Rest-Falling Off the Grid
Twice a year I take a week-long personal retreat. It is a luxury I have at this stage in my life. I have discovered a quiet hermitage nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. I typically go there in the Spring and the Fall. (living in Florida I miss the four seasons – here we only have two – Hot and Not So Hot)
The landscape comforts me. The crisp air, the aroma of a fire burning in the fireplace, a stack of books to read, wrapping my fingers around the neck of my D-41 Martin, whittling on the front porch. Each time I am there I discover new things.
It is an intentional act of falling off the grid. I will do some emails, a little facebook but for the most part I disappear. I unplug from the normal routines and tasks and enter what for me is a sacred space of reflection, prayer, writing and creativity. I wrote the majority of my PhD dissertation in that cabin at the hermitage.
We need time to unplug from the 24/7 constant media feed life can become. We need a level of silence and solitude that keeps us healthy in body, mind, soul and spirit. We need to look in the mirror every so often, examine our lives and gain perspective on where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Does your life need a course correction? To ask these questions we must remove ourselves from the ordinary and enter a new and welcoming space where we can see and hear differently.
Falling off the grid allows you time to hear a different cadence. It forces you to alter your pace, pay attention and focus. Without these moments life could just amble by year after year until 10 or 20 years pass and you realize you have not grown as a person. If I were a medical doctor I would prescribe for everyone some sort of hermitage time a couple of weeks each year.
You can learn to practice this idea of retreat everyday. Some days, take a few minutes others maybe a few hours. I have recently discovered a new way to enter this place of rest, to “fall off the grid”. I started riding a bike. Initially I did this just for my physical health. But I’ve come to appreciate my bike riding time as providing emotional, mental, even spiritual benefits as well. I now ride about five hours a week. Early in the morning I head out to the trails that pass near my house and as I pedal my mind goes on retreat. I think about all sorts of things but somewhere in the process I get still and I enter what would call a holy rest a place of divine peace.
I would not know to do this had I not learned it in the hermitage. I find a hermitage state of mind all around me. You can too. If you want to try this out for an overnight join us December 2-3 at Canterbury for a retreat I lead called Dangerous Prayer.
Part of finding home in this world is finding peace and quiet. Discover a place where you can listen to your life and you will discover another room in your home.
“It was a beautiful Easter morning in 1987. I was baptized at New Covenant Church as I approached my 45th birthday. As I said my baptismal vows, Jesus was in my head and I vowed to live my life for Him.
In September, 1988 I attended a Cursillo Weekend at Canterbury Retreat Center. It was a life changing experience for me. By Sunday afternoon, Jesus had moved from my head to my heart and I began a love affair with my Lord. Canterbury provided the space and palace for spiritual awakening in me.
Since that weekend, I have had many occasions to spend time at Canterbury on Cuirsillo weekends and youth Happening Retreats. Each visit to Canterbury has provided a spiritual retreat and a stirring in my soul. It continues to be a place of peace, tranquility, and spiritual resonance.”
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