Shaman in the Woods

I teach Creative Writing for Self-Discovery to help people discover themselves, but once in awhile, the tables are turned, and they help me discover myself. Last night was one such night. Krista dela Rosa, a participant, coaching client, and friend, gave me a rare gift. She gave me the gift of witnessing. This is what she wrote about me.

Shaman in the Woods

by Krista dela Rosa

Heather is a shaman in the woods.

It’s funny how everyone believes they will be able to find their way through the forest and everyone finds themselves lost before they’re even 100 yards in.

It was no different with me. I entered the forest of self-employment sure I would be able to stay on the path. It couldn’t be that hard to follow, could it? But by the time the curtain of trees closed in on me, I was tripping over roots, circling the same boulder and feeling incredibly panicked about my situation.

I stumbled into her glade pretty tossed around and torn up. Her tent is eclectic, patched together from bits of canvas, leather and fabric left behind from other travellers who have found her before. There’s a small group of people crashed on makeshift cots beside the tent and a few more are gathered around the fire, comfortably quiet and each meditating on their own far-off thoughts.

She smiled, brushed me off and gave me a cup of tea. “I’ve been waiting for you,” she tells me.

“How did you know I was coming?” I wonder.

She shrugs. “I collect wanderers. They seem to find me, anyhow.”

“Do you live here?” I ask.

“For now. Until I move again.”

We sit by the fire. The other people smile at me, but they don’t speak just yet.

“I need to get to the other side of this forest,” I tell her. “Do you know the way?”

“Nope,” she answers.

“But I’m lost. Can’t you help me?”

“Sure, I can help you. But you’re not really lost.”

“I’m not?”

“Of course not! Because wherever you go, well, there you are!”

I find it hard to laugh at her humor.

“But don’t you eventually want to leave the woods? Make it to the other side?” I press.

“I used to, once upon a time. When I first came in here, my goal was to get out as fast as possible. I got lost, like everyone does, but strangely, I felt more and more at home in the woods and less and less inclined to get out. And even though the forest seemed intent on beating me up – I managed to find all the swamps, cliffs, poison ivy and hornets’ nests in here – I felt such a kinship with this place, I had to seriously rethink my ‘end goals’.

“And then I met the deer.”

“The deer?”

She nods, taking a sip of her steaming tea.

“She and I stared at each other for what felt like hours. And then she turned and walked away. I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to go after her. I followed her for days – it might have been weeks, actually, and when I finally lost her, I found myself in a glade much like this one. I decided to stay for a bit – I had nothing better to do – fashioned a tent out of the supplies I had and the things I’d scavenged along the way. Almost immediately, the first wanderer found me.

“We talked a while, laughed, cried, created. I gave her a few of my tools and eventually she found the courage to leave and forge a new path for herself.

“The same thing happened with four or five more people and then the deer came back. I packed up and followed her again and found myself in a new glade. More people found me. We exchanged stories and tools. I had tools they seemed to need and they had tools or other items that I needed, so we would trade and they would move on.”

“And everyone who finds you wants your help?”

She chuckles wryly. “Of course not. Some people tear through, rip things apart, insult and defame me and spit in my tea. Not every wanderer is able to admit that they’re lost.”

“I thought you said I wasn’t really lost,” I challenge.

“You’re not – if by ‘lost’ you mean hopeless, weak, insecure, unable, unsuccessful or any other negative adjective you want to come up with. Lost just is. It has no intrinsic value. It’s simply a state of being in which you are given the opportunity to see yourself and your circumstances more clearly and possibly make new choices.”

The people around the fire nod thoughtfully at that. Perhaps this is what they have each been mulling over. I chew on that thought a bit, cupping my tea cup close and letting the steam waft over my face. Finally I ask, “Is it okay if I stay for a bit?”

She grins. “I’m pretty sure we can find some space for you.”

Over the next few days, I linger, at times crashed on a cot beside the tent, at times thinking quietly by the fire, at times in deep conversation with the other wanderers or Heather herself. Several nights I wake screaming from nightmares, but there always seems to be a hand nearby to touch my shoulder and ground me back into the earth.

Heather lets me rummage through her tent to try see if there’s anything she has that feels right to me – a backpack, an axe, a tinder box, a shawl. She speaks to me in the language of story – and it feels so achingly familiar. It draws me deep into myself and resonates profoundly with the child in me who loved story more than anything else in the world. Ego can’t compete and begins to thrash wildly in what I hope are throes of death.

