Over the weekend, Dan and I huddled into the warmth of northern Michigan. The rain steadied down all day Saturday but it didn’t matter; we walked amid the smell of pine needles and birch and wet dirt roads and it was lovely.

We went on retreat. It was a literal retreat but it’s the kind of thing anyone can do, anytime. It helps to get away from your normal setting, but I bet you could do it at home too – if you tune out the outside world, shut off the electronics and open the windows wide.

This was a retreat on meditation and yoga led by Katherine Austin and Dave Lesinski. At one point, in the main building, chatting with a woman who had left her worldly life to receive people at this retreat center far into the remote northern woods of Pigeon River State Forest, she was directing us to another building.

“There are many paths,” she said, and we laughed at the metaphor. It was just so easy.

But there are. We get so caught up in our workaday lives that we don’t realize there is another way. There is quiet if we can set aside the time to hear it. There is focus if we can tune out the competing messages and demands long enough to see it. There is peace if we decide to take control of our days rather than let them control us.

I fight this every day. It is so easy to be led by everyone else’s needs. Make dinner for the kids. Do just another project for another client. Take on more, more, more. Our weekends this fall have been so frenetically harried – running here, running there, some nights Dan and I fall into bed and I feel like I haven’t seen him in weeks.

I hate living like that.

What I loved was getting up north and opening the car door and the radio shutting off and hearing the birds above the trees and the wind through the branches and smelling the dirt and not locking the car doors.

I love that we left one night program and walked back to our room and on the way, stopped to crane our necks toward the night sky because there were so many visible stars.

I loved the way the sun sank into the lake, its pink and purple sunrise and sunset tones literally drowning in the calm glass of the water. 

If we don’t make the time every so often to find that, how can we continue on this frantic path? Seriously? If you wonder why we’re always getting sick and tired it’s because we’re sick and tired of the pace.

I’m not one for religion but I am one for spirituality and if we don’t find it in the day-to-day journey, then what are we doing it for?

I just had to ask.

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