Thursday, January 14, 2016

“Sometimes, you just need a break. In a beautiful place. Alone. To figure everything out.”

The first time I saw that quote was somewhere on Pinterest December 2013, during one of the most tumultuous moments I had ever experienced.  I had a lot of things I needed to work through.  I decided to book myself on a 10-day vacation to Wymyss Bight, Eluthera, Bahamas.  My former classmate Dani grew up on the Island and assured me the need to be free, creative and reflective could be found in Eluthera.   Slapping the monies down on my debit card was exactly what I needed during an uncertain chapter of my life, to retreat, to pull back, to: figure everything out.

Today, I’m ardent about honoring this ebb and flow. I have been blessed with wonderful friends in my life, a daughter who is wise beyond her years and a supportive boyfriend.  Lately it’s been my full intention to pray and meditate daily, tune into my own cycles for creativity and self-care, on my job AND in my life. Sometimes, this has meant re-evaluating goals and searching for ways to make what I NEED to happen.  Sometimes, this means pulling back, creating space, taking a break and retreating.

In fact, I’m actually giving myself the gift of space and time by taking the entire month of February off from the Internet to focus on two up upcoming certifications; American Society for Quality certification Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence examination March 2016 and The National Association for Healthcare Quality certification Professional in Healthcare Quality May 2016.  I haven’t really shut down my use of the internet since going to graduate school for my MBA and STRUGGLING through accounting and that Finance beast.  It definitely will feel a bit boring during the first few days to take a whole month away from the World Wide Web, but I know that I need a break in order to devote to bringing new possibilities and new creation to life. So much education in a web of what often times seems like ZERO "real" opportunities.  What I do know is to keep growing...Nothing ventured is NOTHING gained.  I am forever learning.  

But let’s be honest here: Most of us make this pledge to ourselves to take a full month off from the internet but seldom do we find success.  We get roped into social media.  I will add a disclaimer, I will have to log into the computer to take the simulated test from the test bank.  I will refrain from social medial and blogging.  Maybe I can then report back what that month was REALLY like. 
If only my preparation could encompass taking an entire paid month from work. At this time in my life I do not have the finances, luxury and opportunity to choose to ‘take off’ for weeks at a time, to pray and meditate to my heart’s content. 

For this I have decided to share a few tips on how to create your own mini retreat at home. For my retreat I will focus on my upcoming certification and less social media.  I am guilty I need to retreat more often.  In 2016 I will try to do this regularly – whether it’s a creative retreat (I love to draw/paint and work out (when I actually get up and moving)), a cleansing retreat or for just pure relaxation and restoration.

A quick note: For my retreat at home, I researched so many different sites and committed the ideas to my journal.  I will apologize early as I did not write down the site, I captured the ideas and paraphrased them within my journal. 

For Your Retreat at Home:

1.        Decide on your dates!

Take a look at your schedule NOW and pick a couple of days (or more) to devote to your retreat. I tend to do most of my retreating on Friday night to Saturday evening, because during the weekdays my house is much busier. The weekend may work better for you.  For my certification study schedule I will rise early and focus for an hour before bed.
2.        Then, block out the days you’ve chosen on your calendar and ensure you don’t have any appointments scheduled or potential commitments in that sacred time.

3.        Decide on the ‘vibe’ of your retreat.

Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after your retreat? Will this be a creative, ingenious retreat or simply cultivating and calming? What is a MUST on your retreat? What would you love to NOT DO on your retreat? What will you eat and drink? Will you be alone? With friends? Where would you love to go/not go?

Pinterest is the best online Magazine where I hoard all of my dreams!  It is sort of like my unconventional vision board.  With such a thought I would like to suggest creating a Pinterest board/mood board with magazine clippings that represent the essence of the experience you’ll be creating for yourself. This helps to affirm it and gives life to your vision.

4.       Plan ahead.

You will need to save some money or devote some of your savings/wage to this experience? Carve out some time to do some solid planning now and you’ll have a much more enjoyable and relaxing retreat.

Home Retreat Part II

1.       What will you need?

Books to read or watercolors to play with or new notepads to write on? How about some soy candles, body scrubs or essential oils?

2.       When the retreat comes around…

Turn off all technology if you can. Don’t be afraid of a social media detox.
This is your retreat and there are no rules, besides the ones you create for yourself. Do consider my suggestion for social media though – this time is about YOU – we’re not interested in what your pals on Facebook are doing.
For me it is all about preparing for the final month I have left for my CQM/OE exam. 

3.        And then: Enjoy yourself. 

Light a candle to signify the beginning of your retreat. Have a long bath. Brew a pot of tea. Whatever you need, just do it. This is your judgement-free zone.
See I have this inner critic.  I know during this time of preparing and revitalization there’s  a big chance that my inner critic might try to pop up with a heap of reasons why I/you shouldn’t be gifting yourself this experience.  Think to your future, you are 100% worthy of this space. We are not built to just fester and have no met dreams.  Plus, I believe that this time is going to help shed whatever is holding you back from being the best you/partner/friend/Mother/sister/coworker/human being that you know you can be. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Remember: it’s perfectly OK and normal and natural and wonderful to stop for a moment and say…
I need a break. Alone. In a beautiful place. To figure everything out.

Give yourself that gift.

I can’t wait to hear how things work out for you! Maybe you could share your retreat objective/ambiance/dates….

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