And then one day I see it – the hawk perched on the lower-most branch of a giant oak at the edge of the glade. I recognize him. He hung around a lot when I was pregnant with my sons. We stare at each other for a while and I know that it’s time to move on from this place.

“I think I have to go,” I tell Heather.

“Of course,” she says. “Did you get what you need?”

“I think so. For now anyway.” I clutch the journal I found in her tent – the one that managed to deconstruct my brain and recall the storyteller in me.

She puts a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t be surprised if you find yourself returning to the centre of the woods again. The path is rarely a straight line. It’s more like a labyrinth – you have to circle back several times to make your way out.”

“Will I find you again?” I ask, suddenly unsure whether I was truly ready to leave this safe haven.

“If you need me, just follow the deer. And there will be others along the way.” She leans in close and gives me a sly smile. “I’m not the only one in here.”

We embrace for a while and I turn towards the hawk on the tree. He’s flapping his wings, anxious to be going. I nod to him – to myself – and take a single step forward. He screeches loudly and takes off, alighting at the top of a tree about 50 yards further into the forest.

I look back at Heather for assurance. She hands me a travel mug full of hot tea and a warm biscuit.

“You’ll be just fine,” she says.

“I’ll bring this back when I find you again,” I tell her, holding up the mug.

She laughs. “You know, that is the one thing that never seems to run out around here.”

I do laugh at that. I have also found travel mugs to have the strange ability to reproduce when you aren’t looking.

I take another step forward. And then another. And then one more and before I know it, the forest has closed around me again, the camp swallowed up in its foliage, and all I can see is the hawk, waiting for me at the top of the tree just ahead.

I have no idea where I am going or what the path will look like or how I may have to forge it, but I’m less afraid now. I marvel a little at how it’s not thirst or hunger or even pain that will cripple a traveler – it’s loneliness. And now that I know that shamen like Heather, and even other wanderers like me, are in these woods, I feel a lot more confident in my ability to stick with this journey.

I fix my eyes on the hawk and carry on.

If you build it, they might not come: How to be resilient in the face of rejection

quote - greatest gloryYou’ve taken a big plunge, stepped into something scary, followed your heart, and made a big sacrifice. Now you desperately want to believe what Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams lead you to believe… “if you build it, they will come.”

But… when you put yourself out there and do that BIG SCARY THING (promote a workshop you’ve been longing to teach, apply for the job you are convinced is right for you, launch a new website, create a work of art, etc., etc.), well…

They don’t come.

Nobody registers for your workshop. The job is offered to someone else. The story you sent to a magazine is rejected. And your mom is the only one who watches your new Youtube video. (Twice, because she didn’t understand it the first time.)

What do you do next? Exactly what every other human being on the planet has done in the face of rejection… You second-guess yourself. Maybe you followed the wrong dream. Maybe you built the wrong “it”. Maybe you’re delusional. Maybe you’re not as talented as your mom thinks you are. Maybe you wasted all of your money on art classes that were useless. Maybe you’re just destined for failure. Maybe you should just be satisfied with a job at MacDonalds because you’ll never amount to anything else.

Let me tell you a little secret that the “success in ten easy steps” motivational speakers might not tell you…

Rejection is part of the journey.

You know all those “overnight success” stories you’ve been reading on the internet that have  convinced you that following your dream should be easy and your path to riches should be smooth? They’re not telling you a story that’s worth paying attention to.

The stories you need to pay attention to are the ones where people poured their blood, sweat, and tears into something, stumbled repeatedly, learned a lot of valuable lessons in the stumbling, got back up and tried again, had a small success, stumbled again, had a bit more success, stumbled some more, and finally got to a place where their herculean effort paid off and there was a little ease. Then, just when things got easy, it was time for them to step into something bigger, and… guess what? They stumbled again.

The most important lesson I’ve learned since I took the big risk to quit my job and follow my dream is this…

A dream won’t get you where you want to go without resilience as its companion.

A dream is only half the story.

Dealing with rejection is not the kind of expertise I was planning to develop when I started this journey, but it happened anyway. For every article I’ve had published, I’ve received half a dozen rejection letters. For every workshop I’ve successfully hosted, I’ve canceled two because of low registration. For every e-course I’ve taught, I’ve dropped at least one that few people showed interest in. For every public speaking gig I’ve gotten, I’ve been turned down for two proposals I submitted.

