Good Morning lovely people,
At least it is the morning on my side of the world! 🙂 It is a beautiful bank holiday Monday, which means I can have a relaxed start to the day, a welcome novelty from the usual ‘Manic Monday morning rush’!
Recently I decided to try something that I hadn’t done before. I realised that if I wanted to really pursue my dreams, then I would have to make a thoughtful and concerted effort to make time to do so.
Like many people, I work full time, and although I enjoy my job and make time in the evenings to relax and be creative, over time stress and the issues of other people can build up and creativity becomes a leisure activity that we indulge in ‘when we have the time’, and therefore that deep focussed immersion of ourselves into a creative ‘headspace’ as it were doesn’t truly happen amid the interruptions and myriad voices and commitments vying and calling for our attention.
So, I did it. I took a few days off work and rather than go on holiday (or ‘vacation’), I decided to create my very own ‘Staycation’ and creative retreat at home.
I can write more about the process of this and what it looked like and how it took shape and what I did, if there is interest. However, initially I had set aside the time for the purpose of a creative ‘Writing Retreat’.
Writing is a passion of mine, and I am working on a couple of novels – my first. One of which I have been working on for a good few years now, and is dear to my heart, and is an expression of my life and faith journey in an allegorical form – if you like adventure, interesting characters, deep thinking, and profound expression of life’s deepest experiences, then this is a tale that I am perhaps telling for you, as well as for myself 🙂
My second work is more lighthearted, but I’ll save that for another post.
What I found happening, for this particular time set aside at least, was that the scope of the purpose of my creative retreat both broadened and deepened.
It became a time for me to be still, to commune with God, my Creator (I am a person of faith), and to hear my own thoughts.
The solitude and freedom from the usual demands of a ‘9-5’ routine gave me a beautiful opportunity to slow down, to take time, to walk at nature’s own pace, and to dwell deeply in a creative space.
The focus was not so much on ‘producing’, but on being. Even if the creative endeavour was the feeling or thought itself and the expression of the heart in just one line, that in itself was profound – a deepening connection, and a being present and unhurried.
I found a joy in the simplicity of taking time to be, to pray, to find droplets of healing and understanding through this time. I enjoyed unhurried walks by the riverside, knowing that I did not have to ‘clock watch’ or fit myself into the boxes of the world’s schedules – at least, not for this set aside time.
I wrote, I cooked, I sang, I took photographs, I drew and coloured, and enjoyed the time, in a childlike way, simply to be. I also limited my time and engagement with technology, and I found that this was a balm and a barrier against the modern syndrome that is ‘FOMO’ (the Fear Of Missing Out), and at last I could hear myself think, and that was enough in itself.
I feel that it is an important thing to take time to listen and to be, if and when we get the chance. We live in such a fast paced and hurried world that we are often drained of the vitality to be our best selves and to truly enjoy the gift of the life we’ve been given.
Going back to work I did feel refreshed, but just as soon as I got back, I was immersed in the noise of other people’s ‘stuff’, for want of a better word. And yet, I believe that taking time to take care of ourselves helps us ultimately to be more patient and kind and compassionate to other people.
I wandered through and out of my retreat with the thread of thought that on ‘re-entry’ into the world 😉 I would continue to make small and consistent life changes to ensure that although I generally do not have vast amounts of time to take to ‘retreat’ from the daily busy-ness of the world, I can make my daily life calmer, more peaceful, more creative and meaningful.
It is definitely a step worth taking.