I have just come back from a delightful self led, slowing down retreat down the coast of Vic by myself.
A solo-retreat has always been something I have wanted to do, and despite being on my list of things to do for numerous years, I’ve never gotten around to it. Until now. Has a solo-retreat ever been on your list of things to do?
If you’re anything like me and it has be on your list, you’ve probably google’d your fair share of articles to help you craft your own retreat and solo time. And even thought it feels self-indulgent, I’m going to be sharing how I crafted my own solo-retreat. Because who doesn’t love a behind the scenes peek.
It always starts with a declaration. When my partner and I were mapping out our rest of the year holidays it was clear pretty quickly that we were at a mis-match. I wanted more holidays, he felt he could only commit to a certain number. So I proudly said, no problem, maybe I’ll go by myself somewhere.
He thought this would be a great idea, and so I began declaring it to family, friends, the places that I teach, letting them know I would be away. It was marked in the calendar, I asked for the time off, got classes covered. It was in the diary. It was not going to be moved.
YOU WILL BE TESTED – CURVE BALL
Life threw me some curve balls, which it naturally does. At times I wondered would my week away end up being a staycation? I am working on a creative project right now and I wondered would I use that extra time to do more work? Classic Maddi move, don’t worry this was swiftly let go of – thankfully!
There were more reasons piling up as to why I shouldn’t go. However I stood firm and naturally when you do, it all fell into place. Which brings me to the important note, once it is within your calendar or diary, guard that space with your life. You will be tested, ‘can you do this workshop’, but I remained strong, this is my holiday.
SET YOUR INTENTION
This is my favourite part – of anything really. I declared my intention for this time away. It was no emails, no admin work.
I was taking time to refill myself, take care and to come back feeling rested and rejuvenated. I do love writing and creating so I allowed myself the lenient rule, if I feel like writing and creating for fun, I would, but no pressure, nothing boring and no stressing.
FEEL AND VIBE
I started to compile a list of all the things I’d love to do, but I don’t do. I thought about indulging myself in whatever way I pleased. So epsom salt baths were of course on the list, yoga at studio’s I’ve always wanted to attend, my favourite magazines. All the good stuff to fill myself up.
I love creating this space for myself to have a slowing down retreat. My plan was to create my first one day retreat in Melbourne in November of this year. However with some personal life goals along with business projects I am working on, I’ve decided to focus and conserve my energy, instead of the constant go action forward. Which I don’t think I would have done without that time away.
Now let me dive into the actual retreat. I’m going to try to keep this brief.
+ Nature, nature, nature. The moment I left Melbourne I could feel myself relaxing, my breath slowed, I could exhale, shoulders relaxed down my back. Divine.
+ The weather was absolutely incredible, I spent my days at the beach with clear blue skies, the amount of times I popped myself down somewhere to listen to the waves or the birds in the trees.
+ The food was delicious, the only down side was I ate a lot of food I am not used to. Such as raw treats, which ended up wreaking havoc on my stomach by the end of it all. Coming back with sugar withdrawals – yes a real thing, especially when you are not used to it.
+ Fiction books, I don’t always get to read fiction, I mainly keep it for holidays because I tend to devour them until I’m finished. I read City of Girls, which was a great book to read as I took myself away, it reminded me about enjoying life, not simply to endure it. Perfect, timely reminder. So often I find, when I go away from the repetitive nature of everyday life I have space to breathe and the reminder ‘why don’t I do this more often?’
+ Baths, baths, baths, I knew the place I stayed at would need to have a bath. And because I don’t have one in our apartment in Melb, I ended up having a bath a day. Always with epsom salts sometimes rose petals, because you’ve gotta be extra with yourself sometimes.
+ Spending that much time by yourself is interesting. Half the time was spent blissed out, ‘how great is life, this feels incredible, I am so lucky, everything is going exactly how I want it too’. Even looking back at the last year and how far I have come. And then when there was too much silence, I was able to find myself doubting everything, picking everything apart within my life. Picking up each and every stone, inspecting it, does this work, do I like it? This sounds intense, and it can be, but we so rarely give ourselves this time, I found it to be quite a blessing. To look at and think about all the things I don’t have time and space to in my day-to-day life.
+ I am a big thinker, I studied philosophy at university, I’m very familiar with an existential crisis, and because I go deep, it didn’t take long before I went too deep. What’s the point of life? What is the point of my life? Am I happy – true to my bones happy, if I was to die right now … All the thoughts and ponderings. Which were intense, not joyous but so important and valid. We don’t give ourselves the space to think about these things.
+ I went a week without emails for work and personal. This was great. However, I felt myself itching to know, do I need to know something? I’m bored. I want to check my phone. Which that in itself was so telling and SO important!
+ I was umming and ahhing about social, the first day down I posted what I was up too. The next day I didn’t feel like it, I kept taking pictures of the beauty and my time away, but I didn’t want to post it. Then towards the end, I finally decided on a whim one morning I would have 48 hours NO social. It was SO good. I’m so glad I did this. It ended up being more …
+ BOREDOM – I got SO bored at times. But boredom is great, and I’m so glad I got bored. When was the last time you were truly bored?
+ This was more difficult than I realised. I came home, jumped straight into a workout, followed by getting a family dinner ready at our house. Into work straight away, and it all left my head spinning a fair amount. Sometimes these things can’t be avoided but a reminder that my life in Melb is full on.
+ Heading back into my inbox when I returned was not fun – the anxiety. Over 100 emails, half where things that needed to be looked at addressed, etc. and the rest where spam and things that needed to be deleted. I’ve since ended up unsubscribing to anything that I let filter in that no longer serves me – hello beautiful Spring energy.
+ Social media I got home and decided I wanted to have some time in Melbourne without social media. When I arrived back I was walking from the carpark to the lift, and realised out of habit, I wanting to reach for Instagram. Because I was bored in these 10 seconds and so I should reach for my phone.
Interesting huh? And so I decided a week without Instagram was needed, to see how I am in Melbourne without my phone. I ended up seriously loving it. And I’ve come back with such a different relationship and seriously cleaning up my habits around my phone. Still in the process, but am loving what’s coming from it. Honestly there is so much to write about this – would this be something you are interested in? Let me know in the comments below.
Now, I’d love to hear from you, have you gone on your own solo-retreat? Has it ever been on your list of ‘things to do’? If you have any other questions, leave them below and I’d love to answer them.