I was curious and of course excited as I peeled the wrapping paper off the small box. My birthday falls just three days after Christmas, so I was in package bliss! Cool, I thought…a new cell phone case. But wait—it was more than a case; it had a battery pack built in that would extend the life of my main battery. Over the next few days, I found that on light days of usage, my battery would read “100%” all day long. If only my soul could stay fully charged all day long!
Yes, we all have an internal “battery”—a power pack that supplies a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual fuel. Sometimes that reservoir feels full and spacious while other times we seem to have more day than juice. So how do we get charged? It’s not complicated…but it’s easy to neglect: sleep, exercise, spiritual practices, meaningful work, recreation—these are some of our sources. Or, more accurately, they are avenues of connecting with The Source.
But there’s another practice that has been uniquely powerful in my life for the last decade, and that is taking personal retreats. One, two, or three-day getaways every few months…and always at the beginning of a year. This year, it took a couple hours to find my groove. Sometimes it comes easy, but Saturday it didn’t. I had made the short drive north to the retreat center—I was there, my body was still, but my brain was still in overdrive. A cacophony of ideas, reminders, and reflections jostled for attention in my brain. I’m used to this, and I waited, semi-patiently, for them to subside.
To help clear my head, I took a quick hike through the chilly woods. Ice lingered in the creekbeds, but the sun warmed my face. The physical recharge of sunshine on my skin mirrored the spiritual recharge I felt when the retreat was over. And that became my message for 2014. Reconnect. Soak. Live life fully charged. Living and working and loving with a full battery of energy and resource is night-and-day different from limping along on fumes. Know what I mean?
It’s not too late to take your own personal retreat for the new year. Sometime this month, block out a day or a weekend. Even a morning. Get out of your normal environment—a retreat center, a friend’s empty vacation home, or even a hotel room. What would you do on retreat? Three things: refresh, reflect, and refocus. Here’s a simple guide you can download and follow.