The lexicon of our modern day insists that one must leave home, go away, and/or spend lots of money to officially be on retreat. This is bothersome to me, because what happens to people with no accrued vacation time or resources to afford an expensive spa? Methinks, it's time to change our thinking. In my book, daily life is totally accessible as an ongoing retreat center. It's a place where at any moment in time we have the ability to take a pause and seek shelter from our thoughts, or seclusion from our surroundings. If we can change our thinking, we can change our mood. If we can allow ourselves to withdraw from narrow definitions and expand our notion of "retreat", life becomes a playground.
In this current moment, I sit at my neighborhood cafe and take a break from writing at home. As the pull of distractions, like laundry and internet, became too great, I chose to create a new space of shelter, seclusion and inspiration. The smell of espresso now fills my nostrils as a fresh breeze floats through the open windows. Smooth jazz music and the soft patter of gentle conversation soothes my clanging thoughts. Local artwork flanks my sides as the soft leather chair cushions my body. I begin to imagine the laughter that will come this evening and it makes me smile right now. Pausing, I take in all that surrounds me and gratefully declare, "Here and now, I am on retreat."
Mabel Dodge Luhan skyline © ksh 2011
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