Ok. I know that I said that I’m posting on Wednesdays and today is Thursday, buuuuut I posted the introduction to my 6 week find your true self online retreat yesterday. And I had intended to start with the 1st actual post of the retreat yesterday, but that didn’t happen. So, you get 2 this week. From now on, however, it’ll be only one post on Wednesday through the end of March. That’s my retreat post schedule.
So, here’s week 1 of the retreat! Are you ready?
Today is the first of 6 posts that I hope will help you reconnect with your soul + rediscover your passion in life. It’s not the answers to solving all of life’s problems, but instead, this retreat is meant to be dedicated time + space for you to pause in your regular life in order to create the space to continue your journey of becoming who you are.
Because, isn’t that what it’s all about? Life, I mean. In my opinion, life is a spiritual journey (not religious – unless you choose that) of becoming our true selves. Of living boldly, bravely, unapologetically, wildly, bad-assly as who we are meant to be. It’s not done in a year, or in a 6 week retreat, or in a few years. It is life. It is the way. It is the journey. All of it.
And the This Is Me retreat is meant to kick start your own spiritual (or soul, or whatever you want to call it) jouney, if you’ve never considered these kinds of things before. It’s also meant to be a committed time, set apart, for those of you who have been consciously journeying towards becoming your true self for years.
What I mean is, this time is for you. No matter where you are on your journey. Just know that your journey has led you right here. To this moment, reading this email, for a purpose. It wasn’t preordained, or decided beforehand, but your soul guided you right here. Trust that. And let this letter, and these 6 Wednesdays set apart for this, be for you whatever they may be.
The word retreat comes from the Latin word retrahere, which means to pull back. And, whether we are talking military retreats, as in pulling back from the enemy; or spiritual retreats, where one pulls back from society, the idea is the same. It is to step away. To be set apart. To consciously choose to pull back.
We hear the word retreat all of the time. People go on weekend retreats, church retreats, yoga retreats, work retreats, even. And, while the places + details vary, the purpose is the same: to leave behind regular, ordinary life in order to focus. What one focuses on depends, of course, on the retreat.
For you and me, the This Is Me retreat doesn’t require (or offer) an opportunity to physically go anywhere. We don’t have to pack up for the weekend and head out somewhere else. However, that would be super freaking nice, don’t you think? (Would you be interested in that?! Me offering actual day or weekend retreats?!).
Anyway, back to what I was saying. This retreat doesn’t involve a trip, but it still is about pulling back. It still is meant to be a time to step away, slow down, and focus. And, retreating with an email (just like a good book) and your own thoughts can be just as effective as a weekend away. In fact, in many ways, it may be more effective, because it is bringing the idea of retreat into your daily life. And that, my dear wild soul, is worth everything. Making all of our life magical + meaningful – not just the exotic, amazing, weekend or weeks away.
Now, just so you know, I believe that retreats are NECESSARY in life. Like. For real. They are a must. And, given the fact that we don’t actually have to go anywhere in order to have a retreat makes it pretty easy to squeeze them into daily living.
Why are retreats a must?!
Well, simply put, we must step away. We must get quiet. It’s like vacation. We need that, right? In order to rest and recharge and reconnect. Well, a retreat is an inner journey. A vacation for our soul. Retreats are the way to our soul. The way to discover who we are so that we know how we want to live.
What happens during a retreat?
Not much. We listen. We ponder. We sit. We write. We mediate or pray. We listen more. We observe. We connect. We reflect. We get perspective. We understand. We dream. We fight. But the main thing is that we step away. And we get quiet. So we can begin to connect with who we really are.
But, who are we really? And how do we know who we really are?
Ok, there are some things that are universal, I believe: We are created in the image of love. We all carry a spark of the divine, of the cosmos, within us. We are meant to live in harmony with each other + with nature.
And, then there are all of the millions of unique, personal, amazing things that make us individuals with our own passions + purposes.
But, first we are connected. We are united. We are all the same family. All of us. Because of those universal truths about humans. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. The potential for good is within us all. We are meant for that. And the spark of the divine, the energy of love, is what unites us + makes us equally worthy no matter religion, gender, age, nation, or any other human-made category of us and them.
