A retreat. I am an introvert living an extrovert’s life.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean I don’t love people. It just means that if I don’t get solitude, I start to lose energy and focus, I get exhausted fuzzy around the edges, and if it goes on for a really long time, I start to forget who I am. That’s when I get clingy, peering up at faces to see if they can tell me who I am, tugging on coat sleeves, trailing after monks in the street, casting myself at the feet of the grandmother next door.
Well. That’s maybe where it would end up, if I didn’t retreat.
I walk backwards, very silently, fingers to my lips. Then run!
Actually, no, I just kiss my husband and get in the car. Find a cheap guesthouse in a part of town where I know nobody, and spread out my journals, pencils, computer, books I intend to read but never do, a bag of almonds, my coffee paraphernalia, and my blanket. Do you remember my blanket? I’m still working away on it. It’s the longest delight.
Some things I do on retreat:
Lie in bed and don’t get up.
Look at colors and shapes in the market. A stack of mangos. Embroidery thread. Dried mushrooms. Shapes, smells, and colors are very soothing. Very simple.
Find a park and look at trees.
See a movie.
Write words and words and words and words.
Do the big shopping at the big store. (Sometimes non-retreat things have to be combined with retreat things. This is life.)
Talk to God in long, uninterrupted sentences that can be complainy, boring, or grateful.
Then I run (drive) back under the trees to my family and dog and hug them forever.
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