Saturday I participated in an all day silent meditation ladies retreat held at my church. My interest in this was sparked when one of the amazing women in our ladies Bible study shared some of her experiences in the 3, 5, and even 10 day silent meditation retreats she's been on. In her sharing her discoveries during these retreats I found myself holding my breath and not exhaling till she was finished as I thought "I want that." I have such difficulty focusing in any sort of prayer or meditation time. I find my mind can't stay focused for any length of time, constantly running on random bunny trails, or I just fall asleep. I need to teach my brain to SHUT UP!! She felt led to put on an 8 hour retreat for those like me that had an interest in learning how to just Be Still And Know. Myself and seven ladies from our church showed up at 8 am with no coffee or food in our system ready and willing to experience something most of us had never tried before. She combined this silent meditation with a Daniel fast which is basically a vegan diet. My experience started off great, I didn't find it too painful to stay silent and I was having success with the techniques she provided. The real challenge was after we broke for lunch, my addiction to caffeine and going cold turkey resulted in a massive headache and I found that any time I got my mind to quiet I dozed off. It was frustrating and eventually torturous. When we had completed the 7th hour we gathered together to discuss our experiences and I was relieved to find that I wasn't the only one that found this process to be painful and frustrating but I was also encouraged by those that had done this sort of thing before and shared that the first time was extremely difficult but as with most things with practice it gets better and even easy eventually. Our society is so geared in the opposite direction. We are encouraged to go, go, go! We are constantly being entertained and bombarded with stimulation and information that when we ask our bodies to hold still and our minds to be quiet they are both so exhausted we just crash into sleep. Now the hard part for me will be making the time to keep this in practice. I want it though, I want to be able to sit still for hours on end with my mind focused on The One. So practice I will.
Sunday was full of visits. My aunt flew into town to stay with us from Washington and a dear friend from So Cal is in town with her baby girl that I'd never met. I ended up with a cherished group of friends and family over yesterday for lunch and swimming. Got to meet her gorgeous baby girl who has the most stunning blue eyes I think I've ever seen as the rest of the kids swam and played. It was a lovely afternoon. At one point my mom came outside to tell me I was missing a great photo op in the living room. My dad, my son, and two of his buddies on the floor playing with the train. I managed to sneak in and get the shot.
It's for sure my favorite one of the weekend.
I trust your weekends were restful and wonderful. :)