Thursday, December 6, 2007

Retreats - time for year end reflections

It is December already. I realize most of you have known that for several days now but NaNo camp really turns the calendar on its head. The upside is that I missed the advance onslaught of Christmas promotions. The downside is that I haven't started thinking about my journey and goals/focus for the coming year.

Last year I spent the first weekend of December at a silent retreat. I had gone the year before during lent so I was familiar with the program. I really recommend an annual personal retreat for women. The first one is hard because no matter how comfortable you think you are with no noise or conversation or social programming all that silence on the outside does come with a surprise - you're not as quiet on the inside as you supposed you were.

I was disappointed at first when the director informed us that circumstances forced her to relocate the retreats to one location and that the advent was the least attended so it would be dropped. I need to clarify a point, the location is actually closer but a bit more expensive while still a bargain.

How sad that Christmas and Holiday spin has gotten so out of control that a time when personal reflection and assessment would be beneficial most women are unable to get away to do so. I think this reflects poorly on their spiritual and religious affiliation that it would put its scheduling and manning preferences ahead of the best interests of the members; but it doesn't reflect well on their husbands and families either. The well-rested, thoughtful, and reflective woman is an asset to the family and it should recognize the return on investment for making it possible for her to take this time at this time.

Several years ago there was a bumper sticker campaign called "I Brake for Christmas" Charles Swindoll relates his own encounter with this bumper sticker in his book Come Before Winter (1994). How appropriate that we should stop doing more to make the "perfect Christmas" and start doing less to have a better life and be a better person.

Now to be honest, for this year at least since NaNo ended on Friday I would not have been in any shape to have jumped into a retreat the next morning. Still I think there has to be a way to make room for a parallel experience but it will mean being creative and planning. I have some ideas and when I get it clarified I will share how I am going to do it.

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Christine Kane said...

One of my goals for 2008 is to do a silent retreat. I have a friend who does one every three months. It sounds amazing. I, too, think that this time of year is so perfect for silence and reflection. So, I allow for plenty of it in my schedule... (she says as she flies to Florida for four days of shows and comes back - only to fly out again for two more! yikes!)

Mrs_Scotsman said...

Slowing down for the holidays is my main motivation for NOT being involved in the church musical this year. I'm letting DH take BB to church each night and she'll have a blast in the nursery with her friends. While I can sit down at a yet to be decided location and be all by myself.

DH doesn't quite understand my need for solitude. So I might have to take a day where he is at work. I think Bergamo has daytime retreat options.