Is it getting easier? Yes it is. I don’t face nearly as much rejection anymore and people are beginning to seek me out now more and more often. But that didn’t happen until I’d put in my time building relationships, taking chances, and picking myself up after failure.

If you’re not prepared to fail, then you’d better not take a risk. Stay safe. Tuck your dreams away. And live a mediocre life.

If – on the other hand – you can’t live with yourself unless you follow the nudging that’s keeping you awake at night, then get ready to fail, and get ready to pick yourself up off the ground and try again.

Here’s what I’ve learned about how to get through the rejection.

1. First, let yourself feel the sting of it. There’s no point in denying that rejection hurts. Even after years of it, it still stings when it happens. You’re better off letting yourself feel it now than stuffing it down deep and then having it resurface in less healthy ways later on. Grab some tissue, soak in a hot tub, and let yourself cry if you need to.

2. Next, do something that makes you feel good about the world. This is not about avoidance, it’s about finding a healthy way to transform the hurt. I usually go for a walk after the sting of rejection. The combination of nature and body movement helps me work through the hurt to a healthier place.

3. Remind yourself of all the successful people who failed before becoming famous. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times. Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before creating the light bulb. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. For more inspiration, read the website 100 Famous Rejections. You’re in good company!

4. Ask yourself “is there something I could have done differently?” Do this only when you’re feeling better about yourself so that your answer is not about beating yourself up. This is an honest reflection of how you could tweak whatever you’re creating or offering to bring it closer to what people might be looking for. For example, the first couple of times I offered Mandala Discovery, I included conference calls and a more collective learning environment. Only a half dozen people showed up each time. I put it on hold for awhile and contemplated whether to quit offering it, or change it. Once I tweaked it and made it more of a personal journey through 30 prompts, with the option of sharing on a Facebook page, registration jumped considerably and 50-75 people signed up each time I offered it.

5. Remind yourself that you’re being faithful to your calling and the outcome is not your responsibility. This is not a cop-out (because you do need to take responsibility for your effort) but it’s a practice in trust. If you trust that you are meant to be doing this work, then the right people will show up at the right time. It might only be after you’ve invested a few years in building relationships with the right people, but consider all of the valuable groundwork you’re laying while you’re doing this work. It’s not wasted effort.

6. Trust that there are sometimes reasons why you’re not meant to succeed right now. I was once turned down for a job I was sure I’d get and was devastated. A few months later, however, I was offered a much better job that was even more suited for me. A year and a half ago, I put a lot of effort into developing a one-day retreat, and only one person registered. With great disappointment, I canceled it. Then my Mom’s health took a turn for the worse, and on the day I would have been facilitating the workshop, I was planning her funeral. The timing wasn’t right and it was much better that I’d canceled it early rather than having to reach everyone and refund their money in the middle of my huge loss.

7. Try, try again. Dreams can be hard task masters. They won’t leave you alone easily. If you give up, you’ll live with the regret for the rest of your life. Sometimes the right choice is to put a dream on hold and wait for better timing, but at least be faithful in showing up again and again with your best effort. Each time you try, take the lessons from the last failure with you. Each failure adds to your wisdom.

8. Find people to support you. Rejection is much easier to get through if you’re surrounded by people who believe in you no matter what. Look for places where you can connect with other people who are also pursuing their dreams. Create a circle of support. Consider joining a mastermind that will keep you accountable.

If you build it, they might not come. But keep building it anyway. Eventually, they’ll come.

Note: If you’re looking for support as you grow your dream, Pathfinder Circle can offer you that.

I want to stand in the trembling with you

dare to stand in the trembling 2“If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves.”
 Thomas Edison

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about daring to stand in the trembling. I first recognized the trembling a dozen years ago when I taught my first course on creativity and spirituality. Since then, I’ve experienced it many times. It’s the signal my body sends me that I am in my right work, serving my right people. It’s like a divining rod that lets me know that I’m standing above water.

How do you experience the trembling? All over your body, in your heart, in your throat, in your legs?

Sometimes we assume the trembling is only fear or insecurity and we do our best to stay safe and step away from whatever causes it. When we do that, we fall short of our calling and don’t serve the better world our hearts know is possible.

