Today I went on a personal retreat, just for the day. To a retreat center an hour from where I live. 135 acres, with woods, a retreat center, a lake, a chapel-like structure, a labrinyth. When I left home it was 18 degrees, but the day warmed up and I was able to spend most of it outside. I walked their two trails, sat by the lake, sat in the sun in the chapel. It was great. I didn't talk to anybody all day long. I did some reading and surprisingly little writing in the journal I took. I read parts of these books: Holy Silence (The gift of Quaker Spirituality), this one was recommended to me by the director of the retreat center. I also read quite a bit of Richard Rohr's Breathing Under Water. And I read two chapters of Pema Chodron's Taking the Leap. About a month ago, I started thinking about trying to find a silent retreat to go to. I had talked about and read about silence and contemplation as two practices, when I was in Al-Anon, but I never put any time or effort into learning more about either of them. I found I was ready to do that now. I searched and searched in this area but the only ones I could find for today (my husband is out of town for the weekend so it was a good time for me to do this) were three-day retreats and I just wanted to spend the day somewhere. So I emailed this retreat center and the director immediately emailed me back and said she would help me design my own retreat. We talked on the phone, and we had a good connection. I took her advice and bought the Quaker book, and started today with the labrinyth. I was just searching for peace and a centeredness I haven't felt for the last month and possibly a new direction for the New Year for myself. I took a journal with me, but I only wrote these things (I want to share them with you): Don't force things. Take it easy. The path is unexpected. It takes longer than you think. Turn to the Son (and/or the Sun). Gratitude. Sit in The Mercy Seat. I thought a lot about where I've been, where I've come from, all of my life, with my birth family (the struggles and relationships there), my divorce, my deep struggle for/with my Difficult Child, my new marriage, and what is next for me. This particular reading in Rohr's book helped me today: "Our real truth has to do with how we situate ourselves in this world...There are ways of living and relating that are honest and sustainable and fair, and there are utterly dishonest ways of living and relating to life...Our life situation and our style of relating to others is 'the truth' that we actually take with us to the grave. It is who we are, more than our theories about this or that....How you do life is your real and final truth, not what ideas you believe." What this means to me, in terms of this forum, is that being true and honest and fair to what we know and believe to be real and true is the goal. I don't believe people will like it when we do this. I don't believe our DCs will like it. I don't even believe we will like it. It is uncomfortable to take a stand like this and to stick with it. Most of us can't, and that's okay. We will waffle and that's okay. I hope this helps someone today. It helped me.