A couple of weeks ago, I found myself on a Friday afternoon trudging home with no plans for the evening or the next day. On the brink of feeling sorry for myself that I hadn't called a friend to make plans, an idea struck me. What if I went on retreat, right now?
Earlier that day, I'd been bemoaning the fact that I hadn't devoted enough time to my latest manuscript. And here was an uninterrupted 24 hours, that could easily be frittered away.
My mood picked up immediately. No longer was I schlepping home. I was on my way to my retreat. I cleared off the dining room table, because who takes a retreat at a desk? I turned off my phone and shut my email program. Tight.
Everything I did, was done in the attitude of "being on retreat." When I walked the dog, I noticed my breath and the color of the maple leaves dusting my path. When I ate, I was on retreat. When I drank tea, I was on retreat. In that 24 hours, I burned through the next few chapters of my manuscript. The exhaustion I had felt coming home had melted into energy for my art.
By the time my husband walked through the door the next day, I was happy to have company and to close the imaginary doors on my retreat. For now.
What are the ways you can take a retreat right now? For my next retreat, I won't wait until nobody's home, I will go to a cafe outside my neighborhood, so I won't run into anyone I know. And I will make art, uninterrupted.
What will you do?
A Cool Retreat, by John William Godward, 1910, oil on canvas, Private Collection.