I want to invite you to step into your own trembling and to find the path your trembling is pointing you toward. I want to stand there, in the trembling with you, holding your hand if you need it, reminding you of your courage, and coaxing you to step forward.

I want to invite you into the Pathfinder Circle.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since I first recognized the trembling in my life is this… It’s much easier to find the courage to stay in it when you are in community with supportive, like-minded people.

Pathfinder Circle is such a place. It’s an intimate circle that will meet for 8 intense and intentional weeks. The ten participants will be invited on a journey through Pathfinder: A creative journal for finding your way. You’ll receive encouragement, support, and guidance as they seek the calling that takes them deep into their own trembling.

If you feel yourself at the edge of something new, something scary, and something bigger than you’ve ever stepped into before, then Pathfinder Circle is for you.

Join us now and we’ll begin on May 8, 2014. Register soon to secure one of the ten spots.

If you’re curious about what Pathfinder Circle will be like, below is an excerpt and some journal prompts from Pathfinder that will help you find your courage.

A Basket of Courage

“When we look for what’s right, instead of what’s wrong, we are able to see the good in every situation and every person.” - Debbie Ford

Appreciative Inquiry is a system most frequently used for organizational change which also has a lot of value in personal transformation. Instead of asking “What’s going wrong and how can I fix it?”, Appreciative Inquiry asks the question “What’s really working well around here and how can we do more of it?”

What we focus on becomes our reality.

If we focus on our problems, we become mired in the problems and can’t see our way through to the future. If we focus on our gifts, we give our energy to those gifts and we nourish and grow them. We are more confident moving into the future if we are looking at the strengths that carried us through the past than we are if we focus solely on the places where we failed.

To do an Appreciative Inquiry on our own lives, we need to focus on what has life, meaning and value. It’s about collecting our personal stories, asking good questions, and imagining how the meaningful stories from our pasts can help shape our futures.

One of my favourite Appreciate Inquiry practices is something I call the Basket of Courage Stories.

Along your pathfinding journey, imagine that you are walking through an orchard. You’re carrying a basket and filling it with fruit that you’re picking from the trees as you walk. This is the food that will nourish you in the journey later on, so you want to pick fruit wisely.

There is some fruit that has already fallen to the ground. It is juicy and smells heavenly, but you know that it has fallen because it is over-ripe – past its prime. You don’t want to bring that fruit along, because it will rot before you have time to eat it, and there’s a good chance it will cause the other fruit in your basket to rot prematurely as well.

There are wormholes in some of the fruit still hanging on the trees, and you know that you don’t want to pick those either because there will almost certainly be worms destroying the fruit from the inside.

You’re looking for plump, nearly ripe fruit that will nourish you and fill you with strength later when your energy flags. You can only carry so much without weighing yourself down, so you don’t want to waste space in your basket with fruit that’s over-ripe, that has wormholes, or that won’t taste good.

Sometimes we waste a lot of our energy carrying the fruit that will never feed us well.

The just-right fruit in your basket represents the courage stories that you will carry with you into the future. This is your Appreciative Inquiry that will help you grow your life and use your gifts in even more beautiful ways. In your moments of weakness, further down the path, when you begin to doubt your ability to complete the journey or doubt that you have enough courage to face the dragons, the courage stories will nourish you and give you strength.

Let’s begin to collect some of those courage stories that you’ll carry with you as you continue this journey. First, let’s take a look at what courage is.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s the choice to step forward despite it.

Fear is a natural and necessary part of life. Without fear, we do irrational things – we hurt people we love and we never learn to recognize danger or the deep longings in our hearts.

Fear can be very useful to us. It keeps us from getting hurt when we spot an angry dog foaming at the mouth. It reminds us to lock our doors at night. It sends us physical signals – sweaty palms, racing pulse, trembling lips – when we need to protect ourselves. In this context, fear is a life-preserving reaction to a recognizable danger.

The problem is not that we HAVE fear in our lives, the problem is that we let fear CONTROL us and keep us from the things our hearts are longing for.

When we have courage, we feel the fear, we acknowledge it, and then we decide that fear is not in the driver’s seat. Fear may still be our companion on the journey, and it might even help us navigate some difficult terrain, but when courage is in charge, fear takes a back seat.

Courage is simply taking a step – even just a small step – in the direction our paths are calling us, even when fear tries to hold us back.

Courage is opening our mouths to speak when we’re sure nobody in the room will agree with us.

