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Posts Tagged ‘retreat’

I went away last week for 5 days of retreat time on Vancouver Island with a friend of mine.  The first two days were absolute bliss…we talked, we walked, we saw the sights together and enjoyed all that the community had to offer.

Wednesday we had a lazy start to the day then went to an open air market about an hour away for lunch and a wander around.  Lunch was great, the market was fun and then we poked our heads through a doorway and explored some more market area.  When we’d had enough wandering about we decided to head back to the car and meander back where we’d come from.

She was walking ahead of me down these long, wide stairs.  There were four of them.  I only stepped on three of them.  I missed a step and fell hard onto my face.  The bridge of my glasses was embedded into my forehead and I started to bleed.  A lot.  Caused quite a scene at this market.  The bridge of my glasses is scratched up as is one of the lenses.  I bled for quite some time.  My forehead has an abrasion on it.  As does both knees and my left hand.

The shock was incredible.  I was handed clean serviettes and told to apply pressure.  A zipper bag filled with ice was given me.  I was examined by two nurses (one of whom was traveling with me).  I was asked questions to determine how alert I was.  I think I passed them all, at this point I can’t quite remember when I heard.  What I do know is that I was embarrassed at how quickly it happened, what a scene I’d caused and what a mess my face had become.

My friend drove us to the hospital half way home.  I waited an hour in emergency as the bleeding lessened and the swelling increased.  I ended up in hospital for 3 1/2 hours and was treated very well.  The nurses were helpful, the doctors were kind.  I got a tetanus shot and got to experience skin glue.  It burned as it was being applied but has done a great job of keeping the skin together as it heals.  I’ll likely have a scar but it will be hidden by my glasses.

The good news is, nothing was broken.  The unfortunate news was my body’s reaction to the shock.  It’s now 4 days afterwards and I’m still feeling it.

I need new glasses.

The morning after the fall I woke feeling like I’d been hit by a car.  Arms and legs ached.  Face was swollen and sore.  Jaw throbbing.

I contacted one of my Wardens and she made arrangements for the two services this morning to be covered.  I slept in on a Sunday, something I haven’t done for a very, very long time.

Yesterday I went for a walk through the community.  Not as long as I’d have liked to, but as long as my body would allow me.

So the benefit of this experience was that I have incredible friends.  I have the best Wardens, Licensed Lay Ministers and congregation.  I will heal from these scars. Eventually the pain will go away.  Gravity is still not my friend.  That’s not new, but it bears repeating.

Two days after the fall I had to fly home.  I was terrified about the stairs into and out of the small airplanes on which I’d be flying.  I took my time, accepted help when it was offered and made every single step.  Yay me.  It’s the small things, you know?

The flight had three parts to it, one of which I had to change planes.  And the last leg of the flight was turbulent, but we survived it.  After we landed I was helping the lady sitting in front of me put on her cardigan and she elbowed me in the nose.  I saw stars.  She apologised and I told her she didn’t cause the injury, it was already there.  But yes, my nose hurts.

My friend collected me at the airport and I drove home.  It was good to rest in my own bed.  Bathe in my own tub.  But until the glue falls off I can’t submerge my face or wash it properly.  THAT is starting to bug me.  But the wound will heal, the scar will get smaller and life will continue.

I do want to go back where I was on retreat, but not to that open market again…and I’ll be very wary of stairs, especially cement stairs, from now on.

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Juicing seems to be going okay. I invented my own juice this morning and I quite like it. I even saved the recipe for later. It’s 2 apples, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, 1 lemon, 1 thumb of ginger. Tangy and tasty. Not sweet, but not bitter. Yummy.

I have slacked on walking because the weather has been so cold and my schedule has been such that I’ve not made time for the walking track. I am sure, once the weather improves, that I will get back to walking with the dogs every morning. Even 20 minutes with them made a difference. Come on Spring!

