It has been two weeks since my Lent retreat at St Michael’s convent in Richmond. Since then the evenings have got a lot lighter and there’s the feeling of spring just around the corner.
The quietness of the retreat was good, considering I’ve had very little time for space and reflection during the past couple of weeks. The only real meditation time I’ve had have been a few minutes snatched here and there at work, gazing out of my 8th floor office window while making a cup of tea.
Meanwhile my attempt to give up chocolate for Lent hasn’t got off to the best start. Last weekend I was hill walking in the Peak District in snowy, blizzard conditions, and was offered some chocolate was a fellow walker – and without thinking, ate it. My excuse is that it was bitterly cold, I needed the energy, and it was a long long walk. I’m not sure what Sister Annelise at St Michael’s convent would say about that.
The weekend of hill walking was a high energy break from London and very different to my quiet time at St Michael’s (snow, blizzards, lots of people versus quiet, space and reflection), although the contrast between the two have been quite nice.
I’m now thinking about where to go for my March weekend retreat, and am even trying to draw up a plan for the rest of the year.
I’m still undecided, but what has helped is a retreats magazine I picked up at Michael’s, called ‘Retreats 2010’, published by the Retreats Association. This is probably the best place to go for finding Christian retreats in the UK (besides my blog of course). There are some interesting articles in here all about the different kinds of Christian retreats you can go to in the UK, some of which are really unusual – calligraphy for icons, Martha – Mary retreats (a Quaker working retreat that combines ‘working and worshipping’), a wood carving and music retreat, even a Christian Zen Buddhist retreat.
So I’ve been leafing through the magazine and pondering what to do next. On the back of the magazine there is a large photograph of St Cuthman’s retreat in Horsham, again not far from London. I’ve been recommended it already by a couple of friends over the years. They don’t offer themed retreats at all, just space for people to have some time out. It looks restful and peaceful, and I feel quite drawn to this place…