Thursday, April 3, 2014

Going on retreat... brb!

Need a little pick me up? Want to regroup and get your thoughts in order? Your life, perhaps? Go on retreat... Take some time for yourself, connect with whatever you need to connect with and just be...

Wait for it... wait for it. Here comes the disclaimer- I use the word "retreat" loosely and almost as a verb, not a noun. Retreat yourself from the routine, from the drama, retreat and TREAT yourself to some "me" time and do something you like, no, LOVE; love to do or love to be at. Most of all, be happy.

Going on retreat, or retreating away for a little bit to have some quality time with yourself, with God, or whatever power or energy you believe and feel whole around, can come in many different forms.

If you are prone to go on retreats of the spiritual or religious nature, do it! Contemplative times of silence and prayer may just be what you love and also need at the time to re-energize your life. Some people travel to retreat and literally get away. Others read a good book and immerse themselves in the pages of the fictional (or non-fictional) places, lives, loves for a little R & R with imagination. Love it? Do it!

I have a friend who loves race cars. His retreat includes an annual pilgrimage to the Indy 500. I know, I know, it's not the most contemplative or quietest of environments, but it's his retreat, and when he comes back to routine, he is a newly positive and energized person to be around.

Others need a weekend, here and there, to go to the beach, set up camp and be with nature. Talk about re-TREAT! What a treat it is to be able to enjoy the beauty of nature, the gifts from our Creator, the sun, moon, skies and stars... The sea, the sand, the heat and wind. Alone or with company, it is an opportunity, not a chore, a joyous gift, not a stressful "to do." Same goes for exploring and tackling on trails in a forest or national park, listening to the birds sing, the crackling trees and breathing fresh air that is taken for granted more than it should.

For me, well, I can most certainly relate to the examples of retreating already mentioned. However, my favorite form or re-treating is indeed a TREAT for myself.

Going on retreat... brb (be right back!) is what you will usually see if I post anywhere that I am in a movie theatre.

Why? Weird or goofy, some might think. Well, to quote a good friend and colleague, yes, I am goofy. ;) So be it, in this particular case I take pleasure in what some may even call superficial and unrealistic. My retreats from routing, from the norm in order to think, reflect, process and escape is going by myself to see a movie. Yes, that is me, the person that buys "one for "Eat, Pray, Love, please."

As much as I will try to explain the whys, just take my word from it as a choice and for what it's worth. A movie can be just that, a movie. A 90-120 minute feature film based on an either, sappy story or a reality-based event, told by actors who may be more self-absorbed and all about themselves than they would care to admit. Maybe, yes, that is the case.

To me, however, (and I have blogged about my obsession, yes, it qualifies as such) with movies, their actors, the story behind the creation of such, the cinematography, sound, and everything related is an experience.  When I walk into a dark movie theatre I can tune out every hint of drama, worry and stress in my life. When I walk unto the isle, carefully scout out and count until I find the middle seat and indeed, sit, I am home.  I make sure no one is sitting in front of me. Pop corn in tow (you GOTTA have popcorn!) and a bottle of water - I stopped drinking diet Coke and opted for water; the involuntary need to be consciously healthy, ugh- and put my feet up. Shhh.. Silence. Bliss...

I pay attention to the previews like it's my job until the movie begins. Then, finally, after 30 minutes of often too much information-induced ads for upcoming attractions, my journey into introspection begins. Yes, admittedly so, the drama, stress or worry in my life creeps in, but this is where the retreat part comes in! I carefully choose my movies. I choose movies I can not only relate to, but that are relevant and realistic. This certainly does not mean I won't indulge in my occasional science fiction- Star WARS, not Star Trek, please!- for those flicks are often the most necessary magical trips we need to really disconnect and regroup from a new perspective. I go and watch comedies, the most hilarious and inappropriate at times and they are perfect for making me laugh hysterically and remind me not to take life too seriously. It's only life, after all. We should laugh and enjoy it! Thank you "Bridesmaids" for making me LOL more than once! ;)

Like a good book that somehow touches one's life, a movie can also help you heal, give perspective, or you know what, simply help you CHILL OUT in the midst of whatever you are dealing with. Truth be told, maybe your drama doesn't really go away completely. That's fine. Of course, it will be there when you come home, or return from the beach, or go back to work on Monday, or hike down the mountain. Life will be there, our problems will be there. But after a much needed, well-deserved retreat (silence, musical, theatrical or prayerful), you will feel like you gave yourself quite a TREAT because you chose to take the time and do something you loved, but equally needed.  You feel better already... you can face the music, put on your Ironman suit and take on the bad guys. A new energy fills your heart, your mind... You did it! You were able to step back, relax, reflect, regroup... and now confidently say bring it on!

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