To kick off the start of a very busy month and even busier season of school, work and travel, I took myself on a personal retreat. I drove to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California for a day of retreat, meditation, reading, writing, silence, and solitude. As an artist, spiritual individual, Enneagram 4(w5), INFJ, and whatever other indicators that I'm an extreme introvert, I felt taking a vow of silence for a day at a monastery would be a great way to recharge.
Mission San Luis Rey is a 35 acre Spanish, Franciscan mission located in the northern most part of San Diego County. Founded in 1798 by Padre Fermín Lasuén, this working mission currently hosts the Franciscan School of Theology, a retreat center, a Catholic church, a chapel and beautiful grounds. I started my day by checking in to the retreat center. I was given a private room and access to the private side of the mission. As a regular visitor, the museum, gift shop and church are available to explore. For those on retreat, you have access to the main visitor areas as well as the gardens, labyrinth, classrooms, chapel, cemetery, library, conference rooms, lounge and dining room. After I settled into my room I set out, camera in hand, to explore the grounds. Being a week day, I was the only person on retreat. There were a few people at the church to celebrate All Saints Day, but beyond that and a few monks, I essentially had the grounds to myself. As I mentioned one of the things I decided to do was take a vow of silence. This is encouraged by the retreat staff and the idea of not talking to anyone for an entire day was an absolute dream. No phone, no computer, no talking, just silence. As I carried thru my day alternating between writing and reading in my room and walking, thinking, taking photographs, meditating, and being served a delicious vegetarian lunch, I left feeling recharged and centered. Below is a glimpse into my quiet day, a practice I'm sure to repeat.
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