retreats themes

Wrestling with the Idea of Living Simply: Removing the Spiritual Clutter

Our Retreat Planning Team met today, for the first of our meetings leading up to an April 10 retreat. At these early meetings, we focus on finding a theme. It’s amazing to see the creative process at work; all of us striving to find something that is at the core of what we face as a person in the world today.

This afternoon’s discussion danced around about the idea of Gratitude, Trust, and Living Simply. I think it’s especially difficult in today’s world to focus on simplicity. Our culture encourages us to do more, better, faster. We are praised if we are good multitaskers. We begin to think we’re good multitaskers, but even research shows that the human brain is not that adept at doing more than one thing at once.

So where does that leave someone in today’s world? At work, I run multiple projects all at once, and it’s not unusual for me to have email, several instant messages, a finance program, MS Project, a blog or two, and a Word document all open at the same time. You know, so that I can look at those things in between meetings. And I take my iPhone with me to meetings.

What if I started doing just one thing at once? Like just now, tonight… I turned off the TV so I could write this post. Silence. Wow, it’s delicious.

We’re hoping that our next retreat can focus on reducing that clutter – the mental, physical, even spiritual clutter that clouds our days.

Mentally, am I focusing on the now, on being grateful for what I have, for this moment in time that will never come again?

Physically, both in body and in surroundings, am I being a steward for what I have, treating my body with respect, and only continuing to keep the things that are useful for me in my life?

Spiritually, am I letting go of things that are keeping me from God? Am I able to acknowledge habits, small addictions that distract me from Love and good relationships? Am I continuing to push myself to better understand myself and my purpose here?

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  • Serendipity
    November 16, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Visiting from SITS! I’m very much with you on doing one thing at a time at the moment. When I am on top of things, I find I multitask well, but when I’m snowed under trying to do more than one thing at a time makes me anxious!

    I’ve also recently realised that when resting and relaxing I should do just that – and nothing else; just reading through papers for work is not relaxing and completely devalues the time! Thanks for a great post 🙂

  • NordicPer
    November 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Just stopping by from SITS. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very inspiring and reminded me of enjoying the simple things in life!

  • marfmom
    November 16, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Living simply/eliminating the mental clutter is so important, but so hard! I’m basking in the silence of my apartment right now while my DS sleeps, taking time to relax before attending to my pile of work. I find I feel better when I am “in the moment”, i.e. – fully enjoying my “relaxing” time and not trying to also infuse it with work, and then focusing just on my “working time” or my “playing with my son time”, etc.

    * coming from SITS

  • Chatterbox
    November 17, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Loved the idea of attempting to de-clutter our mind, body and soul. I personally find it difficult to attain any success while I am multi-tasking.

    One step at a time works for me as well. At times when I decide to read blogs, I am forced to turn the TV off to be able to concentrate on what I am reading.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

    Thank you Paula for the wonderful suggestion and the lovely comment you left on my blog.

    Hope to stay in touch.


  • Sally Ferguson
    January 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Retreat planning is rewarding and fun to see in process. The best part of the work? Seeing God take our ideas and bless them!

  • Anonymous
    December 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

    The siren song of is getting harder to ignore these days.