The Value of Unplugging (and Going on Retreat)
By Huda Al-Qatami
I recently came back from spending a week at Vallecitos, a beautiful and remote retreat center in New Mexico. The week was spent mostly in noble silence, practicing sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful hiking. Spending time in nature is very healing and grounding, and it made me realize that when we are in the middle of our busy lives, constantly plugged in, moving, doing, we don't recognize how restless the mind and body gets, and we don't feel the extend of our stress. Sometimes we might even lose track of what's most important to us as we get swept away by our never ending to do lists.
But when we "unplug" from the world for a while and we "retreat" into silence surrounded by nature, and we are able to observe what is going on in our internal world, we give ourselves a gift. It is a gift that allows us an opportunity to clarify our values, to get in touch with our purpose in life, to perhaps find more meaning to our existence. We can then return to the world refreshed, maybe seeing things from a clearer perspective. We might even make some changes that are life changing, or that help to align us with our values again, with what is most important to us.
So I encourage you to find the time to unplug, to retreat from the world for a bit, and just see what happens. After all, we only have this one life, and as Mary Oliver would say in The Summer Day, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?".