Writings

It's good to get away


I have been away for a week. Thanks to the generosity of our friends Vic and Laura I have spent a glorious week all by myself in a lovely country home. It was the first time I did a sort of self retreat, with no program to follow, no strict rules to adhere to, and I found I really liked it.
It's good to get away
The main reason for going, was so that I could get some more writing done, stringing hours instead of minutes together and get properly launched on my book project.
Needless to say it has been wonderful. Just to be alone for a week, not speaking to anyone, no timetable, no alarm clock, not even cooking but relying heavily on bread yoghurt and various raw items for energy, it's been just wonderful.
Did plenty of long delicious yoga practices, lots of delicious youtubing, and much time just sitting by the computer staring at nothing. Writing a book, I found out is a rather complicated affair. Much more focus and attention is needed to provide a coherent structure, and heavily use of Google required to help me with language and at least semi correct grammar, a much more intricate job than that of putting together these modest blogs. So it's been challenging. But of the good kind. There has also been, of course, heavy onslaughts of self doubt and insecurity, moments of mental hair pulling and imaginary "abandoning the whole thing" moments. But once again all the yoga tools in my arsenal have been my saviors, so useful when handling writers block, the boredom and inevitable frustration that life spent mainly in mind brings to the surface and besides yoga, just time, such a benevolent friend. And then the blessing of solitude, God, how I love solitude. Not as a constant, if that was the case I would be in a monastery by now, but in the shape of these gentle interruptions to your everyday life, where the contrast to the usual rhythm provides lengthier moments of digestion, reflection and grounding. I suppose those first formative years, when I spent most of my time with just myself have a lot to do with how much at home I feel when I am by myself.

To retreat is like upgrading your holiday, it is like holidaying, a time when you can deflate and literally come back to your senses, but unlike a holiday, you also get to be your toilet self all the time, you know the one that unmasked farts loudly and doesn't give a shit about appearance and correctness.
When I was working more regularly and had the Scandinavian standard 5 weeks of paid holiday, I never fully appreciated how precious it was, to in the midst of life, be given time where your commitments are all self selected. But now, in the insecurity of the Algarvean reality, they are truly appreciated, a statement I'm sure all you self employed, fellow strugglers out there resonate and can empathize with. And now, to go on retreat feels to me a very efficient way to spend that precious down time. It's like baking all those 5 weeks I previously had, that were usually filled with action and company in to one, having the same effect. A very relaxing and awake experience.

Another good thing with being away is, of course, coming home again. There is some truth in the statement that absence makes the heart grow fonder. After not doing it for a week, cuddling with, cooking, cleaning and baking cakes for my loved ones, feels like a treat and an honor. I guess what I'm trying to say is simply: It'sgood to get away. Thank you Vic and Laura. So much appreciated

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