My Retreat (From...?)


For a few weeks now, I've been looking forward to this weekend… and the personal mini-retreat I planned for myself.

My partner (and only housemate) went out of town to a family event, leaving me and the puppy-dog home by ourselves. This, I thought, is my chance to get a little quiet-time perspective.

I set a few goals, invested in large part by the need to get myself back on track, following a rather down-in-the-dumps few months (which, incidentally, officially 'broke' last week when Venus entered Cancer, my rising sign):

Do some free-writing to help me reconnect with why I'm doing what I do in the world… to reprioritize my most valued values.

Put together an outline and draft proposal for a book, so I can start hunting for agents and publishers.

Stay on a strict diet-and-exercise routine for the weekend, to help drop the extra pounds I added during my food-furious doldrums.

Clean the house. Exercise the dog. Get out and take some photos…

Doesn't sound like much of a retreat, does it?

Which might explain why my plans have abruptly changed. Why? Because, upon approaching the day when I had to begin all these ambitious activities, I realized what I really needed: some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation, a bit of catch-up with friends (who, admittedly, I'd been putting off in my darker hours because who wants to socialize when you're depressed?), and the feeling that there's nothing I'm 'supposed' to be doing. I'd already cleared my calendar of work by getting everything done early (yes, I work on weekends, OK?). I really didn't have anything pressing.

This is a window into the mind of someone (me, that is) who can strive so hard for 'personal growth and development' that it comes at the cost of pure rest. God forbid I should use my scant free time to do nothing 'productive' or 'meaningful'. Even with the best of intentions, it can be too easy to push ourselves too hard… only to find it doesn't lead to anything but more of the same. Will I miss my chance to become the author of published books because I went to the movies today, rather than spending another long day in front of the computer? Will I 'be fat forever' because I skipped out on a weekend of treadmilling? Doubtful.

That said, I'm outta here… off to take a walk in the park (literally), then to meet up with a friend for an afternoon matinee, and who knows what else. This 'retreat' is turning out to be a retreat from own inner taskmaster who, despite his severe nature, sometimes disguises himself as some 'purveyor of personal growth'.

For today, screw growth.