"The experience of retreat was an invitation to wholeness. It was easy in the seclusion of the retreat setting to become more aware of what helps to make us whole. When we go home, it can feel as though any trace of that wholeness has fragmented again, leaving us struggling to keep all the bits and pieces of our lives together.

"Yet it needn't be so. There are many things that we can explore in our daily lives to draw us back into a wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. If we can build some of these ways into our everyday routines, it will become easier to nourish the awareness and reflectiveness that lead us to the core of our being. Here are a few examples:

"• Take a little time, regularly, to reconnect to the natural world around you. You can do this with a five-minute walk in the yard or a park or along the road to the mailbox. It might happen in a few minutes spent in silence looking at the view beyond the window, watching the sun set, listening to the rain fall, or letting yourself be in awe of the storm or the wind or the gathering clouds. In retreat, this kind of relationship with creation became almost second nature. There is no need to lose touch with it now that you are home.

"• Choose something that helps you to relax and build it into your weekly routine. Maybe you enjoy music. If so, choose a favorite CD and listen to it with your full attention. If you enjoy reading, treat yourself to a book you haven't read and give yourself the gift of some time each week to read it. If your choice is a more active one, schedule some time on a regular basis to enjoy your favorite sport or leisure activity. All these things can help to restore perspective to the daily struggle to survive. They can also be a source of inspiration and a place to discover connections.

"• Be a bit more conscious of the food you eat, just as you were in retreat. Turn off the television set. Linger over your food for a few minutes so that you can make the time to taste before you swallow. Encourage your senses to stay as alive as they were while you were on retreat. Notice the smell and sounds of the world around you.

"• If you kept any notes of your time in retreat, reread them from time to time. Consider keeping up this practice of writing in a journal or diary, or of expressing in drawings or symbols anything that seems to be coming up in your prayer and reflection. Don't worry if you feel you can't write or draw. These records are for your eyes only. They can become another form of prayer as new connections arise for you in the process, and the act of writing or drawing takes on a life of its own."