A Day in a Life: Permission For Retreat Granted

Seeking beauty in calm surroundings... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Seeking beauty in calm surroundings…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I notice how everything aligns, what I’m thinking about, what happens outside in the world, as well as what happens on a deeper subconscious level. The universes are synchronized.

I’m concerned with energetic and spatial alignment and compatibility. I want things in my life to be in good relationship, to each other and to me, as I live and flow through my life. I want to personally be in good alignment with my environment too, both inside and outside the house I live in, as well as inside and outside my physical body house.

While I seek calmness and balance, I must also challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone, to be appropriately daring but also to not be foolhardy. There are times when we must push ourselves to try something new, but there are other times when it might not be the right time yet. And so patience is part of the process; it may actually be critical that we know when to be daring and when to wait. And so, we must be willing to question our decisions on a deeper level. Am I holding back for the right reason or am I acquiescing to the old self who just doesn’t want to be disturbed? I’ve noticed that the appropriate answer comes when the right question is asked.

My greater intent is to remain in alignment and in the natural flow of things, whether that flow is calm and sedate or frenzied and difficult. I seek to be adjustable in appropriate ways, giving and receiving when right, but also able to pull back and away when that feels right. Sometimes it just isn’t right to be available, no matter how a decision to not engage may appear to others. Sometimes it’s just time to break the old patterns, expectations, and demands of others, and withdraw. Sometimes it’s even time to permanently sever old ties that no longer serve us.

I’m a dreamer. If you’ve read any of my books, especially the latest one, Into the Vast Nothingness, you’ll have encountered my dreaming self. As I recapitulated I became very adept at analyzing my dreams. As I learned more about my own life and began to understand the symbols that arose to show me the way forward, things in my life evened out. I began to access the calmness and balance I had always sought to maintain. Now, at this point in my life, I’ve achieved more calmness and balance than I ever thought possible. During my recapitulation, I’d momentarily access it but it would be fleeting, as I’d dive back into my process or be drawn back in, as was appropriate at the time. Eventually the process took less of my energy and life took more—real life, new life freed of trauma—as life in alignment with my new self took over.

Lately my dreaming self has been going to classes. The other night I earned my doctorate and graduated into a “day of renewal.” The next night I dreamed that I was back in school again, sitting at the feet of an Indian guru, studying the Upanishads. That same night I also studied intent, holding onto my intent to “see” as the Shamans of Ancient Mexico say, seeing energy as it moves in the universe.

You don't belong here! You can't come in! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
You don’t belong here! You can’t come in!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Last night my intent for calmness and balance came through, right in alignment with my greater intent to be in the natural flow of things. I sat in the middle of a solid square comprised of 25 one-foot-square stones, laid out like a patio. This square was my place of power, my fortress but also my place of calm mediation and retreat. Though there were no walls surrounding me, I was totally encased inside this square; nothing could reach me that I did not bring into it. The number 25 was significant. Upon awakening I wondered why 25, but when I drew out the pattern I noted that the 25th stone sat solidly in the center of the perfect square. It was the center of my place of power.

As I dreamed, worry arose again and again. I knew that worry was not necessary, that it signifies something from the past that is done and cannot be undone, or something from the future that has not happened yet and so it was futile and a waste of energy to allow it to have my energy. It was appropriate to withdraw. And so each time worry arose in my dream, I retreated into my square. I sat down on the central 25th stone and grew immediately calm, knowing for certain that it was the right thing to do.

Upon awakening and beginning my day, I carry that sense of calmness with me. It is solid like stone. My fortress is both a spiritual container for my deeper self and protection against all that is outside that wants to get in, the dual aspect of containment that is necessary if we are to achieve and maintain alignment and balance in our lives. In going inside my stone square, sitting at the center of my power mandala, I declare that I am not available right now because my own energy needs rejuvenation and exploration, completely devoid of outside energy.

As we seek to know ourselves on deeper levels, we must learn how to contain our energy for our own use, constantly adjusting so that we can also be available, when appropriate, to share ourselves with others. We all need a center of power to return to as we go about our day.

It is certainly appropriate, and even necessary, to establish a place of retreat, a place where we feel safe and secure, away from the demands of the world and the cogitations of the mind—such as the worry of my dream—but also a place where we can spiritually rejuvenate. This place can be an imaginary fortress like a square or a circle, or it can be a quiet spot inside or outside, removed from everyone and everything. It might even mean sitting in our car for a few moments of breathing before entering back into the fray of life. In offering ourselves even momentary retreat we set the intent to not overextend ourselves or lose ourselves to the outer world, but to give our spirit appropriate time alone.

Like stone, my fortress is solid! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Like stone, my fortress is solid!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

As we give ourselves permission to retreat we also give ourselves permission to reenergize and maintain our power to live life on our own terms. It’s something I worked hard for, as many of you do too, and it’s not something I will very easily give up. So I gladly accept the advice of my dreaming self, taking time for spiritual study, retreat and renewal!

From the center of my 25 stone retreat,

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