But, to really know these things that I call truths, and to really tap into the universal soul + also to our individual bad ass-ness, we have to step away. We have to get quiet. We have to slow down, settle down, and tune in. We have to humble ourselves + be willing to reflect. To accept all of the not-so-great things about ourselves, and how we can evolve. But, to also accept all of the awesome shit that makes us who we are (a much harder task, right?).
So that’s what we’re doing this week. Getting quiet. How and where you do that is up to you. But, I absolutely encourage you to find some quiet time every single day over the next 7 days. And, it just may be worth it to write during that time. To think + scribble + put down on paper (or in your computer) your stream of conscious thoughts.
Here are a few simple suggestions that I have to help you create that space this week to just be:
1. Create a sacred retreat space. Identify a certain space in your home or outside that you will return you every single day for the next 7 days. It can be your bed, a favorite chair, the floor, a little alter that you create, the kitchen table, under a tree outside. Anywhere that can be your sacred retreat space for the next 7 days.
2. Add a candle to your retreat space. Light it every time you step away from the world + into your little retreat mode. It marks a special moment. It lets you + your soul know that this is an intentional time to focus, a sacred moment meant for sacred things.
3. Choose a time of day that works for you. The obvious choice is morning or night. First thing or last thing. Choose whichever you feel works with you. Personally, I could never ever choose nighttime. I am a sleepy mess at night, unable to focus + even stay awake. I prefer way early in the morning. Pre-dawn even. However, it could be fun to change it up and challenge yourself. What if I did choose to focus on the night, to make it a special challenge that helped me to focus even more? You know what’s best for you. Choose intentionally + then show up at the same time every damn day for the next 7 days.
4. Set an alarm. Ok. Maybe not literally. Or, maybe literally. But know, in advance, how much time you want to spend with yourself. Make it longer than 10, but try to make it at least 15. The perfect time may be around 30 minutes, I think. It takes a while to ground down + settle into your soul. Plus, if you really get into writing or thinking or meditating, you don’t wand to have to stop just as you begin to sink into your soul. Right? Think of it like a massage. It takes time to really relax. Time should move slowly and effortlessly. It should be calm and magical and freeing.
5. Silence or music? I don’t know what is best to be honest with you. Right now, I’m in a phase in which I love to have some yoga music in the background. Quiet, repetitive, calming. Other times I love the silence of it all. And, then there are times I want to hear some music with words that speak to my soul. You choose what you want. And it could be different from day to day. Just make sure that it is something that adds to your time alone, that enhances your mini-retreat.
6. Write that shit down. In order to get to know ourselves, we have to interact with ourselves. And, for me, that means observing + recording my thoughts and ideas. So, writing during this time is something I highly recommend. Especially since we are on a 6 week journey, it would be good to document our thoughts and feelings all along the way. Then, we can look back, reflect, see how we’ve changed + grown. Note whatever patterns or issues or revelations might come up. I definitely encourage + challenge you to get a little journal, or create one on your computer, and spend your retreat getting to know your unique self.
This is the heart of it all. Of why I am insisting on the importance of retreats: It is only when we know who we are that we can begin to create the life that we want to live + become the person we are meant to be. Only by starting off by dedicating some time to ourselves, will we start to uncover even more of our connectedness with the world, our individual gifts, our dreams, and the call that has been placed on our life.
We have to know who we are before we know where to go, how to live, what to be, and why we are here. It’s that simple.
So, here we go. The first 7 days of the journey. And the only task we have is to carve out some time to spend alone with ourselves. It may be tough, you think, to find the time. But, make it happen. It may be hard, you think, to face yourself and all of your warts. Do it anyway. It may be impossible, you think, to discover amazing bad ass things about yourself. Search deep. I promise they are there. It may feel like bliss + hell all at the same time, you think. Feel all the confused feels anyway.
Create a sacred retreat space that feels safe. Write down everything. Keep your appointment with yourself. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. And stay open + committed.
On the other side, you will know so much more about yourself. And you will discover all of the beauty + amazingness that makes you who you already are.
And, my friend, should you feel lost in the wilderness this next week, do not be too proud or too afraid to reach out. Email me your thoughts, questions, fears, confusions. I am one simple “send” click away. You can also find me on Instagram. And, if you would like to Skype so we can have an in real time conversation, just let me know.
Until next Wednesday, happy retreat days, lovely you. Bask in the silence, solitude, and beauty of your own soul.
Enjoyed this little letter? Please, feel free to share it someone else. Let your friends know about this journey. Anyone can hop in anytime.