I found myself feeling happier and more relaxed just by reading your comments. There were so many good ones. From non-goal-oriented art-making like sketching and songwriting, to spending time with old friends, to simply paying attention to the world around you. There were specific suggestions like tarot and Jin Shin Jyutsu, as well as smart guiding principals like “Do the opposite of what you think you should do” (thanks J Conyette). You all gave me so much to think about.
I think I have a plan.
Well, a loose plan… And that’s kind of the point.
I booked a room at this charming inn on a neighbouring island. The night I arrive, the pub is hosting karaoke. No one mentioned karaoke but it’s one of my favourite things in the world. I just love singing and performing. I invited a friend to join me, but only for the evening. After that I’ll be on my own for three days. I won’t bring a phone or computer either.
During the three days I will keep things fairly open and really take the time to rest, wander along the beach, and pay attention to the world around me. I might read (currently on the look out for a fantastic fiction book; suggestions welcome), I will probably do some hiking and swimming in the ocean, maybe rent a bike or kayak! Beth generously sent me a tarot deck and I’m very much looking forward to doing some readings and pondering the future a little.
But most of all, I just want to let myself do whatever it is I feel like doing in the moment. If I decide to scrap all of these plans and go to an impromptu event I hear about one night, so be it! As Sienna wisely summarized in her comment:
The point here, I think, is it’s a mindset thing. No matter WHAT you choose to do, approach it from a mindset of play and discovery, with open arms and a child’s mind. I’ve done too many “recovery weekends” where I end up more stressed on Sunday because, hilariously, I pulled an emotional muscle trying SO HARD to relax. Relaxing is one of those things that happens when you’re not noticing. It comes lightly. Trying to force relaxation is like trying to catch smoke. So whatever you do, do it with an intention of non-attachment and letting go (tough for us busy folk!), and dole out the patience and forgiveness every time you catch yourself trying to treat this retreat like one more Thing You Have To Do.
Thank you Sienna. Thank you everyone!
p.s. There are so many good ideas in your comments and I will definitely be returning to them in the future. I can see myself taking different kinds of retreats down the road, and you provided plenty of inspiring examples! <3