I am enjoying cooking at home, and we are going through a lot of groceries, but this is a good thing. The positive things is the groceries are being consumed, not rotting and having to be thrown out. I have made a commitment to 30 days of juicing, but I already know I will be juicing every day for a very, very long time.

The downside of juicing is the mess with the juicer, but it makes life much easier to have the juicer. So I guess its worth it.

As we approach Lent I am determined to make this my healthiest Lent. Every year I pick something up that is good for me, and set down something that is not. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about living life to the fullest. Taking on things that scare me. Trying my best to take one day at a time.

This year I am going to eliminate all processed foods from my diet for the 40 days plus Sunday’s of Lent. I am going to juice every day. And I am going to move my body in some way for at least 20 minutes a day.

As far as the Spiritual side of Lent goes, I will spent at least half an hour in meditation or prayer, as I want a closer relationship with God. Every year I try to follow a devotional for Lent, but have yet to complete one within the 40 days. This year I am not putting that pressure on. I will read every day, but it doesn’t need to be from a specified Lenten devotional.

Tuning up my body as well as my mind, heart and soul. It’s going to be a challenge, but I am certain I can get there.

One step, one sip, one bite, on prayer, one moment at a time.

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I have just come home from an 8 day retreat in the eastern part of the province where I live. The weather was extremely cold. We had an ice storm that kept us indoors for an entire day and that was alright. While I was away I did a lot of resting, praying, meditating, some journalling, some cooking and generally, trying to rid myself of the anxiety and stress of the past few months.

I came home to a disaster area of a house. The kitchen was a mess, laundry in the dryer, bedroom floor covered in detritus, bathrooms a mess. I was not a happy camper. I am frustrated that I work to keep the house clean and tidy. I cook healthy meals as often as I can and I care for my family. When I go away all that goes out the window. Nothing gets put away, there’s a trail of crumbs and flour on every surface.

I know I should be grateful for a family at home and food in the fridge. And I am. But to me, it’s disrespectful to not clean up after yourself…especially when you know that the person coming home will clean it up.

I know I should leave the mess for the ones who created it, but I can’t stand the mess. So far today, although struggling with a migraine, I have swept the bedroom floor and made the bed. Have done two sinks full of dishes and cleaned up half the kitchen. I still need to finish the kitchen, then the dining room and the bathrooms will wait for tomorrow afternoon.

My whole life I’ve lived by the rules. I’ve changed myself to be who people want me to be. I am tired of always being the one to bend and stretch. I want to have my needs respected and honoured. And a clean house, in my humble opinion, is not that big a deal. To me, it would be a lovely way to welcome me home. A clean kitchen, the bed made, laundry put away. That would make me happy.

My beloved teases me that I’m the only person he knows who insists on cleaning the house before I go away. When I was single, I would leave the house clean and tidy so when I came home it was the same way. It’s more difficult to do when you’re married, but really, does it have to be?

So now that I’ve had a chance to vent, I will make myself a cup of tea and clean off the dining room table. It will be grand once it’s done, but it does bug me that it has to be me that’s doing it.

I feel like stamping my feet and shouting “It’s not fair”. But of course, I can’t do that…can I?

The good news is my homily is nearly ready for tomorrow. It’s the Baptism of the Lord. One of my favourite holy days in the Church. The message will be simple, but hopefully profound.

And after Church I will bring my house back in order. it might not be fair, but it’s life.

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It could be the edge of insanity, or it could be the edge of awesome. I don’t believe I have ever felt this weary and yet this wired at any time before in my life. It’s a strange manic/hyper place, where I am not the slightest bit familiar. I don’t like it here.

The past two weeks have been really rough in many ways and I am so very happy to be getting away from this place. I love what I do, and I love where I live, but right now I’m so empty that I’m worried I’m starting to corrode.

My yoga mat is packed and ready to go. I have a list of things to put in my handbag so I have what I need for the train ride at my fingertips. I have packed some healthy snacks to take with me so all I have to buy is sparkling water or perhaps a cup of tea. a friend is taking me to the train station so my husband and daughter can have an afternoon of awesome together going swimming.

