Nourish Yourself: This Weekend and Beyond

August 04, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

A Cool Retreat by John William Godward

Women today are juggling more and more as we raise families, pursue careers and maintain relationships with friends, family and our communities. A life filled with so many important priorities can be exhilarating and infinitely rewarding but it can also be demanding and stressful when we are not in touch our own inner source of nourishment. This deep well of vitality provides all that is necessary for growth, health and good condition, yet many of us are disconnected from this sacred reservoir of spirit. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling against the flow of our lives – for some of us this is a daily habit – and it results in feelings of irritability, impatience, frustration, fatigue, overwhelm etc. etc. etc…

Fountain of Youth

Not to worry! This source is always there, sparkling beneath the layers of stress, resentment, fatigue or whatever ails us like a fountain of youth just waiting to be uncovered by a worthy knight. This rediscovery of our internal sacred spring is a practice we can return to again and again, as often as needed in our lives.

Daily practice is a proven way to connect to our deepest selves and galvanize our intentions. Through regular practice of meditation, yoga, mindful eating and other self-care practices we find ourselves relaxing into the great river of spirit that runs through our lives; we can even be guided by it and over time, with compassion and intention we find ourselves living in the flow, busy as ever but no longer struggling to keep our heads above the water.

Daily Practice – Spiritual Practice

Finding this state of grace and balance is our life’s work, it is our daily practice and our sworn pledge to ourselves. We are the knights worthy of our own affection and care. This path is not necessarily easy (but not as hard as you may think) and this is why we must practice it, consciously, intentionally and consistently. If you haven’t yet made the time for daily practice, have lapsed in your practice or want to reach a deeper level of peace, balance and vitality a weekend retreat is the perfect jump-start.

If you have the availability and resources to go to a hosted retreat this of course is a wonderful option, but we can actually take a spiritual retreat at home and I find this is especially beneficial because we are given the opportunity throughout the weekend to practice in the context of our own lives, making the transition from fluid retreat-mind to Monday morning less jarring.

Taking a retreat at home is also a way of staking claim in our lives  and making room for a new way of approaching the daily challenges and stresses. These “problems” of daily human life will never go away, but rather we can change our relationship to life’s challenges to one of cooperation, acceptance and ease, even in the face of great hardship.

Make planning your retreat a fun, juicy part of the process. How will you nourish your mind? How will you nourish your body? How will you nourish your spirit? Some suggestions:

For Your Mind

1) Begin and end each day with meditation. From simply observing the breath to tonglen, lovingkindness and other formal techniques, meditation clears the path to your vibrant spring, it brings us home to our true nature.

2) Study spiritual teachings and other topics that excite and energize you. Whether you watch video, read books or listen to podcasts, regularly immersing yourself in spiritual teachings is a great way to clear the cobwebs and approach the day with a mind full of nourishing seeds of wisdom.

For Your Body

1) Try a juice feast or a weekend of all live foods. The high vibration and life force of fresh juices and raw plant foods will help clear out stagnant energy. Try something new and exotic to surprise and delight your senses and take a few moments before eating to appreciate the color, fragrance and texture of the beautiful foods you are about to consume.

2) Spend plenty of time in nature and tune in to the subtle energy of our mother earth. This energy is ours to draw upon at any time and feeds our spiritual spring.

3) Engage in some physical activity each day. It can be as gentle as qigong or a stroll in a park or as vigorous as a mountain hike or Bikram yoga class, whatever feels most nourishing to you.

For Your Spirit

1) Take care with your environment – clear up any clutter before your retreat begins and immerse yourself in sacred art, music or poetry.

2) Do you have a place that can serve as a quiet sanctuary in your home? Can you make one? Being able to retreat to silence and solitude for prayer or meditation is essential, especially for women who do so much each day.

3) Drawing, journaling, dancing and ritual can also be incorporated if you are moved to do so. Engage in whatever brings you home to yourself and aligns you with the deep font of wisdom within.

“Retreat” Beyond the Weekend

You can unplug the phone, cancel your appointments and settle into full retreat mode, but all of the above can be incorporated into the activities of a normal weekend (and the week beyond) – just add them in and see how nourishing yourself completely transforms your experience of life!

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