Courage is kissing our children good-bye when they leave the house to go places where we can’t keep them safe.

Courage is saying no when a friend asks us to help them when we know that we are in desperate need of self-care.

Journal Prompts
The last time I was courageous was when I…
When I was a child, I stepped into courage by…
The most courageous act in my life was…
Today’s simple small act of courage was (or will be)…
The area in my life that I need more courage is…

Creative Journaling
Draw a large basket full of fruit. (Or find a colouring book image online and print it.) On each piece of fruit, write a few key words from each of your courage stories. Imagine that you are carrying this basket on the journey with you, feeding on these morsels of courage when you need them most.

Family of origin

siblings

Because these are the only three people on the planet who:
Know the sound of our dad’s voice singing “his eye is on the sparrow” from across the farmyard,
Shoveled manure from a pigpen with me,
Knew the combination of rings we had to answer on the party line,
Crawled through attics looking for kittens with me,
Built bale forts and mazes with me and then pulled the bales apart when I panicked and couldn’t find my way out,
Have tasted the sweetness of the berries along Raspberry Lane,
Remember that feeling of nervous responsibility while holding the flashlight and/or ladder while Dad climbed down into the well,
Know the sound of our mother’s voice when she’d sing “Good morning Merry Sunshine, how did you get up there?”
Remember a dog named Curly and a horse named Prince,
Know what it’s like to be woken in the middle of the night to drag waterlogged cows out of flooded pastures,
Remember exactly what Dad’s aftershave smelled like once he was clean and ready for church,
Enjoyed a good chuckle when Mom accidentally brought a marijuana t-shirt home from Holland,
Know the precise way Dad liked his eggs, fried in the cast iron frying pan with crispy edges and a yoke that “would run down your chin”,
Remember the taste of Mom’s freshly baked buns with “Gramma jam”,
And know the ache of grief from losing Dad to a tractor accident and Mom to cancer;
We drove hundreds of miles across the prairies for a short visit to the mountains because one of us has been beaten up by cancer (and other worries) and needed some companionship.

Bring your creative ideas to the Idea Incubator

tender sprouts“Beliefs that deviate substantially from the general social consensus are especially hard to maintain, requiring usually some kind of sanctuary… in which the deviant belief receives constant affirmation… They provide a kind of incubator for the fragile, nascent beliefs of the new story to develop. There they can grow a bed of roots to sustain them from the onslaughts of the inclement climate of belief outside.” – Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible

All around me, I see people who want to step out of old stories and into something new, but they don’t know where to start and they’re not connected to enough people who believe in this new vision that’s emerging for them. These people are dreaming of a better world, but they face loneliness, isolation, and sometimes even ridicule for daring to voice something that’s outside of the accepted norm.

Some of these people have opted out of the financial economy and choose to live instead in the gift economy. Some of them have moved away from traditional agriculture and are experimenting with more sustainable earth practices. Some have left corporate jobs to teach art-making to troubled teens, poetry to prisoners, or yoga to executives. Some are stepping out of the rat race to live a more intentional and mindful life.

These creative and hopeful people are making music in the town square, planting trees in empty lots, building labyrinths out of garbage, turning ramshackle old buildings into community centres, wrapping yarn around trees and park benches, turning parking lots into parks, making bags out of old clothes, ignoring church policy to bring marginalized people through their doors, gathering people into conversation circles, growing vegetables in barrels, teaching elders to dance, and finding one hundred and one other ways to break from the norm.

All around the world, dreamers are waking up and breathing love and life into their dreams.

Are you one of those people? Or are you still in the dreaming stage and you haven’t yet found the kind of incubator Charles Eisenstein is talking about where your new belief system can grow and flourish?

If you are one of those daring dreamers, let me say first of all that I love and support you. There are no people I’d rather spend my time with than daring dreamers, radical revolutionaries, and openhearted lovers. I want to gather you all into a big circle, look deeply into your eyes, and let you know that you are seen. I SEE YOU. And I love you.

I want to create a space for your dreams to begin to grow. I want to see those tender little seeds find a safe place to dig their roots into the soil and reach their tender sprouts toward the sun.

For this purpose, I’m creating an Idea Incubator, and I welcome you to join me.

What will the Idea Incubator look like?

1. Once a month we’ll have an Idea Incubator call where you can share your ideas and get advice, feedback, and (most importantly) moral support. The format for the call will depend on the number of people who attend. If there is a small number (under 8), we’ll stay in one circle and all participate in the same conversation. If there are more than 8, we’ll break into smaller, self-facilitated groups where ideas can be shared.

