I sat in the grass, under the shade of a tree and breathed in and out. I tried to drop my stubborn shoulders, they have hovered near my earlobes for quite a while.
And I contemplated how I had ended up in this grass. On a beautiful day. With about 20 people I did not really know.
My spiritual director administrated a retreat for those who needed a day of solitude, prayer and direction. And I paid a small fee, hopped in a minivan with two friends from church and traveled one town over for the day. And I have a really hard time taking time to myself these days. But, divinely, I took the plunge and made time for the retreat.
In the morning, we had prayer time, a guided reading and then we were set loose on the retreat grounds to find a quiet spot for a few hours.
I was a bit apprehensive, I had no idea if I could sit in silence for 2 plus hours, but here I was.
After a bit of silence, I felt myself drift away to this quiet, spellbound place– as if the solitude itself was feeding my soul. Gently handing bits of bread and sips of wine. It reminded me of the line in a Eucharistic prayer, “Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal.”
The quiet was as satisfying as a cool drink after a hot day. A part of me that was bound up– tied in knots slowly faded away as my pen struck the paper of my journal. And it was not all comfortable, but it was stretching and growing.
After a few sessions of solitude that day, I felt refreshed, whole and hungry for more time, more bits of bread, wine.
I am wondering how to get this type of solitude in my life without a formal retreat, without an entry fee and without driving to a venue a town or tow over for a lake view. How can I take this time in daily life?
So I started bit by bit. When I walk at night, I turn off my ipod and run towards the sunset.
I find a quiet spot with my journal on the front steps of my home. Even if it is just for a few minutes. But, I know I need more.
Do you take time for solitude? Do you set aside time to be alone? What feeds your soul?
Mary Arteche, Founder & Editor-
Mary Arteche and her family live a small life in a vibrant way in Sky Valley, California. For her day job, she homeschools her kiddos and is a nanny to her niece. For her side gig, she’s a website designing, marketing consulting, art directing ninja. She’s passionate about the outdoors and making life an adventure. She loves printmaking, hiking, photography and finding the best cup of coffee. She just completed the Yosemite Half Marathon. Really.
Shoot me an email, I’d love to talk to you! liveintobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com