This next few days I am preparing for my 2 week solitary retreat.
My preparations for the retreat are as follows:
1) Slowly increase my practice to 2 hours a day. A mix of sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindfulness in everyday tasks. This should help prevent my mind from going into shock at my meditation schedule next week!
2) Talking only when necessary. This helps to instill calmness and helps me to control my flitting mind by giving me more space to be mindful of what I say. I will be starting this in ernest tomorrow.
3) Move more gently and with awareness. Again, this will help to make me feel generally calmer.
4) Food preparations. I don't want to have to think too much about what I am going to eat everyday. So I am planning now what I will have. There'll be no popping out to the shops for two weeks, so I want to make sure that the important stuff is not forgotton!
4) Study material. Books and other writings.
5) Retreat book. I have a note book that I take with me on all my retreats and keep a sort of diary. It is an eye opener!
7) Outdoor gear - hillwalking will be a part of this retreat.
8) Bivvy gear - I may want to go out into the hills and bivvy a night or two.
9) Spinning gear. I have decided one of my mindfulness practices is going to be handspinning. So I'll be taking some slivers and a wheel. I might decide not to take these though come friday.
10) Carving tools
11) Art things
12) Elm Dance. I will do the Elm Dance everyday morning and evening as my opening and closing ritual. It is a powerful dance that will help to connect me to the Great Turning movement across the world and ground me in my practice, help me to remember why I am doing this retreat. Which is another post entirely!
So, you see, I am going to have plenty to be occupied with. A solitary retreat is what you want it to be. Mindfulness and meditation is the main core practice of this retreat and creativity and nature is the theme. We'll see what happens after a few days though!