Retreat has many meanings in today’s society. It sometimes means to back away, as in a battle. In many businesses, a retreat means a time away from the business place to gather for future planning or for community building.
Even mentioning a spiritual retreat brings a variety of ideas to mind. It might mean a day, weekend, week or more in a specific place for a group of people or individual to pray, share their thoughts on Sacred Writings, relax and perhaps play. Another type is to have time away, listen to a speaker present some spiritual reflections and time for individual spiritual reflections and/or discussion.
The type of spiritual retreat most meaningful for me at this time of my life is a private, directed retreat. During this time I am alone except for my cat. I rest, relax, reflect on how God is with me, or perhaps how I’ve not been aware of God’s help. Once a day I share with my spiritual director my thoughts and feelings about my relationship or lack of relationship with God. This helps me stay focused and spiritually attentive.
My director doesn’t actually direct but reflects back to me what he hears me say. My director may ask questions which help me clarify my situation or relationship with God.
What has led me closer to God? Where have I been resistant? Where have I experienced joy, peace or sadness?
A spiritual retreat is a time of renewal, reflection and prayer. Each retreat is unique. I seem to have different spiritual needs each time, though the focus is always for a deeper relationship with God.
In each retreat there are ups and downs, consolations and desolations, peace and struggles or struggles in the midst of peace. Recording and sharing my night dreams is also a part of my retreats for they lead me to new spiritual insights.
The focus of one retreat was to start a blog, something I’d resisted for some time. Writing for me has usually seemed a chore or drudgery. Yet, my night dreams were directing me to what seemed like an additional burden to my busy life.
Thus, I was surprised that the joy of that retreat was how easily I put words to paper. That was a sure sign for me that blogging was God’s direction. The writing also helped me become much more God focused and more grateful for the simple gifts of life.