I spent most of yesterday indulging in the last day of a mini 5 day retreat. Don't get me wrong, I love a good retreat as much as the next lady and I try to take mini retreats every week, but this one was somewhat forced upon me because of an unexpected slide down our studio stairs. I was blissfully day dreaming about starting a women's circle when I carelessly stepped down the stairs and proceeded to bump my left side down the well-worn oak stairs.
Luckily, my fall could have been much worse and I was able to rearrange my schedule in such a way as to take a couple of days "off". It was a lesson in letting go and slowing down. I think I have been on accelerated mode since my husband I got married in October. As I mentioned, I am a firm believer in regular mini retreats and longer ones if your schedule affords. Even if you think you cannot, make the time and space for these shorter AND longer retreats and you will not regret it. This is a time to turn cell phones and computers off. Tell friends and colleagues, if necessary, of your leave and do the things that feed your soul!
After the initial shock of my fall and a good night's rest, I assessed my physical situation and decided that sitting at my desk was just not going to be the absolute best way for me to heal myself. And I know from past experience that if you do not attend to health and healing, it will always catch up with you sooner or later, so you might as well enjoy it.
I spent most of my first day outside in the perfect cool, sunny spring weather we are experiencing at the moment. I attended an herb workshop with friends that I thought I could not attend because of work and I returned home to do some pruning and watering in our own garden. I was able to spend some quality time reflecting on what is working in our garden and what we want to change and cultivate next while it is still early in the season.
By the end of daylight, my body told me to rest, so I practiced some gentle restorative yoga stretches and took a hot bath with herbs. I checked my voicemail and my acupuncturist had left a message to try to arrange an appointment that we have had difficulty with because of my work schedule. I decided to seize the opportunity for a much needed Spring Tune-Up and Trauma Relief.
It is amazing how quickly I allowed myself to be distracted and although no bones were broken, my body had gone through some significant trauma so I decided to honor that with taking another day off. After an acupuncture treatment, I caught up on some household details that I had put off because I was so busy. This was wonderful, because it put my mind at ease.
Over the weekend, I attended my monthly Sacred Plant Traditions Herbal Foundations class. We discussed healing and the physiology and materia medica of the Digestive System. I was reminded how much power we have to heal our own body through nourishing foods and herbal teas. My teacher confirmed that I should use Arnica both homeopathically with tablets and externally with an Arnica ointment. Arnica helps relieve trauma as well as disperse bruises.
We live out in the country and I did not have any Arnica on hand when I fell. But I learned that I could have made a poultice with Burdock Leaf which grows voluntarily in our field. It may never cease to amaze me how most of the nutrition and medicine we need can be found in our backyards.
I checked in with the office on Monday, but needed to go into town on Tuesday where I have a studio for healing and massage. I call this studio my womb. It is sacred safe space for me and lends itself to relaxing, meditating, writing, journaling and practicing yoga. And after another great night's sleep, I feel I have taken the time I need to return to my tasks.
Sometimes we do not plan for a retreat, but when it is freely given to us, it is best to have the wisdom to know when to say when as well as have the simple tools around to enjoy ourselves. For me these tools are:
1. Nature - We are lucky enough to live on a 10 acre farm which includes a meadow, woodlands and a ridge on top of the oldest mountains on earth, the Blue Ridge Mountains.
2. Solitude and Silence - A quiet place to be by yourself with no cell phones, no television, no computer and ideally no cars, no lights, no radio frequency. Even if for just 10 minutes. It will astound you how little time many of us spend alone in true silence. You can turn your gadgets back on again if they are part of your retreat.
3. Yoga Mat and Blankets or Other Yoga Props - Restorative or Yin Yoga is often what I practice while on retreat. I am a Pitta-Kapha Constitution and I find the rest of the world so inherently Yang that I love the quieting poses.
4. Water Inside and Out - Fresh Spring or Well Water and herbal hot or cold teas are my preference on retreat. If it is cool outside, I love to take a hot bath. If it is hot, I swim in a cold river somewhere. Hydrotherapy is definitely part of my wellness routine.
What are some of your favorite ways to spend your free time. If you have not taken a retreat in several months, what are you waiting for?