On the last weekend of September, I went on a solo retreat. I packed a small bag and drove to Pigeon Lake which is approximately 45 minutes south of Edmonton. I had been looking forward to this time for weeks. I was so excited, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. What was really interesting was observing the responses I would get when I told people what I was doing. The first question was, “Who are you going with?” When I responded, “I am going by myself” there was a look of puzzlement on their faces. The next question was “What are you going to do?”. My answer was “I really don’t know”. Again, confusion masked their faces. I then explained further, “I am so looking forward to having time to myself where no one needs anything from me and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to. I don’t have a plan. I’m just going to go with whatever I feel like in the moment.” The response was then “Oh, I get it now.” and I knew that they did get it as I saw them mulling it over in their minds what that would be like for them.
The realization that I had was that too few of us give ourselves alone time to relax and recharge. Everyone needs it, especially parents of young children who have very little time on their own. I will give myself kudos for taking time for myself but it is interesting that it only happened as a result of me becoming depleted. My husband was away for 3 weeks in Peru in August so I was single parenting as well as working with my clients. When he returned, September was so busy with the start of pre-school and having 5 birthdays on my husband’s side of the family. I could tell I was getting burned out because I become a little apathetic about things in that state. I don’t have a lot left to give and I stop caring as much. Deciding to take time to recharge made such a difference. I came home rested, a better mom, wife, coach and friend. Everyone benefitted from me recharging. I have more patience, more energy to do things and I am able to be more present. But why do I wait until I become depleted? Why not take a weekend away by myself more often? Some might say that I am being selfish and how can I leave my kids like that? I can understand people having that point of view but I feel that becoming more burned out, more impatient and snappy with my family, less grounded and less present is actually more selfish as everyone suffers.
Another realization I had was something I talk to my clients about all the time but actually experienced it myself on this weekend away. When we slow down and become quiet, we can actually hear our inner wisdom/intution much more. We are able to be in a state of creation instead of habitually doing. I had absolutely no intention of doing any work that weekend. It was for rest and rejuvenation. I took a trail walk on Sunday morning by myself. While I was enjoying the quiet and the fresh air, I had thoughts flood my mind with the content for an upcoming presentation I am giving in November. I got really revved up and when I returned to my room, I wrote everything down so I wouldn’t forget. It didn’t even seem like work because I was so excited and inspired. It’s an example of how when we relax, ideas will come to us rather than sitting down and trying to force inspiration to happen.
My conclusion from the weekend – absolutely worth it and will do it again! Just being feels so good and is a necessary part of my life. It balances the doing aspect and allows the doing to be more fulfilling and successful. Just be! Try it sometime and see how it impacts your life.