11 February 2014

Retreat, But Not Retreating Fom

Over the past few days, I managed to be busy and not do anything at all.

Today was a busy day.  So was yesterday.  Friday, too—most of it, anyway.  In between, I got nothing done.

All right, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But I managed not to do anything work-related—at least, according to the ways most of us define work.  I also managed to remain offline.

You see, I traveled about 100 km up the Hudson River from this city for a retreat.  The beauty of the place or the opportunity to be offline would have been reason enough to make the trip—which I hope to make again some day, on my bike.

The most important reason to go on such an excursion, though, is to nourish the spirit and to draw closer to the Infinite, the Divine Power or whatever you want to call him/her/it.  I have said in previous posts, and in other venues, that my journey from living as a man to life as the woman I am has been, above all, spiritual. 
Five other people—members of the church I’ve been attending—and our guide, the church’s rector, would probably give similar reasons for undergoing such an experience.  We talked, reflected, prayed, read, studied and ate together.  And there were long periods of silence.  The real point of the latter, of course, is not simply not to talk.  It’s also about quietude—peace, if you will, of the mind and spirit—or, at any rate, freedom from the distractions that we regard as parts of a “normal life”.

The experience wasn’t just “good for me”:  I actually enjoyed it.  In fact, I remained offline yesterday.  It’s hard for me to believe that three days offline could be such an accomplishment, especially when I considered that it was how I lived my life every day until I was 41 years old.  (Of course, when I was very young, there were no cell phones or personal computers.) I hope to go on another such retreat in the near future.  If time and the weather permit, I’ll even ride my bike there.

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