I am sorry to abandon you lovely blog readers again this weekend, but today after work my friend Nicole and I are going to go out to eat Sushi as is our yearly pre-retreat tradition. Then we will get in the car with our bags and head out to a Catholic Retreat Center in the woods. This is our pilgrimage. This is a yearly, almost life saving event in my life. I literally unplug from everything. No computer or internet, no cell phone, no clutter of my house and less clutter of my mind.
Because it is ritualized, because I have done this almost yearly for maybe seven years or so my entire system knows that when I go to this exact place what it means. It means my mind winds down. I do a lot more meditation (which I haven't been doing). I intentionally reflect on my life. I journal pages and pages of content that is such a different tenor than this blog. I go for long walks alone in the woods where I usually see deer like this one. I draw or write poetry. I pray and I read books that are spiritual not school books. I sit in the very simple stone floor room and wash in quiteness.
Nicole and I each bring the book(s) we plan on looking at as well as one book to share with each other. Besides the bible I often bring books by authors like Henry Nouwen or Kathleen Norris.
I remember years of getting away where I was in such a state of internal wrestling that I didn't quite know what to do. And even though I didn't get any answers I left with a greater sense of peace just for having forced myself to sit still with myself for the weekend. For some people silence and solitude like this drives them crazy. I do get squirmy for a couple hours but I can let it be and it will pass followed by a deep sense of settling.
This weekend, actually this year, I go feeling like I'm in a great place emotionally. I am actually in a place of joy which is a state I don't think I've ever gone into a silent retreat in. But I can tell that I need this. So I go wondering what God might bring out of it and out of me this year.