I am off to my lovely retreat that I attend each summer out by the Lost Coast of northern California. It is a delightful nine day writing retreat in the middle of nowhere where about 26 writers gather each summer to do what they love, write with their friends. The retreat has been around for some time and there are people who have been attending for 17 years or more. I am a newbie here as this is only my fourth year. Dubbed the Kitchen Queen, I spend the morning and lunchtime in the kitchen making sure breakfast and lunch are served for hungry campers. Then different members of the group take turns with dinner.
I love this retreat. I would never have thought that I would take so much time from my kids to do something as frivolous as a retreat. That was for other people. Now, I deem it necessary to my sanity. My kids survive just fine in the hands of grandma for the approximate two weeks time I am away (once you count traveling from where I am to where my friend lives, then shopping and heading out to the retreat). When I write there, I write in a way I cannot do at home among kids and a dog and noise. I can immerse myself in creative thought for hours at a time.
A creative retreat is important to our creative self. Stepping outside and away from the norms of everyday life and immersing into our creative work can clear out room to take one’s creativity to a new depth. Maybe you cannot get away for a retreat. I understand. It can be hard if you don’t have support from family, especially if you have children. Maybe money stands in the way. Have you thought about creating a retreat for yourself at home, even for just a day. Find a sitter for the kids or see if there are scholarships for day camps they can attend for just a few days. Then dedicate your time to your creativity.
There may be moments when guilt creeps in, telling you that you are being selfish. That’s when you say, “Damn right! It is my turn to be a little selfish with my creative time. I am worth it.” We all need our creative space. I talk a lot on this blog about really only needing a practice of ten minutes a day for creative expression, and I stand by that. What I am also saying is that we have the right to give ourselves permission to go deeper into our creativity in order to become even more connected to it. Creative expression is vital to our human condition…it isn’t an “extra” subject for school. It is an essential part of we are as people. Take the chance. Give yourself a retreat for your creativity in whatever form you express it.