2. We’ll also have a private Facebook group that will support the monthly calls and give you a secondary space where you can share your ideas and ask for advice, feedback, and support. This may also be a place where you can build networks and find partners and allies for your work.

Who should participate in the Idea Incubator?

You should participate if you:

  • Have an idea (or two or three) that needs an incubator to help it grow.
  • Want to support other people’s ideas.
  • Believe that the world needs people who will help us find a path into a new “Story of Interbeing” (Charles Eisenstein’s term).
  • Have become disillusioned with the systems (industrial, financial, health care, education, government, etc.) that are not serving people as well as they should.
  • Are willing to contribute to meaningful conversations in a positive, optimistic, and supportive way.
  • Believe that we are all responsible for our world and that each of us can make a positive contribution.

What kind of ideas are welcome?

Any ideas that hold the intention of making a positive contribution to the world, your community, your family, and/or to yourself are welcome. These ideas might look like:

  • new art/yoga/dance/music/personal development courses/retreats/workshops/conferences you want to create
  • new community projects you want to initiate
  • a new business you want to grow, or an old business you want to change
  • a conversation you want to host in your community/church/government/youth group/etc.
  • a youth initiative you feel your community would benefit from

What’s not welcome?

I hesitate to answer this question, because I want all to feel welcome. However, I feel the need to be clear that this is not a place to promote your business, sell products or services, pour cold water on other people’s ideas, be a doomsday prophet about the state of the world, or proselytize about your belief system. We want positive, engaged, generous people in the circle.

What are our guiding principles?

  • This is a circle of trust and grace. It is a safe and supportive space for all of us, and to make it so, we will treat each other with kindness and generosity.
  • This is a confidential circle. Nothing that is shared here will leave the circle without the permission of the person speaking.
  • This is a sharing circle. Each of us will be invited and encouraged to share ideas, questions, wisdom, resources, etc.
  • This is a learning and growth circle. We are all here to learn, and so no questions will be considered foolish and no wisdom shared will be silenced. We are all learners together on a path to a more beautiful world.
  • This circle belongs to each of us. Each of us is individually and collectively responsible for how we interact, what we share, and what we get out of this time together.

How will the Idea Incubator calls be facilitated?

This work is will be guided by elements of the following practices:

1. The Circle Way that Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit teach (read more about it in The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair)
2. The Circle of Trust approach that Parker Palmer teaches (read more about it in A Hidden Wholeness).
3. The Pro-Action Cafe that is one of the practices of The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter.

We will start with a collective circle, setting our intentions and doing a short check-in to see who’s on the call. If the numbers warrant, we will then break into smaller groups and each person who has brought an idea to the circle will have a chance to share the idea and get feedback and support. If enough time is available, we may do a second round of small group conversations so that you can get feedback from another small group. We will end back in the larger group. (Note: As this is still in the development phase and the idea has not been fully tested, the format may change once we’ve tried it once or twice.)

How much does it cost?

There is no financial contribution required. The only contribution will be your time, ideas, and supportive feedback to other people’s ideas.

How can I join?

If you are interested in being part of this initiative, fill out the form below. You will then be added to the private Facebook group and you will receive emails notifying you of when the calls will be held and how to join them. Adding your name does not mean that you are obligated to be on the calls, but we do hope that you will choose to contribute when you can.

Questions? Contact me.

How to go on a personal retreat

At least once a year for the last dozen years, I have gone away for a personal retreat for a day or two or three. It’s a practice that has become crucial to my self-care. Sometimes I go when I need clarity on a new project or new direction in my life, sometimes I go when I’m deep in grief, sometimes I go to mark an important milestone, and sometimes I go just to be nourished.

It’s very simple, really – find an inexpensive place to go (for $70, I get a private room and three meals at the local monastery, or you could ask a friend who’s out of town if you can house-sit for her), bring the things that matter to you, tell your family it’s important, and go. When you get there, disconnect from all social media and don’t turn on the TV.

Here’s a short photo essay to help you imagine your own personal retreat.

1. retreat - place2. retreat - books & shawl3. retreat - journal4. retreat - sacred space5. retreat - go outside6. retreat - angels7. retreat - art8. retreat - mangos9. retreat - saints