I picked Amanda up from the ferry dock and we were at the Whidbey Institute a few minutes later to have a little coffee, a scone, and be assigned rooms of our own for the day. There were about ten people experiencing the retreat, of whom I already knew a few. But the day wasn't about socializing, so I tried to avoid that, and it wasn't about church, so even though one of my parishioners was among the folks there, I wanted to avoid that.
We met for an hour together, reflecting on the theme of the day, "To Everything There is a Season", and then went to our individual spaces to be alone and in silence. I spent most of the morning journaling, time I rarely take to reflect on what's going on in my life. Just before lunch we had an optional Qi Gong experience in the Madrone Meadow, a circlet of grass surrounded by several old madrone trees.
Lunch was soup and salad, eaten mostly in silence. I had a spiritual direction session scheduled for early afternoon, which was a wonderful treat, as I haven't been in spiritual direction since I left Portland in 2003. I found it nourishing and helpful then and experienced the same lift this time.
After spiritual direction, I went back to my room to do some more journaling about what I'd learned and took a brief nap before the close of the day.
At the end of the day, I felt exhilarated by the chance to be still, to reflect, to be silent, to be unbusy, to write, to talk with a wise person. I'll be unpacking my day later on, sharing some of my learnings, but wanted to set the scene first.