I recently gave myself a glorious, and much-needed, gift. I took a weekend away in a quiet place for a self-guided retreat. I left on Friday at noon, was home by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday night, and in that short span of time my inner world shifted radically.

I had been writing in my journal and naming in my dreams for the year that I needed just such a weekend away by myself, and finally I really listened to myself, stopped postponing what my soul was needing, stopped making everything else a priority. As soon as I decided to honor this need and committed to taking a weekend away this month, everything fell miraculously easily into place.

I asked friends for suggestions of where to go, told them what I was looking for. What I wanted and needed most was time and solitude and silence. I didn’t want to be anywhere social, like the hot springs, where I might feel a need to interact with others. I didn’t want distractions of any kind. I didn’t want to have to drive far and thereby lose too much of the precious time to driving. And I didn’t want to have to plan for, shop for and prepare meals. I just wanted to be alone, in silence, in a beautiful place in nature, within 3 hours drive of home, where I could walk, read, write and meditate on my own schedule.

I quickly found the perfect place to go, a simple monastery two hours from my home. And in the way that the universe supports us in our heart’s dreams and soul’s needs, they synchronistically had a room for me just a couple weekends away, despite the fact that the website said they are often booked months in advance.

The place was so quiet, almost no people around, very lovely, and I was left entirely alone. I was in heaven. I spent long hours reading, took multiple walks a day, meditated and prayed, wrote repeatedly in my journal, read some more, napped, followed my own rhythms, listened to my heart and spirit, and spoke to no one until my final hours there.

Within an hour of being there, I found myself dropping easily into a very deep peace and calm joy, and that peace and joy never left me the entire time I was there. I felt profoundly connected to the Divine through the beauty of nature. I could hear my own heart and soul speaking to me, dwell in my own Essence.

In two days time I was deeply rested and restored to balance. Everything in my life has felt easier and more flowing since then. And I realize I need to do this at least twice a year.

I write this to encourage you to give yourself the gift of silence and solitude. We all need this regularly to be able to come into deep communion with ourselves, restore ourselves, restore balance in our lives.

man with journal-ben-whiteIf you feel you can’t take a weekend away, give yourself what I call a “down day.” Schedule a day on which you have no appointments, no obligations, no to-do list. Turn off your phone and computer completely for the day. Spend a day alone, simply listening to and following your own rhythms, needs, desires, doing what you want to do, not what you feel you should do, answering to no one else but yourself, letting go of everything that has been pressing on you for attention. Just be open, curious, and grant yourself total permission to do whatever you are drawn to, to rest as much as you need to, to follow your own needs and desires. Trust and allow.

Your heart and soul will thank you.

To your peace,

Max Signature no back