Back from my annual silent retreat – Lessons learned

Once or twice a year, I like to rent a small apartment for a few days and reflect on my life, my goals and aspirations. March and September are my favorite time of year to go on a silent retreat. This year was no exception.

A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with my family at my father’s place when someone asked us where we’d see ourselves in 5 years. I was very uncomfortable with the question, because for the first time in years, I had no idea. My hubby said he was hoping we’d still be together in 5 years, but of that I had no doubt. I know that I love him and that I still want to live my life with him in the forseable future. But professionally, where do I want to be? Do I still enjoy my career as an executive assistant? Is it what I truly want to be doing with my life?

When I feel confused, uncertain, I like to look inward, journal and reflect. The best way that I know of is to isolate myself from the daily grind and do just that for a few days. A silent retreat is the perfect moment to perform all these introspective activities. So I booked an Airbnb on Thanksgiving weekend and packed my bags.

The first thing that I like to do when I start a silent retreat is to assess my current level of satisfaction in life. The Level 10 Life exercise is the perfect tool to reflect on each area of my life and measure progress. I have a free template that you can use if you want to try it for yourself. I first came across this method in Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning.

Then, I journaled about my career path as an executive assistant, and I concluded that I might be interested in a new profession. I am reading a fantasy novel at the moment and the main character is a scholar. I did not know that you could spend your days in a library, perusing old manuscripts, taking notes, and make a living out of it. I am super intrigued by this idea and decided that I wanted to explore it further.

There’s a tool that I like to use to explore hunches I have and questions I’m unsure how to answer : tarot. Tarot is a wonderful tool for self-discovery when used in an inquisitive manner. This time, I used the Sacred Creators Oracle, a tool designed for creatives and spiritual entrepreneurs to explore their craft. I thought it was perfect for career exploration. Here’s a picture of my reading :

Tarot reading with the Sacred Creators oracle

Lastly, after I had reflected on my current situation, on my potential future, I rewrote my life plan. I use this method by author Michael Hyatt that I have used for the past few years. It was very interesting to realize that some of the envisioned future I set for myself last time I wrote my life plan had already become a reality, especially on the health front. Writing down your goals clearly work. Here’s the goals I’ve set for the last quarter of 2018 :

My new goals for the last quarter of 2018

Before I left for my retreat, I had a long conversation with my boss during lunch break. I told her about the 5 year vision I didn’t have. As a type A goal setter, this was out of character for me. My boss suggested that the time had come to ask myself what life wanted to do with me and just go with the flow and see where it takes me. It made me think of this book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

I bought the book on a whim and read it all on the first day of my retreat. It seems that its message was exactly what I needed at the moment. The author explains that by living constantly for the future, trying to set goals and 5 year visions as I had always done, is taking you away from the present moment, creating discontentment. Only in the now can you be fully satisfied and joyful. I needed to learn and live more in the now.

So to implement this new idea of presence and gratitude for what is, I decided to increase the meditation part of my Miracle Morning routine to spend more time practicing being in the now. In his book, Tolle gives a simple trick to feel the now more intensely. You have to feel your body as a unique energy field. This simple visualization technique applied during meditation helps me tap in the power of now.

Overall, this silent retreat was very inspiring, connecting me with an inner pool of joy and satisfaction, with the help of the book I’ve read. And this hunch about a new career path is worth pursuing so I contacted a career coach and subscribed to a package of six coaching sessions to explore my new idea. I’m starting next Wednesday!

There is nothing that I like more than taking a few days off from the hustle and bustle to connect with my inner self, with no TV, no Netflix, no Facebook and no phone. This is a sacred moment that I like to offer myself to tap into my intuition and inner self. I know that this tool is available whenever I need it and it certainly won’t be the last time!

If you have any questions on silent retreats and how to create your own sacred moments, let me know in the comments below or contact me via Facebook!

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