I believe in the power of the retreat – of taking time away from your usual space, time, routine and life. I believe in it because I have seen it work wonders in my life and the lives of others. A simple weekend away from home, when taken deliberately and intentionally, can refresh and revitalize even the weariest soul. I wonder if the duration of a retreat’s efficacy is directly proportional to the time one spends in retreat? Hmm.

So, what is it that leads me to wax poetical about the power of retreat? Well, tomorrow I am leaving for a camping trip on Galiano island for 5 days. I plan on unplugging completely: no computer, no technology, just me, a close friend, some good food, and maybe a book or two. My hope is that this retreat will actually help bring me back into a good work-life balance space, and give me some new energy.

So consider this fair warning: I’ll be missing from the online world for a few days, and so don’t expect amazing turn-around time on responses from Shannon.

hello 16-year-old Shannon, everything is going to be alright…

If I could talk to my 16 year old self I would tell her to slow down, relax, and enjoy life more. I would also tell her "Don't worry, everything is going to be alright!"

I remember reading back in the journal I kept at 16 when I was writing my "spiritual autobiography" a few years back in theology school. First, you should know that when I re-read the journal for the project, my life was incredibly busy with school, work and church, and I barely had a moment to pause and reflect or relax. So when I came across the part in my journal from age 16 where I was complaining about being at Osoyoos lake with nothing to do except sit on the beach and read books, I wanted desperately to go back and tell 16-year-old Shannon to stop complaining and just enjoy herself!! I would love to have even a week of no priorities, no responsibilities, just some books and a beach.

I also know that when I was 16 I was eager for the world to change and eager to challenge things, ideas and people I disagreed with. I also could be rather melancholy, anxious to find romance, grow up, and get on with my life. That's why I'd tell myself to slow down and relax.

I think for most teenagers the world is a dramatic and constantly shifting place, where uncertainty is all around. Wouldn't it be great if we could all go back and look our 16-year-old self in the eye and say something like "Don't worry, everything is going to turn out alright, look at me, you're going to be fine."

Maybe we should all make an effort, then, to actually tell the 16 year olds we meet that everything is going to be ok and to just relax and enjoy life.

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