(This is a photo of a note that was left in one of the drawers in the room I occupied at the retreat centre. The previous retreatant that occupied the room left it)
“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”
– Part of the phrases that are chanted during a Metta (Loving Kindness) Meditation
On the 29th of December 2017, I set off down to Devon for a 6 night meditation retreat, at the place I did my very first retreat 3 years ago.
Those who have read this blog for a while, will know that I go on a meditation/spiritual retreat at least once a year now, for the last 3 years.
This New Year I spent my longest retreat yet at my favourite Sangha (community) in Devon.
The Barn is a special retreat as it incorporates silence without being completely silent, and includes mindful work on the land and household tasks.
The retreat gives participants a rare opportunity to live with strangers for 6 nights in a close community, where you will care for and share with those around you.
It truly is spectacular the wonderful people you meet and the memories that are created. Even more so the sense of well-being that it fosters.
Why New Year?
For many more years than is fashionable at my age, I have craved a more peaceful and spiritual start to the year.
New Year is so symbolically important, but celebrations are often centred around socialising.
I wanted to see it in in the most peaceful way I could imagine.
It struck me this retreat-time how much trust it takes to go on a ‘holiday’ like this.
You trust that you will make it to retreat safely.
You trust that the people you meet will be nice.
You trust that you will be safe – out in the middle of the countryside.
You trust that you will last the six days.
You trust that there is nothing terrible that happens in your everyday life whilst you are away.
You trust that the time and money spent on a retreat like this is worthwhile. That it will truly make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.
You see I retreat not just for me, for me those around me also – those who read this blog, those who encounter me on the street, my family and my friends.
This is because I am a better person when I’ve retreated.
I need this time to balance and realign myself.
This retreat-time I reflected on how much of a different person I am now.
My life has changed completely since the last time I went there, and yet where I am at now, I could see coming that very first time.
I had come full circle in a small circle of circles.
So much will contine to change for me, but thank God for a New Year Retreat.
I’ve come back refreshed and ready to see what this year will hold for me.
What will it hold for you?
This year, on this blog – we will contine to find out!
Much love always Txx