I recently attended a women's retreat where we gathered to eat scrumptious food and review a book about "not trying to fix everything." I was asked to share some insights about how writing and journaling offer me spiritual strength and guidance. I shared the principles behind the journal, and then, the best part for me, was watching these women write in their journals using imagery and language. I can't imagine anything more powerful than a group of righteous women writing!
For me, writing is my retreat from the world. It's where I go to look beyond the surface of the day and go underground, within the chambers of my heart, to find out what's really there.
As with most writing, my journals serve several purposes. Most of the pages consist of anything connecting me to myself (my heart and mind), to other human beings, and most of all, it holds thoughts connecting me to heaven. The pages hold ordinary and epic days, the breadcrumbs from my mind and heart. "Here's what I was thinking about at this particular time of my life...." Very rarely will you see a simple reporting of the day's events. Rather, I place a narrowed lens down on the things that enlighten me, inspire me, and the ideas and words that make my life work. If I do write about the day, it's usually about how I find the "spiritual" in the mix of minutes and hours.
My words to the women attending this retreat were simple:
It's not about the journal.
It's about "Listening to Your Life---and Finding Inspiring Ways to Live and Build A Spiritual Life."
Where do you go to find spiritual retreat? Spiritual meaning a connection with heaven or a higher power, but also a place where you have an inner peace, inner-connectedness, self-awareness, mindfulness, and an inner dimension.
Retreat. Don't you just love the sound of this word?
- A place providing shelter or security; a refuge
- A quiet or secluded dwelling or residence
- The action of going to a place of safety
- A place providing privacy or seclusion for the purpose of study or prayer, meditation, rest, or relaxation
In thinking about what retreat means to me, it's not just places, but also people. Who are the people in my life who bring me retreat? Where do I go to feel spiritual retreat from the world? How do I remember my roots and lineage as a daughter of God?
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience;
we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Here's something to ponder:
How often do you retreat from the world to remember your authentic self and the talents and gifts you've been given? Are you too busy looking at someone else's brand to consider building your own Spiritual brand?
Here are some questions to generate your writing and pondering:
Where do you go for spiritual retreat?
Who offers you retreat?
What do you need to step away from so you can retreat and dwell in study, prayer, and meditation?
Can you begin to look at your ordinary days with a spiritual lens so "retreat" happens more than once in a blue moon?
It's time to stop living on the surface of your beautiful life.
Make your life a study.
Dig in. Get to work.
Writing is retreat!