Everyone can benefit from a retreat, but women in particular are in need of a getaway to refresh and refuel from their daily work of giving and sacrifice.
Last week I took myself to a small town in Washington state for a one-night writing retreat as I’m trying to finish my current manuscript before the kids are home for the summer. I booked it weeks ago, hoping for an ocean view room as nothing sparks creativity better than the sight and sound of the waves.
I waited until the kids were both home from school in the mid-afternoon so I could kiss them and hug them and say goodbye in person, then I jumped in my car and drove across the border with a light heart and a blanket sense of joy and peace.
The whole thing felt RIGHT. I used to plan writing retreats for groups in June at a Bed and Breakfast until the place we went to was sold and I didn’t muster up enough energy to find a new one. A couple of years went by and I didn’t go away on my own to write. Last week I realized just how much I’d missed it.
I popped into a local grocery store and took my time wandering the aisles, choosing food for one person for the next three meals. It was like playing house. Never has grocery shopping been so fun, with only my tastes and preferences to consider.
I checked in around 5 pm, unpacking and heading outside to my tiny deck to soak up my scrap of ocean view. I brought my writing binder outside and got down to work, luxuriating in the sense of being alone and doing my favourite activity on earth in a beautiful location.
We all need to make time and space in our schedules to retreat from our daily lives. This one-night stay felt profound to me, for it signified that I was worth the expense of this short trip. I used to talk myself out of these kinds of luxuries, figuring there was something more worthwhile to spend money on. But now I’m realizing that the freedom and joy I experienced while I was away has no price tag. It’s valuable beyond measure.
If you are a woman who gives to others and doesn’t refill her tank with activities she loves, consider this a gentle nudge to take yourself on a retreat. Even if it’s a solitary walk for an hour, build a sense of retreat into your life. Your spouse and your kids will thank you as you will be returning to them as your very best self, refreshed and ready for what comes next.
My one-night retreat was a week ago and I still feel utterly calm and balanced as a result of taking some time out just for me. I got a lot of work done, I consumed delicious food and drink, I slept in, I walked along the water’s edge, I soaked up the silence and I poured my heart out onto the page. And when I returned home I was changed for the better because I valued myself enough to go away on a retreat that was custom designed for me.
Where are you going on retreat and how will you fill your soul while you are away?