I write this to you from the 2nd day into my weeklong (city) writing retreat. On my first night (Saturday), I planned on going to the comedy club on State Street. A woman comedian seemed like a perfect fit for what I needed. Going solo meant I would be placed with a table of strangers. An opportunity to meet up with either a good social experience or material to write about. Likely both.
As I unpacked and then went to the co-op to get food for the week, I felt I was having an allergic reaction to my space at the airbnb. I chose an airbnb over a friend’s home or my usual choice of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Friends come with responsibilities; and, Holy Wisdom was too far outside of Madison. I wanted a city, peopled experience (close to coffee shops, Al-Anon meetings, events, Planet Fitness, Bliss Flow Yoga and just all that stuff Madison offers me.) Also, come Saturday the 20th, I don’t have to drive in from Spring Green to get to the Woman’s March.
Back to my allergic reaction: I got some homeopathic remedy at the Willy Street Co-op and went back to my room loaded with favorite food. I wondered if I was getting sick. This is not uncommon. Research reveals that our bodies take a break and “allow” us to get sick when we go on holiday. Consider it like “repressed illness.” We can’t let ourselves get sick when we are in the middle of our busy, stressful lives. !!
So, there I was, back in my (lovely airbnb) feeling retched. I sat down in front of the fireplace and soon realized that I was exhausted, beat, tired as shit-Sherlock! I had till 5pm to cancel my one seat at the comedy show. I laid down on the bed; fell into a deep sleep only to awake in time to cancel my reservation. I slept through the night and into the morning, waking up in time to attend the early morning Friend’s Meeting.
Now, here I am, day two (Sunday) at Colectivo sipping coffee, writing this blog to you, my writerly tribe, and soaking in some sun through their large windows. I choose to hang out here at Colectivo for a few more hours to write among the shouts and murmurs and the sun as it moves past the window until I feel like going to the club to run in place for an hour. Of course, I can change my course anytime; head back to the airbnb and take a nap. Tonight is dinner with my (most remarkable) daughter and her (delightful) boyfriend. Unless plans change, which they get to. I’m on retreat.
Okay, that’s it for now. And for those of you who appreciate a check-list, here you go:
What we all need as writers (and well, just as people):
- Periods of rest. Good, rich reflective times of rest.
- Retreat time with ourselves and with others where we share in solitude and creativity.
- To gather with others in meaningful and restorative ways (your call what that means).
- Letting go of plans, a willingness to disappoint others and to change your mind and preferences (at any time).
- The ability and willingness to host our edges without taking action, till we have rested and restored ourselves.
- More sleep.
- Some physical activity, yoga, walking (everyday) . . .
- Soulful places in our homes and in community to write.
- Time outside (preferrably in the natural world) everyday.
- Not letting other’s determine your timing (or your destiny for that matter)!
- It gets down to exploring and living our creative and spiritual lives within the context of our daily lives. If not here, where?
Finally, and since you made it this far, you get the key to the secret room, to all you will ever need to live a creative and happy, passionately rich life: Risk taking that one creative, loving act my friend. Make an utter fool of yourself and don’t later say you are sorry for what you spent weeks dreaming about doing. Because, a single creative, loving, passionate act has the potential to feed the world.
JOIN Me at one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE retreats: Write-By-The-Lake. I will be teachings a class on creative non-fiction: Write Meaningful Nonfiction: Turn Your Personal Experiences, Knowledge, and Journaling into an Inspiring Book, Blogs, or Other Writing for all you non-fiction, blog, article, essay writers! And for those of you who are writing fiction, I recommend my super-hero, fiction writer-friend’s class: Your First Novel: Fast and Finished!, with Kathy Steffen.