the first time. I'm an introvert, but an introvert who forces herself to be up the front and engaging with people a lot, and one who even when she's 'alone' is still connected. I find it hard these days to curl up with a book for longer than 10 minutes.

But when I went away, I found myself devouring books in front of the fire. Suddenly, with no interruptions and no option to interrupt myself (hello facebook, twitter, email, sms...), I couldn't stop reading. It was the best!

And I had time, real, proper, extended, time to be in God's presence. To just be. And to take all the stuff going on to him in a way that didn't feel like it was a task on a list to be completed.

So, I'm a bit of a convert to the retreat. I'm going to try and have a no technology day at least once a month (hoping to make it more regular than that, but you know, baby steps), and have a retreat once a year.

I want to foster a more healthy spiritual life, beginning with solitude, rest and being in God's presence.

Have you done a retreat before? Did you find it amazing or totally frustrating?

I've spoken to a few friends who've loved it or hated it. I'm curious about you!

Photo: the room I spent much of my time in.

6 comments:

Hannah said...

Looks lovely!

Totally feeling the need for something similar. Glad you got your reading on.

God bless

Rose Wintergreen said...

Sounds like you really needed that break! So glad to hear you made it happen, and you got so much out of it. I love the amazing connectivity we have now thanks to fast internet and social media, but it can be hard to hear yourself think (or remember to breathe!) through all the added noise.

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