I just returned from a silent, contemplative retreat led by Dr. James Finley and hosted by the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, California. I actually signed up for it, didn't change my mind about it, didn't cancel it, and didn't get sick. I was present for it, mind, body and spirit, and have returned restored and refreshed in all the parts of me mentioned above. I highly recommend both the center and the speaker.
I also bought more books, right after telling myself that I would stop buying books and just check them out from the library. Now the stacks are growing around me like mushrooms: books from the library as well as new books, perhaps forty at this point, that I want to read, but don't have time to.
Assisi two years ago.
At the retreat we, the retreatants, were silent from after dinner on Friday until lunch today. Silent when we walked around, silent at meals, silent in our rooms. All around us was silent as well. I thought I would have slept even more than I do at home, but instead I found myself awake before dawn and going for walks as soon as it was light out. Heavenly.
Now all I want to do is go live as a part-time hermit with my dogs, reading all my books (hey, maybe that's why I'm hoarding books), meditating, staring into space, going for walks, and coming down from the mountain only occasionally to meet with a few choice friends. And to shop at Ross.
I've got the books; all I need is the mountain.