Returning to Reality

Last weekend, I finally went on the solo retreat I’d been planning for over a month. I went camping by myself up north near Lake Superior.

Before I left, I had sketched out a rough plan for what I wanted to get done while I was away. I was going to spend a lot of time meditating and playing my guitar and hiking around the north woods.

Almost none of that happened. The weekend wound up being somewhat different (at least in terms of activities) than I had planned…but it turned out to be exactly what I needed:

  • I didn’t talk more than was absolutely necessary. (I was appropriately charming with the waitstaff and cashiers I encountered, but other than that, I didn’t say much.)
  • I didn’t check social media at all. (I had my phone on so I could use the flashlight feature and keep track of the weather, but it spent most of the time in airplane mode.)
  • I rested. I went to bed ridiculously early both nights I was camping, and spend a fair bit of one of the days napping as I listened to the wind ruffle the leaves of the trees.
  • I spent a lot of time thinking, but not much time worrying.
  • After I was done camping, I spent a little bit of time debriefing and catching up with a couple of particularly dear people.

And then I came home, feeling much more human and much more alive than I’d felt in several weeks. I have a lot more thinking to do, and there are other things that need to be done in order to stay in a place where I feel human and alive. But taking time to be quiet and relax seems to have been an important first step.

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