I’ve just spent the last four days in Colorado Springs with the Seasons Weekend team. We offer spiritual retreats twice a year in California and Colorado. The weekend is filled with the exploration of spiritual disciples, contemplation, beautiful music, art, story, and Scripture. It is artistic and deep. It is a time to both mourn and rejoice, seek and find, commune with others and to find solitude.
I love being a part of Seasons. It has changed my life.
But after such a time of depth and emotion and joy, it’s tough to return to my everyday life. I mean, I like my life. As a matter of fact, I love it. I love my husband and kids and house and lifestyle. But when I am away for a while, it is hard to step back into the pace and pressure of my daily life. Even if for the most part, I love it.
Going away for several days in a row to contemplate, pray, and seek silence within community has served as a sieve for the things in my life that have become too loud, too shallow, or too hectic. In learning to “pay attention to what I am paying attention to”, as Dr. Curt Thompson says, I am discovering things that have been taking up too much of my attention and focus. And I am noticing things I have ignored for far too long.
So now that my feet are once again in Los Angeles, I find myself standing on the precipice of choices that I didn’t know I had four days before. I can enter into a new way of thinking and being. I have the opportunity to approach my life, my thoughts, and my God differently. Or, I can slip back into my daily routine, and leave those things that rose up in me over the weekend buried in my heart—like a treasure found then buried in a field. Discovered—but not enjoyed.
Learning to live life differently in the midst of a lifestyle that demands things stay the same requires bravery and intentionality. It requires that I bring the things I learned over the weekend with me into my everyday life. It requires that I become uncomfortable in order to find a deeper source of comfort. It requires that I set aside the predictability of the known and to step out into the newly discovered and see what happens. It requires that I say good-bye to certain ways of living in order to make room for the new.
How often are we given the opportunity to live differently? More often than we might notice. Seasons Weekend is intentionally three days long, so people have a chance to explore a deeper way to live without the interruption of dishes, bills, and routine. I believe our souls need that regularly. But if I pay attention to my everyday interactions, I can see that I have been offered a different way to live on a regular basis. It can be a conversation with a friend that leads me to desire deeper relationships. It can be a Sunday sermon that challenges me to live like I actually believe God is active and present and working in my life. It can be a simple interaction with my husband that calls me to live in forgiveness and grace, even when I don’t feel like it.
Seasons Weekend stirs up a desire in me to live deeply and beautifully. But as I enter back into my world of dishes, routine, and hectic schedules, I am reminded that the opportunity to live deeply is all around. Today, I’m going to go after those opportunities and see what happens. Thanks, Seasons Weekend.
Melissa Maimone is a speaker & writer and serves as the emcee at Seasons Weekend. MelissaMaimone.com