Lots has been happening in my life recently, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. And not in a good way, like Jane Eyre when Mr. Rochester asks her, "Well, are you OverWhelmed?" [sigh]
The last time I felt like this I made a plan to go to a monastery with my friend, Ladybird. I picked a place that would be relatively convenient for both of us, but far enough away to let us feel truly relaxed. We ended up going to Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY. We had a great, reflective, relaxing time.
I had wanted to visit and stay at a monastery for years. I love the idea of removing oneself from the world for a little while, and rejuvenating. I love the history and the tradition of hospitality and service at a monastery. The attention to the passing of time, the hours of the day. The nourishment of the body [the food was excellent!] and the soul. And being forced to acknowledge God every few hours, really brings life into perspective.
It made me realize very quickly that I could not be a monk or a nun. I need to live in the world. But I also need to get away from the world every now and then. I need to be forced to remember God.
We worked on praying while we were there, it became our main objective. There are little silent chapels in the "crypt" at Holy Cross. Ladybird and I went and decided to try meditation/prayer for half an hour before the vespers service. Neither of us felt very proficient at it beforehand. But we worked out a mantra, "God's will." Kind of like how you have a mantra in yoga, and it helped us to keep our minds focused. We didn't end up following each idea that surfaced like a rabbit down a hole. It was relaxing and uplifting at the same time.
I highly recommend it!