Coming back from retreat is always a bit like being hit with a sprinkler without forewarning. You never know what you might walk back into. You have taken a few or maybe many days away from regular life, you have made space for quiet, contemplative work, and nourishment in the community and presence of others. Usually, retreat takes place in a beautiful locale, complete with hikes, yoga, vegetarian food, and time to nap, read, and journal. Then, you pull into the driveway and life feels like a jack-in-the-box toy; out pops to do lists, a garden to tend to, dishes to put away, laundry to fold, bills to pay, mail to open, work to prep for, dinner to cook...the list goes on and on.
I remember when I came home from my first retreat and felt totally pushed into the fast paced lifestyle again, immediately losing all the lessons and insights I brought back. It was as though I had put together a 1000 piece puzzle and boom! It was dropped on the floor and pieces were everywhere.
Now, I employ a few strategies that keep me sane; no commitments the night I get back, The Man and I always go out to dinner and ice cream (there is never ice cream on retreats, so it's a huge craving when I get back), and unpacking and enjoying downtime and connection. Sometimes, we embark on a little errand outing, but I am sensitive to my adjustment time.
The lessons I have on re-entry are not only applicable when I get back from retreat. They are applicable lessons that I want to employ all the time; being gentle with myself, clear about my needs and expectations, and practicing self-care.
It is unrealistic to think that life can be lived in total isolation. The magic is in this life, in the here and now. It's the intricate balance of all the work, of all the practices, of all the teachings. Bringing it back to this life, the here and now life, is the ticket.