Creating a Retreat Environment at Home
Here are a few guidelines for creating a sacred retreat space for when we are on retreat together, that will support us all while participating remotely by Zoom.
Find a quiet and private space to participate in the retreat. Arrange your computer so you can see and hear well. If you like, you can arrange a small altar near you with a candle, flowers, a cloth and objects that help you connect with your inner depth. Keeping a small candle burning throughout the day helps to remind us we are practicing on retreat.
We realize creating space will be different for everyone, so do the best you can in your personal situation.
Entering the Sanctuary together. We want to create a space that feels like we are in person with each other as much as possible. Even though we are not in person, arriving on time is still important. Arrive 5-10 minutes before the start time, and begin to sit quietly. Logging in early for each meeting may help with being on time. Consider your computer or device as a necessary part of the sanctuary. It is your portal to the retreat space.
Familiarise yourself with Zoom. Registering for a free Zoom account is optional, but ensure zoom is downloaded and test your zoom link ahead of time. If you can, ensure that you can hear and see on a zoom call, and that you can be seen and heard. Try using a headset if you have difficulty hearing or being heard. Familiarise yourself with the Zoom controls, including:
- Start/stop your video camera at the bottom of the Zoom screen
- Mute/unmute your microphone – and please keep your microphone muted until the exercise or you are called in on the questions and commentsAt the top right of the Zoom screen, the icons that let you switch between gallery view and speaker view
Being present and attentive during the meetings. We want to hold the space together and being present and attentive is crucial to creating a field of presence. Your complete attention to yourself, to your presence, and to the retreat space, will help to create the right environment for us all.
Limit distractions. Be mindful of the temptation to pull yourself away from the meetings. Because you are home there could be many things that distract you. Do what you can to limit distractions, i.e. turn off phones, don’t check e-mails, try to keep children and pets in the other room. Remember we are all online and our videos are on, and everyone else could be distracted by the goings on in your immediate space. During interruptions, if you need to turn your video off for a brief period of time, that’s fine. However on the whole, we do want you to be visually present, as this creates more of an in-person feel to our retreat experience. Please do not just leave your video off.
Creating a time for community sharing. There will be time to open the space up and share. This will happen during the comments and questions, after the exercises, as well as during the community meeting. You may also want to arrange informal social time with other students to catch up or get to know one another.