I recently went on a solitude retreat, with other people, to learn about the process for going on an actual solitude retreat. This one day event was fascinating and gave a great opportunity to understand being alone and how one might go on an extended stay somewhere all by themselves and be perfectly content.
I met Nathalie and Max at Epoch Coffee in North Austin and interrupted their retreat planning discussion to give some suggestions on something they were working on. Somewhat in exchange for my suggesting they invited me to the retreat. I had never heard of solitude retreats before and I was interested to see what they were about.
What they, solitude retreats, are is wonderful! Retreats in solitude let you press the restart button and “plug-in” your charger while you “un-plug” from social, family and business responsibilities. They are a beautiful time to explore the Self and question, or not, how you feel and what you want. They are a time to do what you love; journal, art, yoga, sit, read, sleep, knit, stare out into the sunset, etc. Whatever you want, you do…without guilt that you left some responsibility undone.
The retreat I went on was one day and intended to be an introduction or mini solitude retreat where you spent time in solitude but also came together with the group to discuss things you were feeling or what types of things came up for you during your solitude. Then we would retreat back to our solitude and do whatever we wanted. The retreat was at Still Waters Retreat Center in South Austin and is a beautiful, expansive property with great trails, a labyrinth, great shaded areas to sleep or read, quite tucked away areas to sit and ponder, or just sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the world go by.
To provide inspiration and guidance there were provided art supplies, poems, thought provoking questions and quotes that though randomly picked seemed to mysteriously be apropos to the receiver.
During the time alone I read a book, worked some sudoku puzzles, walked, sat, thought, smiled, soaked in all that was around me.