‘Soul Care’ Discovery: Today’s discovery is actually a re-discovery. It’s also the completion of the first part of one of my 2017 ‘soul care’ goals to set aside two blocks of time during the year for a personal retreat with the purpose of nothing more than ‘soul care.’
A primary objective of my retreats is to include extended times of silence and solitude.
- A time for ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’
- A time to listen to the interior voice so often obscured by the day-to-day of life, a life I love, but one from which I need to retreat periodically.
- A time to read soul-nourishing words.
- A time to write in my journal.
- A time to take long walks for prayer and contemplation.
- A time to consider, pray about and write down short-term and long-range goals.
‘Soul Care’ Practice: The matter of ‘soul care’ in a God-honoring manner is one about which I’m serious. For that reason, I scheduled a personal retreat at St. Gertrude’s Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho, beginning the Friday following Easter. For you who’ve been reading my Listening on the Journey… blog, you’ll remember I wrote extensively about the first personal retreat I took at St. Gertrude’s in July 2016.
A view of St. Gertrude’s from one of the walking trails.
On Saturday, April 22nd, I woke before the alarm on my phone. I guess my soul was telling me it wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on the restorative early-morning hours. This was the only full day of my personal retreat, and it seemed an inner tug coaxed me to bleed every possible bit of inspiration out of the day.
Brilliant colors peeked through the cracks of the mini-blinds covering the large window. The window creates a frame showcasing the rolling farmlands of the pastoral Camas Prairie. I raised the blinds and secured the cord.
I then sat down in the gliding rocking chair I’d positioned the night before to face the window.
Bands of vivid colors rose in the eastern sky—cobalt blue, violet, deep pink, brilliant orange streaked with gold—soul-saturating colors.
“Drink it in, my soul. No need to hurry.” I reminded myself.
The sun rose higher in the early-morning Saturday sky, colors spreading, softening to pastel hues.
Before long, the only colors visible were those in fluffy pink-tinged clouds. Time had come to get on with this new day.
Spiritual intensity occurs when I set aside a block of time for no purpose other than to nurture my soul. For me, a time frame from late Friday morning through somewhere around noon on Sunday is the perfect block of time.
After two partial days, one full day and two nights, the intensity begins to dissipate even like that Saturday morning sunrise. I’m ready to get on with my life, continue the work I believe God has designed me to do as wife, mother, grandma, adult daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, pastoral counselor, ministry director and writer.
Oh, my goodness! My list goes on and on as I know yours does.
I’m at a point in my life journey when I’m able to get away for a dedicated block of time. If you’re in a similar season, I urge you to consider a retreat with your sole objective being ‘soul care.’
I know some reading this blog are not in that season or do not have that ability. To you I challenge. Rather than saying wistfully,
“yes, but…” or
you might consider prayerfully how you can carve out a specific block of time to take care of your soul, to listen to the message the ‘still small’ voice of the Spirit wants to convey to you. Some suggestions to spark your spiritual creativity:
- a single pre-dawn hour once each month dedicated to nothing but ‘soul care,’
- recruiting your hubby or friend to watch the kids while you take a contemplative prayer walk,
- exchanging childcare with another mom for the sole purpose of supporting and nurturing each other’s individual pursuit of ‘soul care,’
- a long, leisurely bath at the day’s end, time set aside specifically for reflection and prayer.
My Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to get away to spend time with you. Thank you for the gift of that beautiful sunrise and for meeting me in such sweet and personal ways. Thank you for the restoration that occurred in my ‘soul.’ For my friends reading this post, I pray you will give them the gift of divine ideas to see how they might carve out time from their busy schedules to retreat into a period of solitude and silence in order to listen with their hearts to the still, small voice of your spirit. ~ Amen
Blessings on your journey of caring for your soul…
- https://www.stgertrudes.org ↑