Have you ever taken a springtime retreat? I recently took one and came home so refreshed.
Spring is here. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s here. The rain is still pouring outside but instead of the rivulets pooling around bare sticks and mud puddles, those bare sticks are covered in a magical shade of new green. And the mud puddles have given way to grass and daffodils and tulips. I also noticed spring being here when I bundled myself and my daughter up to go on a walk the other day and then realized five minutes later that we were going to need to shed a few layers.
Like many of us, when I think of spring I think of renewal and new beginnings. Everywhere the earth is shouting this: ducklings, tiny flowers, branches covered with new leaves. And yet, when it comes to new beginnings concerning our goals, many of us typically keep them firmly placed in January, at the beginning of the year.
By the end of March I wonder how many of us have allowed those goals to slide just a little or maybe we’ve completely forgotten about them. This year, I’ve been using a habit tracker as well as dividing my goals into quarterly chunks so I can better see my way through them, and it has been such an interesting process. With the daily habit tracker, I’ve definitely noticed the ups and downs of a typical month but even better than that, I’ve been able to create a visual record that shows I’m making progress.
But you came here because you’re at least a little bit curious about what a springtime retreat is. I wrote a workbook on creative retreats last year that walks you through how to make your own personal retreats and as I mentioned in that book, I think it’s really valuable to find what works for you during any given season of your life. A springtime retreat is just what I needed recently so I thought I’d share why it was so encouraging for me to go on one.
Three Reasons for a Springtime Retreat
A springtime retreat allows you to reassess.
I’m a list-writer, goal-setter, go-getter kind of person but I also have this bad habit of setting goals and then a.) forgetting about them or worse, b.) hitting them and then moving immediately forward to the next thing. I say that second one is worse because isn’t that the saddest thing ever? I’ve been known in the past to train for a marathon, run the race, not die, and then literally, as I’m shuffling back to my car wonder when I should run my next race. (Someone tell me they do this in their life too . . .) Anyway, taking a retreat gives me the time to step back, look at the goals I reached, and celebrate them. I’ll admit to even celebrate the steps I’ve moved towards the goals if they’re not the kind that can be reached within a few months.
A springtime retreat gives you space to breathe.
Deep breaths. We all need to step away from the flurry of our lives at times. This space allows us to find a gratefulness that can be difficult to see if we’re just running around to the next proverbial soccer game. Taking that time to stop and take a few deep breaths (and enjoy a coffee and a treat), made me so grateful for all I have. I had forgotten to bring my gratitude journal so I just used a napkin (aren’t they the best to write on?) and scribbled out a list of people and things that make my heart sing. Wow, I’m blessed. I know that, but taking the time to really think through this truth is amazing.
A springtime retreat opens you up to new possibilities.
When I was growing up, we would go camping in the summer and during that time of being unplugged (okay, we weren’t really that plugged in to begin with considering this was in the olden days, but hear me out . . .) during that time of being unplugged, my dreams and ideas would soar. It was like the light of the sun and the smell of the pines broke through to a super-creative me. When I go on my mini-retreats, the same thing happens. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had ideas that have propelled me into new creative spaces.
It makes me wonder, how would taking some time to reflect encourage your creative side? Believe me, when I talk about creative retreats, I’m not talking about putting your whole life on hold for a week. I’m a big fan of creating space in my life so I can take mini-retreats regularly. It’s really amazing to see the growth you’ll experience as you take time to regularly assess and rest from the go-go-go of life. And being that it’s spring as I write this, consider how amazing it would be to find some renewal in your creative practice. Taking some time to think and process could be the very thing you need right now.
Have an amazing day!