After experiencing three weeks of driving with a handful of LOA strategies, I needed a respite. I found a great deal on Living Social to stay at the Pridwin Hotel on Shelter Island. At first I bought the voucher and planned to just read and relax. But knowing my tendency to have to always be doing something, I was inspired to research do-it-yourself retreats. There are so many great websites and blogs out there. Some women did monthly silent meditation retreats. Others went to spas for the weekend. Some did religious based retreats. Still others paid thousands to have a guru facilitate.
I took the road less traveled. We are in the midst of eclipse season and I feel the stirrings of change. This past year has been filled with career changes and challenges, as well as spiritual exploration. I dabbled in so many different modalities, finally got my master Reiki attunement, and absorbed more texts than I can name off the top of my head.
It was time to reel myself in. Tone it down. Just stop. Be in the now. For this retreat I chose to focus on what my heart needed. A true break from my daily demands. First, I made a list of what to pack:
- Coloring book and crayons
- Radical Self Love by Gala Darling
- Charged crystals
- Candles (ones charged for love, protection, peace)
- Hiking boots and bug spray
I researched what there is to do during “off season” and was happy to see it wasn’t much. This would be the perfect place to unplug. I packed some healthy snacks and a lot of bottled water. I brought stevia and green tea in case the hotel didn’t have any. I wore and packed comfortable clothes. I didn’t wear any makeup or dry my hair when I left my house the first morning.
I set an agenda for Day 1:
- Attend a meditation class
- Qi gong exercises
- Hours of reading Radical Self Love
- Some coloring
- A light healthy meal
- Nighttime walk on historic hotel property
- Evening automatic writing meditation
Agenda for Day 2:
- Morning Qi gong exercises
- Leisurely shower and dress
- Three mile hike through preserve
- Return drive home
During this time I also did a digital detox. Once I arrived safely, I put my phone and laptop on airplane mode. Two people closest to me had my room and hotel info so if there was an emergency they could reach me that way.
That first day I drove on the LIE like it was any other road trip by myself. I like my alone time and am not afraid of it. I can confidently travel and eat at nice restaurants alone. But my intention with this retreat was much different than any other trip I’ve taken. I was deliberately shutting out distractions and turning inward. When I arrived at the hotel, I felt like I was in one of those towns depicted in Hallmark movies (a secret indulgence of mine on rainy Sundays). The ferry ride was rather brief, but I could feel myself already changing once they lifted the gates. The Pridwin is an old waterfront hotel with all the charm that comes with that. I loved that there was no elevator. I climbed the narrow stairwell with my overnight bag and noticed the sprinkler system pipes running across the ceiling, obviously installed way after the hotel was built. My room was small, but the bed was amazing!!!!!!!! I had plenty of space to meditate and more than enough room to navigate my way in the bathroom. I unpacked my belongings, put the key in my pocket, powered down my phone, and grabbed my book.
I sat outside, looking at the water, and read in an Adirondack chair for literally a few hours. I was flying through Radical Self Love. The author spoke of things as if she knew what was inside my own head. Each chapter has a homework assignment, which I plan to work on diligently. I felt the stirrings of hunger and asked someone at the front desk what she recommended. I took the short drive along the shore and found myself in the main street area of Shelter Island. I had my choice of restaurants, and chose the one that caught my eye, Sweet Tomatoes. The air was beginning to cool down, so I opted to eat inside, but facing the road so I could people watch. When the waiter asked if I wanted a drink, I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio. For those that know me well, I am not a big drinker, and if I have wine, it is usually red. So I just rolled with it and enjoyed each sip along with my clams, all while reading my book and occasionally glancing up to see who was nearby.
After a delicious meal, I drove back to the hotel and made myself a cup of green tea. Once again I grabbed my book and this time I walked down to the dock. I positioned myself to be able to watch the sunset. I read and waited patiently, and then stared and stared until the sun went down.
I went about my evening routine and journaled for a really long time. I had one of the best night’s sleep and felt rejuvenated in the morning. I woke early and decided to take a walk before breakfast. It has been a long time since I have done that, just gone on a walk alone to clear my mind. While the breakfast was not ideal, it was a warm welcome. The staff couldn’t have been lovelier. I felt the energy of years gone by in this place. I definitely plan to return.
When I got back on the ferry later that day, I didn’t feel like I was leaving anything behind. I knew I was carrying with me the lessons I learned, the solitude that fueled me, and looked forward to carrying on with my daily routine with this little boost to my self-love efforts.
I am now a regular at Dipamkara Meditation Center in Massapequa. Their Sunday 11:30am class is amazing and I highly recommend.
Even if you can’t get away for a weekend, you can stage your own retreat in your home. Make a plan. Clear the space. Shut your phone off. There is nothing that can replace the relationship you build with yourself. Nothing.