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For the second year in a row, I used the day after Thanksgiving not to go out and buy things (although I actually did a little of that) but to use it as a time of contemplation. Last year, the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge started after I went to the Peace Abbey in Sherborn to meditate, read, walk, journal and get grounded. I knew I wanted to do that again, and I was searching around for a retreat center that I could go to, but since the Peace Abbey is now closed, I was having a hard time finding a place. I then thought about how I could go to one of the many beautiful libraries in Massachusetts and do my retreat at a small town library. I wanted one that I didn’t have to drive too far to, but that I hadn’t been at yet. I chose the Dover Town Library, which is the town next to Sherborn.
It’s a beautiful, newly constructed library in a historic, old building. They have a nice reading section with many comfortable chairs. They even had coffee and desserts available (not that I could eat any of them, as they were all gluten-filled). I spent about four hours there, and I just alternated back between journaling, drawing, meditating, reading, and looking at my plans for the future, and seeing what I really wanted to do with my life in the coming few months. It was very grounding to get away from the busy-ness of my current life, and to start listening to that little voice in my head that had great dreams and wants. I think that we don’t listen to that voice in ourselves nearly enough. Usually, we can’t even hear it over the cacophony of the roar of our lives.
So, when was the last time you heard your inner voice?
Another video blog on where do you go when you need a break!
I haven’t posted in the past week, as I’ve been on a sort of personal sabbatical. I’ve had quite the busy and full past few months, and I needed some time that I could take to slow down, take stock of where I am, and get prepared for the months ahead. I’m just now coming out of it, and I think I’m better centered to do what I need to do for the winter.
Part of that was doing my Alternative Black Friday retreat. I had planned on doing that at a location in Arlington, but as luck had it I instead went to The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts, which is a lovely place. The day consisted of meditating, journaling, reading, walking, and other activities. I’ll be planning on doing it again in the future, so let me know if you’d like to be a part of the next session!
Part of doing this was to see what interesting and creative ideas could come out of my head at this time, and I think I got a good one. Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns. I’ve been to a majority of them (having lived in the Commonwealth for most of my life) but there are a number of towns that I haven’t been to yet. I have seen at least one blog about a couple working to visit all 351 towns and cities, and I thought this might be a great idea for me, as I’ve been looking for ways that I can incorporate practices to my life. I’m calling this the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge.
So, here’s my spin on this: I have to do a number of things in order for a town to count in the 351.
- I have to actually be in the town and either meditate/pray/sit quietly for at least 10 minutes. This makes it so I can’t count places that I’m driving through on the Massachusetts Turnpike (Yup, just picked up Blandford!)
- I have to take a picture of me in front of a landmark or building that would only be in that town (e.g. post office, town hall, police station, etc.) It doesn’t have to be a government building, but at least one where there’s no mistaking where it is. For example, I could choose Durgin Park or Fanueil Hall in Boston. It also means I can’t just step over the border 3 feet and sit for 10 minutes. I have to find where the life of the town is.
When will I finish this? I don’t know. It will be a fun project, and might get me to go out of my way to see a town I’ve never been to. I’ve always wondered about Nantucket, Egremont, Wales, and Plympton. I’m setting this as an intention and not a goal. I think that this will allow for some interesting things to happen, and if I just give myself the space for this, I hope they will.
So, what are you creating in order for interesting things to happen?