Today we went to an off leash beach in a big city a couple of hours away. The dogs were good, the younger one has never been in the lake before and he loves it. He’s a natural swimmer and even gave our dock diving older dog a run for her money. They slept soundly, snoring most of the way home.

The towels from today’s adventure are in the dryer. I’m going to flip them around and put them on again as the load was really full, and I’m quite sure they’re not dry. And then I think I’ll go to bed.

I have no homily for tomorrow. And I will own it. I’m overtired, I’m beyond exhausted and I’m very pleased that I have two weeks away beginning tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I will be with my friend, driving from the train station to the small town where she lives and I will really and truly be on vacation. I was have two weeks of Sabbath. And I can’t wait.

The lists have been prepared of what I need to bring and many of the smaller things have been packed. I have a book I’m bringing for a course I’m taking in September, that I may or may not get around to reading. I am bringing my yoga mat and my journal. Two dresses for theatre events we are going to, and a small collection of tops and bottoms. A yoga jacket, a heavier cardigan and that’s all I need.

Makeup is packed, jewellery is packed, clothes have been set out but not yet packed. Still have to pack toiletries, which will happen tomorrow after Church and then, I am done.

I need to pick up a pair of sandals I was looking at the other night. My right heel is an absolute mess, and the sandals I currently have aggravate it. My thoughts of extended walking are on hold for a week, I may pick them up on week two of my vacation, if my heel is in better shape. The weather is supposed to be cooler and wet for the first week, then bright and sunny the second week. Awesome.

I will not set an agenda. I will take each day as it comes. I will take better care of myself. Drink lots of water. Eat healthier foods. Laugh uncontrollably. Pour out my heart and soul in words. Pray without ceasing. Stretch my mind and body into better health. Eliminate sugar, refined flour, processed foods and alcohol from my diet, perhaps forever.

Mindfulness is the touch-word for this vacation.

I don’t know when I will blog again. This vacation will also be electronics free. My cell phone is coming with me for emergencies, and for checking on my family. But nothing else. It will not travel with me if we are away for the day. I will not come with me or be near me when I am practicing yoga. And I’m looking forward to that.

Today, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of insanity. I pray that in two weeks I will be standing on the edge of awesomeness. Only time, determination, faith, and openness will tell.

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I was away last week for five days. I left on Sunday, by train, to the eastern part of the province in which I live. I went to visit a good friend, colleague and mentor. The night I arrived we sat up, drinking tea and chatting, until the wee small hours of the morning. The next day we took a tour to the city where her daughter now lives and then continued driving to reconnect with a mutual friend who lives a couple of hours away. It was wonderful.

I spent a lot of time in silence, in prayer, in meditation. As the days were passing I kept thinking how I didn’t want the time to end, how I wanted to stay away, on retreat for just a little longer.

Reality came crashing back in the early hours of Friday morning when I received a call from a parishioner that her husband had passed away. We had been waiting for this, but it was still a shock and meant there was a great amount to do. On the train ride home I made countless phone calls and emails arranging and organising. There wasn’t much time to fully emerge from retreat time.

It was more like jumping in to the deep end of the pool. Friday night I had a wedding rehearsal which went very well, but took longer than anticipated. When I got home I tried to pull my thoughts in semblance for Sunday’s homily. But nothing has been forthcoming.

The wedding is Saturday night and then I’ll be stopping by a friend’s house for a quick chat and a cup of tea. Then it will be home and hopefully an early night to bed.

While I was away, I felt calm and relaxed, and yet now, not every 24 hours later, I’m back to the frenetic pace that led me to need the retreat in the first place.

Oh well. Now I need to plot out some time for vacation. And likely go away from here, by myself, to simply be away. Only time will tell.

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As one who is in a giving profession or healing profession, it is often difficult to take care of oneself. In fact, when my depression loomed its evil head after several years in absence, it was due, in great part, to me not looking after myself.

Who cares for the caregiver?

