Taking It Home
Spirituality & Health|January/February 2022
"Hang on to the positive effects of your retreat"
By Mary Bemis

A completely unscientific analysis of the arc of a successful retreat might go something like this: The anticipation and excitement of arrival and change; a growing dis-ease and desire to go home; an inexplicable certainty that you never want to go home; and a final acceptance that it is time to go home.

The big question is, what do you bring back? The key is not to expect too much … or too little. This brings us to a critical practice of the retreat that most people ignore. It’s the reverse of the anticipation of the retreat itself. It is the time when you reflect on all the good experiences you’ve had and all you’ve learned on your retreat, and then you visualize yourself back home.

REENTRY EXPECTATIONS

Explore your home and your living situation in the light of your retreat. Look at your life. Look at your friends. Look at your relationships. And then look at yourself—and your future ideal self. Write down what you see and feel—write down what you really want to hang on to—and how you might hang on to it.

As you do this, keep an obscure bit of marketing research in the back of your mind: Once upon a time, a pillow manufacturer discovered that from the time a person wakes up to the realization that their pillow is truly uncomfortable to the time they actually purchase a new pillow is two years. The simple fact is that we hold on to things that are obviously painful for way too long.

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