What do you hear in the word retreat?
FYI, I have never done number 3, don't get jealous, I don't know what I am talking about. Also never done 1 or 2 come to think of it. Although, my occasional sigh and handing over the Ipad to whiney children often feels like number 1.
HA. I know you know what I mean.
I don't know why, but I have been thinking about this concept lately.
Mainly because I have been thinking/daydreaming about taking myself on a retreat to a camp somewhere. Alone. So I can really actually finish my book.
Can you imagine?
For a sometime on the border introvert/extrovert it sounds magical to me. I need to not talk for awhile, to re-energize. I can handle yammering of children day in and day out, but there is a moment in a women's life where she needs to TURN OFF THE NOISE and NOT TALK. Like when you drive in the car, alone (gasp) usually to somewhere glamorous like the grocery store, and you think, WOW I could listen to NPR in peace if I wanted to and you turn it on for a moment but turn it off just as quickly because SILENCE is much more attractive??
So I google writers retreats/retreat centers/etc.
And I find some. For a small fortune I could go to a lakeside retreat up north and have someone tell me when to do yoga and when to think deep spiritual thoughts.
For a lesser fee I could go to a church camp type place and rent a small cabin with mini-fridge, eat in a cafeteria for dinner, and be left to my devices. (Clearly my favorite choice.)
Or I could go to a monastery type place, for near to free, and take a vow of silence for a weekend.
Attractive, in a strange way, but not sure if they would be cool with the clacking of the computer keys.
In any case.
Retreat to me, in this moment, feels like all three.
I need to admit that the hill is not lost, per se, but that I need a breather. I need to step out of the daily battle, not answer questions all day (is it just me or is the age of 7 the age, like 4, of constant questions ALL DAY LONG?? What does scowl mean? What about grimace? What does it look like? How about glower mom? Etc. etc. etc.)
Maybe this is more the concept of the retreat in #1 anyhow, right? Lets step back. Tend to our wounds and try to take this hill again tomorrow, fresh, with more fight in us.
Does anyone do this? How? I mean, I think it also a daily task for the mother. Right? Okay, we think, as the kids wage war against bedtime, one more hour, and surely they will be asleep and FINALLY I can watch that Grey's Anatomy special from three weeks ago! And eat the secret ice cream!
This is our retreat.
It is closing our eyes in the dentist chair, imagining that stupid bright light is the sun of a beach. It is blasting that embarrassingly familiar pop song from the 90s (instead of NPR, ha!) on the way to the store. It is a perfect cup of fresh coffee on a cloudy rainy day.
It is putting in ear plugs on a Friday morning while the kiddies watch PBS kids on an IGadget so you can write a post on your blog. (Yes. Earplugs. Yes. HA!)
Even for a moment.
And so, a few weeks ago, we reclaimed our need for space and rearranged bedrooms and moved the girls into our too-small-for-a-king-sized-bed room and we claimed the family room downstairs that seldom gets used in the day-to-day of our family.
There is a chair, with a lamp and books nearby, my favorite books, collected from forgotten corners of the house, all in one place, smiling at me. There is a bright pink geranium in the window. There is a wall filled with paintings and pictures from favorite people and places, memories of past lives. The walls are a cool grey color. The woodstove crackles on cool nights. Rocking chair in the corner. And yes, we still have the kiddos school desk against the wall, but it works. For movie night the kids pile in our bed and we watch, cozied up under a quilt.
I don't think I have had a bedroom like this as an adult, one that feel like, well, a retreat, a space to be and think.
Of course, the perfect reading chair is mostly covered with laundry, 24/7. I haven't yet stayed up sitting in it to read. And I can't quite seem to figure out what to hang over the bed. Maybe one of those giant pieces of fabric from Ikea?
But, in any case.
My plan is to turn the school desk into my writing table, once we turn the garage into a new family room (with a school corner!) and fill the corners of the room with ferns and lemon trees. Yes. I want a lemon tree IN MY BEDROOM. A little one, clearly. MUST HAVE LEMON TREE.
And yes, the retreat center for a weekend of writing still must happen. Selfish I know. HA. I'll let you know when. Maybe we can all do a virtual retreat together. Because its not giving up the hill, right? Its living to fight another day!