What I learned:
- Get family out of the house.
- Get pets out of the house, or practice fluid acceptance as your schedule changes.
- Turn off the phone. Let people know beforehand that you won’t be available.
- Turn off the computer.
- Turn off the TV.
- Plan meals. Do the shopping ahead of time. Try to “fix” rather than “cook.” Remember to be mindful when preparing food. Don’t try anything new for the first time; stick to what you know is good for you.
- Do chores before the start of the retreat. Get the laundry and shopping done for the week to come so it’s not a distraction. You’ll have enough to think about. Trust me.
- Don’t bother to check the mail.
- Stay indoors or in enclosed outdoor areas as much as possible. Avoid people.
- If you do encounter others, like neighbors, let your practice be compassion. They probably won’t understand noble silence, and you won’t want to be rude.
- Make a schedule long before you start. Then use it as a guideline, not a rulebook.
- Forgive yourself when you get off track. Then get back on track.
- Experiment. Now is a good opportunity to try varying your meditation practice or sitting position.
- Be realistic. You will need time to transition from one activity to another.
- Consider whether you will exercise. Exercising may increase your energy more than you wish, but you may feel off balance if you skip a regular session. Listen to your inner wisdom. You can always change your mind.
- You may fall asleep. If that happens, engage in nap practice!
- Allow an hour or two after the end of the retreat before planning interactions with others. Give yourself time to ease back up to speed.
May all beings benefit!