Preparing for Plum Village to Enter Your Home
How wonderful that you will join us for this online international family retreat! This will be an adventure for all of us. And since it will be a retreat from home, you will not need any time to arrange for your family's travel, pack your suitcase, or spend a day (or more) on a train/ bus/ car/ plane… that’s so eco-friendly, too!
But how can you create the energy of a family retreat at home?
Here are some tips from the organizing team for you to pick and choose from.
Take some time to plan your family's meals ahead of time for the week of the retreat. We recommend you choose simple, yet delicious dishes that require a minimum amount of time and effort to prepare. Make sure you buy all your groceries before the retreat starts, so you don't have to go out and get anything while on retreat. We have a Meal Planner schedule (pdf) that you can download below. If you're really adventurous and have the means, you may like to rent a cabin in a beautiful natural environment and create your own rural retreat.
Do Not Disturb
We highly recommend that you put your devices on silent/do not disturb mode, as if you were truly away on a retreat. You may like to create some reminders around the house so that everyone remembers that we are practicing mindfulness together.
Please also take the time to sit with your family to listen to everyone's ideas on how you all together could create a retreat at home. Sit with them and explore ways that everyone can support each other.
Also Very Nice:
Prepare essential clothes so that they can be easily available during your retreat.
Make your sitting meditation extra comfortable by preparing cushions and blankets beforehand.
Still doesn't feel like a retreat space?
Your Practice Space
Create a place that nourishes you. Using candles, inspiring images, a beautiful card or calligraphy, flowers and incense can be supportive for creating a retreat atmosphere at home. The Plum Village monastics enjoy creating this atmosphere before new friends arrive for the next retreat. Just imagine decorating your own personal (small scale) meditation hall or breathing room.
Having beautiful practice spaces can support everyone in the family immensely during your retreat at home.
It can be a room in your apartment or a corner in your room, or even a place outside (where you have good internet connection). Choose a place that feels harmonious to you all and fits with your current living situation. Maybe you could choose a place near a window, so you can turn your gaze away from the screen and look outside from time to time. We'll all be encouraging each other to take regular breaks from the screen.
Arrange your space to create a quality of being that supports you in your practice. In general, it helps if this place allows for calmness to arise and any disorderliness in the room to be out of your visual field. This may or may not involve cleaning your space and removing or covering in creative ways everything that might distract you.
If you already have such a space, you can refresh it, remove dust and rearrange it. Remove everything that is no longer relevant for your practice. Be creative, and follow your intuition.
Practicing with Screen Time
We are aware that many of us have had quite a lot of screen time lately. We invite you to be aware of your body and your eyes during the retreat and to check in with yourself regularly. During some sessions, you can easily close your eyes or not look at the screen, e.g. sitting, walking, total relaxation. Also during a talk you can close your eyes or look out of your window from time to time while still listening and being present.
- You may also like to prepare a journal and pen or pencil. Children can have paints, crayons and other materials for doing art in the children's activities.
- Preparing a favorite tea or drink for the whole family to enjoy during your retreat.
- If you like, you can also let loved ones or friends outside of your family that you will not be available via email, WhatsApp etc., because you are on a retreat (except, if there is an emergency, they can of course call you.)
Of course there are also the technical requirements that make this retreat possible:
- Stable WiFi or mobile internet
- Advisable:Bookmark this online retreat platform so you don't have to look at your e-mail inbox to access the retreat.
Suggested book for inspiration: Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice