Thursday, August 19, 2010

Retreat Within: 14 Day Meditation Challenge

The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, Mendocino, CA

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of retreating with some lovely mamas to the Mendocino Coast.  This was this first in what we hope to be an annual woman's retreat.  

I came home feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and renewed.  In the weeks that followed, I was inspired to get back into my yoga practice, succeed at a seven day raw-food cleanse, and re-commit to my meditation practice.

Most of all, I was able to carry the balance I re-claimed at our retreat into my daily life.  While I wish I could live by the sand, sea and botanical gardens, I realize that these things are just a backdrop.  The scenery that truly matters is within our own minds. Retreats and spiritual pilgrimages (think Eat, Pray, Love) are wonderful ways to connect with ourselves; however, tending to our inner-garden is something that we can do everyday -- right here at home.  

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

In her poem, Risk, Anaïs Nin writes, "And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to Blossom."  I think starting a meditation practice is a lot like this.  Each moment is a new chance to blossom.

It's been twenty-six days since I re-committed to my meditation practice. Two more weeks will make it forty days (an important number for Buddhists and Christians).  I've been sitting for at least thirty minutes every morning and haven't missed a day.  I feel grounded and balanced and grateful for the mamas who helped me get back to this place.  What's more, I've rediscovered that  "retreat" is a state of mind.  Each time we sit on our pillow, each time we connect with our breath, and each time we pause before we react, we take a little spiritual retreat -- we give ourselves a chance to rejuvenate and renew.

I'd like to invite you to join me on my home stretch to forty days by making a pledge to sit for the next fourteen days.  In the days that follow, I'll post instructions, tips, links, and other goodies to help you get started with a sitting practice.  

Please leave a comment here or send me an email at mettamama [at] yahoo [dot] com if you'd like to join the challenge.

[photo credits: Heather Sewell Rush & Karyl Averill]
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