last monday i happened upon a bit of awesomeness found in social media.
a "soulful escape to bali."
my heart sung. i sighed with every picture. beautiful fresh foods! fresh flower mandala making! yoga! peaceful bedrooms! a view! holy springs! nature walks! necklace-making! photos! and the bit that sealed the deal was the prayer-flag craft making.
"oh, how i must go!" i thought.
i priced out the retreat.
"oh, i don't know that i'll be going soon." i thought.
and then i remembered the wonderful friends i was hosting later that week.
i'll make a little piece of my own bali, i decided.
prayer-flags being the top priority.
i spent a day cleaning the upstairs, and then a day cleaning the basement and then with a fresh slate (and a very dirty tippity-top floor) i sat down and began to cut and craft and sew flags. a flag for each member of my family--a dream, hope, wish or gift i saw in them or for them.
i set out my "rewa" mat from fiji in the center of the floor. the rewa tribe is the royal tribe in fiji. one of our students was from that tribe, and we received a beautiful rewa mat, that could not be purchased by any one. as my friend and i waited in the airport with our luggage and mats, several fijians came up to us and wanted to know how we had acquired a rewa mat (the markings in the weave were specific to that tribe). i wanted these friends to feel royal sitting around the tribe.
i went shopping for a few gifts for the night and saw a small indoor tree.
"good enough for me" i thought and put it in the cart (which hindered seeing the rest of my grocery shopping trip) and created a tiny piece of bali in my home next to the rewa mat.
a month or so, as i filled up an epsom salt/essential oil bath for myself and readied by guided imagery to listen to while in the bath, i felt strongly that i wanted to create my home and life as a retreat. i couldn't wait for a trip to ecuador (or bali) to relax and connect with myself. i also love kundalini yoga because it's known as the meditation and yoga for 'householders.' a meditation retreat isn't necessary--my daily practice in my home is the glue of my meditation practice. doing a weekend of it once a year would not touch the benefits of doing it most days just in my office.
retreat-ing in the midst of my life is essential. of course, i would still love to go to bali. but while i wait, i'm creating a bit of it here.
where are you waiting to retreat to? what bits of it could you bring into your every day life? fresh flowers? uninterrupted time with a spouse? long walks? a few days break from your mental "should-dos"? creative play time?
a few thoughts from brene brown on play:
"A few years ago, I noticed in my research that wholehearted people -- my term for men and women with the courage to be vulnerable and live their lives 'all in' -- shared something else, too: They goofed off. They spent time doing things that to me seemed frivolous, like gardening and reading. I couldn't really wrap my head around it -- were they slackers? Then one day, while I watched my kids jump on the trampoline in our backyard, it hit me: Wholehearted adults play.
Researcher Stuart Brown, MD, describes play as time spent without purpose. To me this sounds like the definition of an anxiety attack. I feel behind if I'm not using every last moment to be productive, whether that means working, cleaning the house or taking my son to baseball practice. But I can't ignore what the research (mine and others') tells us: Play -- doing things just because they're fun and not because they'll help achieve a goal -- is vital to human development. Brown believes that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. Play can mean snorkeling, scrapbooking or solving crossword puzzles; it's anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.
Which means it's a mistake to restrict play to vacations. In 2014, I hope you'll join me in resolving not to base your self-worth only on your productivity. It's playtime!
Create a play list. Write down three activities you could do for hours on end. Mine are reading, editing photos on my computer and playing Ping-Pong with my family.
Now carve out time on your calendar. Even when I'm busiest, I schedule unstructured time. It's important to protect playtime the way you protect work, church or PTA meetings.
Play well with others. When my husband and kids made their own play lists, we realized that our usual vacations, which involved sightseeing, weren't really anyone's idea of play. So now we go places where we can hike, swim and play cards -- things that make us all our most silly, creative and free-spirited selves."
Brené Brown, PhD, is the author of Daring Greatly