My dad died on the 12th of June 2012, after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was about 6 weeks shy of his 80th birthday. My dad wanted to die as he lived…simply. He died on his own, peacefully and gently. After all the health issues he had endured from a traumatic head injury, lower leg amputation, several heart attacks, an abdominal aeortic anyeurism, a femoral break of his right leg and an inoperable abdominal aeortic anyerism; he simply stopped breathing. He died because the time was right.

My Mam looked after my Dad for all of their 50 years of marriage. It wasn’t always easy, but she did what needed to be done. And after he died she was at a loss for what to do next. And thankfully, she chose to live.

She is now, for the first time in many years, concerned with her appearance. I’m heading home to be with her for a few days and she wants to go shopping, to increase her wardrobe and make sure she has clothes that fit for winter. For someone who wore the same tired tracksuit for 10 years, this is huge.

I am in a healing profession, or at least, a nurturing profession. And there are times when I forget about myself in order to care for the other. But I, too, need to be cared for. And that’s what vacation is about.

In a couple of days I’m heading to the northern part of Ontario to spend time with my Mam. I will be taking part in a challenging hike that I’ve not done for many years, because I want to. And it will be a glorious day when I am able to finish that hike…for many reasons.

On Saturday my Mam and I will take the ferry from South Baymouth to Tobermory and will enjoy the colours that surround us…if ever one doubted the presence of God, one need only see the changing colours to truly believe.

We will join my beloved and our wonder hound to celebrate Thanksgiving and to give thanks to God from whom all blessings flow.

This will be my time to slow down and rest. To reflect, to relax and to remember that I, too, am a beloved child of God, created and nurtured in God’s image…and that image is of perfection.

I can’t wait!

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Sundays are generally busy days in Church Land. For some reason or other, I don’t ever seem to sleep well Saturday night, no matter how well, or poorly I’m prepared for Sunday. Today was no exception. I woke with the alarm, but didn’t get out of bed for half an hour.

Showered, dressed, walked to church and began walking through my homily. You see, when I write my homilies, they take the better part of a week and very little actually gets written down. Starting on Monday morning I review the readings for the week and go back to them at least once a day. I look at commentaries, meditate on the word and see if there’s a common thread or where the Holy Spirit is guiding me.

By the time I get to Sunday morning I’ve said my homily, aloud, at least three times. Sunday morning I try to polish what I have and make sure the phrasing is coherent.

This mornings homily went over really well. Worship as a whole was awesome and I left the church happily exhausted. I got home, and looked at my chores list…it was huge. I got changed, had a cold drink and tackled some of the list. After about an hour and a half I decided I’d done enough and headed out to do some shopping. I know, I know, it’s Sunday.

Came home with my purchases and put them away, pleased with what I’d been able to buy. I sat down to read and hit the wall. My body hurt, my head was ringing, I’d been clenching my jaw and realised that I was one large stress ball.

The phone rang and it involved a meeting that I’d been trying to arrange for months. The only day that all parties involved can attend, is Monday. This is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. So Monday it is. The challenge is that I was supposed to be at a Day of Retreat out of town. But in all fairness, this meeting is important. And I’m not too far away from 10 days of holidays. You win some, you lose some.

So, I went upstairs and had a warm bath, put on clean pajamas and spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing. I’m not normally good at doing nothing. But today I had to do nothing…my body was telling me so.

The dining room table needs to be cleaned off, and it will get done…but not today. There’s a stack of paperwork that needs to be sorted through, and it will get sorted through…but not today.

Listening to my body is something new for me. And while it seems I wait a little too long to listen, at least I am listening…eventually.

For those of you who are reading and nodding…be gentle with yourself. You know what I mean.

A new adventure awaits me Wednesday night…yoga. I bought a yoga mat today and am excited to learn more about yoga. I plan on bringing my yoga mat with me on vacation so I can practice what I’ve learned.

That adventure will wait for another day. Right now I’ve got a cup of tea to make and dishes to wash…on second thought, the dishes will wait.

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