6 years ago I went on my first silent meditation retreat. It was a powerful weekend focused on lovingkindness, which prompted me to commit to a year of daily lovingkindness practice. It was a transformative experience, and since that retreat I go on at least one silent retreat a year.
This year I took myself (and Buddy, my dog) on retreat and spent 3 days in an Air BnB doing my practice, listening to the wisdom of Reverend angel Kyodo williams and Lama Rod Owens and nourishing myself with food, spiritual texts and writing. (Side note save the dates! Rev. angel Kyodo williams is coming to Seattle December 14-16, 2018 and Lama Rod is coming March 1-3, 2019!)
I want to share what a self-guided retreat can look like if you are interested in trying it out. You can do this at home, which can make a retreat more accessible, and when possible I appreciate the opportunity to get away from all my to do lists and daily routines in order to immerse myself in being. The idea of retreat means I offer myself the space to leave the daily grind in order to restore, practice, deepen into myself and recommit to where and how I want to move in the world. It is a time for devotion, tuning out of the external to tune into the internal and to grieve and process some of the things stored in my body I am unconscious of.
Here is a possible schedule for a one-day retreat. You can cut this in half for a 1/2 day retreat or you can extend it into a 2 or 3 day retreat. This is just one option inspired by retreats I taught and attended through the years, and definitely not the only option. Listen to your intuition and see where it guides you, but also beware of distraction and noticing when that is pulling you out of retreat-mode. I find structure gives me something I can surrender into, which is why I created this before I left, but I it also changed as my intuition guided me.
5am: Wake up
5:30-7: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
7-8:30: Breakfast (I used this recipe)
8:30-9:30: Dharma Talk (here is one on Prayer, Grief and Activism from Lama Rod Owens)
8:30-9:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
9:30-10: Walking meditation
10-10:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
10:30-11: Walking meditation
11-11:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
11:30-1:30: Lunch and rest (kitchari recipe I used)
1:30-2:30: Dharma Talk (here is one Love and Rage from Lama Rod Owens)
2:30-3:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
3:30-4: Mindful movement
4-4:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
4:30-5: Walking meditation
5-5:30: Sitting, lying or standing meditation
7-8: Dharma Talk (here is one on Home, Love and the Idea of Ancestry with Lama Rod Owens)
In one of the talks, Lama Rod asked, “What are you doing to liberate yourself in this moment?” He went on to share showing up completely can be a liberatory practice. Going on retreat and getting real with myself helps me to show up more completely in my daily life. When I speed through life I canbypass my completeness and wholeness in order to get things done. Slowing down and retreating disrupts my tendencies and helps me go back to my daily life just a little bit shifted, a little more present and a little more whole.
What does retreat do for you?