Retreat From Life

Okay, so you’re probably thinking that this title seems a little negative for a blog post, right? Not so. In fact, it’s about one of the most positive experiences I’ve had in a long time.

A few weeks ago, I had the fantastic experience of visiting Creative Explorations. It’s a place in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where individuals (or 2 – 3 friends) can go and stay to be away from their regular lives. The owner, Jenny Horner, offers both facilitated and self-guided retreats. I chose the facilitated retreat package, because there was still plenty of time for me to be independent and alone in addition to enjoying the facilitation piece. The benefits to my health were numerous, and I could truly feel that so much weight had disappeared from my shoulders upon my return home. While at this retreat, I was able to have my first full night of sleep in weeks. I had the space to listen to my own thoughts, instead of the noise that tends to surround me, and so many of you, in everyday life. I had an opportunity to think about who I was and what I enjoy doing, without interruption.

Then I begin to think about what a great opportunity this would be for anyone to experience. We all need a break from life sometimes. And if you can’t take the time or expense to travel somewhere far outside your own home to do it, there are still ways to make this happen. Here are some ideas:

1. Find a place you can go to be alone, even if it’s only for a day. Overnight is best, in my opinion, but do what you can. If there’s an inexpensive Bed and Breakfast or hotel nearby, go online for a last-minute deal and reserve it for a discounted price. Airbnb.com is a great resource for finding such a place. Or, if you ask around, perhaps a neighbor, friend, or family member is traveling for business or pleasure, and would be happy to have you stay at their place for free in return for checking on things, watering plants, or feeding pets.

2. Upon your arrival, promptly do nothing. This is probably the hardest part for some people. At my retreat, there was no TV. No phone. Only a music player that could be used to listen to relaxing or positive music, a selection of which was provided. There were uplifting and inspirational magazines and books to read if one so chose. I chose to turn off my cell phone for the duration of my stay, and did not bring a computer or tablet with me. It. Was. Awesome. And yes, in case you were wondering, my family survived, and nothing fell apart while I was incommunicado for 48 hours.

3. When you’re taking a break from doing nothing, choose an activity that you really enjoy doing and never make time to do. For me, it was the little things. A bath while listening to relaxing music. Meditating. Reading. Drinking tea. Walking around the neighborhood. Writing. These are the things I chose, but you should choose ones that YOU really enjoy. I know that we all have our lists of things that we love and that rejuvenate us, but that we always put off because something, or someone, else gets that spot. Work. Friends. Family. Kids. We always seem to find the time for those. Take this time to do something for YOU.

I could go on and on with suggestions, as well as revelations that I experienced from my time alone and away from the day-to-day. But I think you get the idea. Besides, I’d rather you just go and experience your own! So what are you waiting for? Schedule it TODAY.

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