3 Simple Tips:
First off, notice and consider if there is anything in particular you are grappling with in life .. something that seems stuck or won't change no matter what you try. Decide to focus on that one thing during your retreat, with the intention of peeling away the layers of confusion to learn and achieve clarity.
Second, embody the concept that you can heal yourself. Commit to that belief.
Third, provide the time and space. Choose an amount of time that works for you and won't feel like too much of a sacrifice. Be realistic with the environment you choose to be in by taking into account all possible distractions such as pets, phones, computers, roommates, partners, kids, friends and neighbors. So that if you do decide to do it at home, you go into it knowing what you do and don't have control over when it comes to creating the silence.
Here is how I did mine:
My overall desire, was to UNPLUG from the outside world. We just had Christmas and as a mother, that entails a lot of energy to make Christmas for five people (see Kristen Wig's Saturday Night Live skit for how not to do it, lol). So to unplug, for me, meant the following; No social media (turn off notifications too), no friends/social life, no news (most crucial), and no news (lol). Decide if you really need to read your emails or not. Maybe you decide to devote a certain day to read them or you turn on your "I'm on vacation" option for automatic reply. This creates the silence. Which makes it much easier to hear and listen to Spirit/Higher Self/Guidance.
I decided to do my silent retreat at home. (Other ideas to consider is going to a campground, or a backpacking trip, a cabin in the woods, an airbnb, or other vacation rental.) I chose a week when I knew my kids would be with their Dad. So all that was left to deal with at home were the cats (2), TV subscriptions such as HULU or Netflix, and my phone. My lap top has been in the background (unused) lately so I didn't view that as a distraction.
I also decided to turn up the LOVE. What I mean by that is, each act I do for myself this week was treated as an act of loving my self/nourishing my soul/softening my heart. This doesn't seem like a big deal but believe me it is! By the time I was done with a week of living this concept It felt like a huge love bomb had gone off and I was flooded with warm fuzzies, deep connection with my spirit and CEO of my body temple.
For example, each meal was lovingly prepared. On the first day, I made a huge pot of soup. As you know, there is something magical about homemade soup . . . The herbs you choose to season it with, the stock you use becomes the foundation for comfort and having it simmer on the stove revealing all of it's scents to wander about the kitchen and into your being is so soothing! I also had to compliment the soup with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread. There was a bit of a hunt involved to find it, which made for an even greater reward/feeling of satisfaction when I got to dip it into the vegetable soup I made. So yummy and seemed like the ultimate comfort food. Not to mention, it was also eating clean - nothing processed or difficult to digest in this meal, that lasted for the first five days of my retreat.
Eating right was a priority for me- without meat, dairy, processed foods, corn, soy or sugar. I took a liver detox supplement to add extra attention to my liver. And drinking lots of water with lemon in it, as well.
Each day I vowed to get outside and spend time in nature. Whether it was an actual hike or just a stroll or place to briefly visit. I made this a priority. Other ideas: You could vow to watch the sunset or sunrise each day. To look up at the stars each night. You could walk/hike each day.
I dedicated my mornings or bedtime hour to coloring mandalas.
What this did, was foster creativity for me. Choosing the colors,
getting lost in the colors, appreciating the design and the outcome
of each was a process that I enjoyed. When I was done I felt
relaxed, inspired to work on something or just plain grounded.
I dated each one, so that I could see how my process played out over
the days and it was interesting to see how each one was so
different. Other ideas: Begin a painting or a different type of
artwork that you add to each day. The focus is on creativity and
getting into that flow that opens up our entire being and sense of wellness.
Because there were certain house chores/duties I had been neglecting, I decided to make them a part of my day so that I could feel good about the fact that I took care of them. For example, that bucket of shoes my mother left for me to sell or give away. And those things in the garage cupboard that block the entrance that needed to be sold of given away. Clearing out stuff always makes me feel good. I didn't spend a lot of time on this, just a bit. Because I wanted to stay true to my overall intention of listening to Spirit and increasing that connection. Other ideas: Clean out a section of your closet or your kitchen pantry.
I practiced my Sufi chants and prayers each morning. Other Ideas: Any type of mediation or religious study.
And keep moving . . . I mostly did yoga to keep my body happy. I kept my mat out where I could see it. Which helped any spontaneous poses that wanted to come out.
Ceremony. Have at least one. I did a fire ceremony on day one to mark the beginning of this sacred time. Other Ideas; fire in your fire pit, several lit candles, a bath (water can be scented and oiled), a dance, a circle (calling in the directions), a special mediation.
And Music. Music is so healing for me. I tuned into a certain station on Pandora and magically the songs played were in synch with how I was feeling at the time.
Lastly, journaling. I journaled each evening to sum up the day and give gratitude. In the beginning days, I documented what was happening throughout the day.
I might have left something out, but those are all the key ingredients to creating a silent retreat at home that can be personal/customized just for you.
By the time I was done, I felt peaceful inside. I wanted to stay longer. Go deeper.
And I had a renewed awareness of my connection with Spirit that previously, I felt I had lost touch with to some degree.
I felt centered, strong, calm, balanced, and clean of all previous toxins I had been ingesting.
Ask away if you are curious or would like the details of my food menu, music choices, or what have you.
LOVE yourself up!
Best intentions for your own beautiful retreat!