Tag Archive | retreat

Take Time Apart

804972302Lately there has been much talk about how busy our lives are, the pull of technology, and the practice of connecting online more than in person.

Yet there is another practice that is emerging in the midst of busyness–electronic or otherwise: Realizing the importance of taking time away from it all! Meditation, yoga, sitting by the beach, and other forms of quiet time are finding their way into many people’s routine.

Sometimes clients share their involved story with me, then say, “I just don’t feel I am handling it well.” In most cases, they are handling the situation beautifully, but forgetting to handle themselves as conscientiously as the other people and events. I will gently reflect that perhaps instead of needing to do more, it is time to do less, to take time apart from the situation and renew themselves. Often this helps them see a situation anew.

What are some ways you renew yourself? Having a list of three or four things can help your renewal time feel fresh. Other people like their standby of one or two activities (or inactivities!). Taking a walk, listening to music, relaxing in a hammock, reading a book are other ways to take a vacation from busyness for a while.

I love riding my bike around a lake near our house. Biking has always been a refreshing activity for me—feeling the wind cooling me as I ride, looking at natural surroundings or pretty neighborhoods, and enjoying the exercise-induced invigoration when I’m done. My favorite trail is Busse Woods, passing the elk as I ride; but even shorter rides near home can feel like I was gone for hours!

If these activities still seem too time-consuming in your busy day, try taking two minutes two or three times throughout your day to breathe. Stop what you are doing and do some diaphragmatic breathing—breathing from your belly—in and out for two minutes. Try it right now…Refreshing, right?

There is always time to take time apart–and there is always the need to do so!

Perfection Schmerfection

Last month, I had the pleasure and honor of co-leading a women’s retreat, with the theme based the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, PhD. What a powerfully moving and insightful experience for all who participated!

In reading and preparing the materials for the retreat, I had many opportunities to revisit my own perfectionist issue. Such a delightful activity to spend time on (not), especially since this issue already presents itself quite frequently. Half of my preparation began with, “God, You are funny, aren’t You?”

Yet, as a therapist, I tell my clients so often, “The only way to the other side is to walk through it”; and I am no different in striving to free myself from old thought patterns. So I embraced the process and here’s what I was reminded:

Nobody cares if I do it right or wrong. I just need to do it. And “it” can mean anything from speaking from my authentic Self, playing a game, singing a song, listening, supporting, or being supported.

“Perfection” is a made up thing in my head. What I think is “perfect” may be stodgy to someone else—and maybe to that person I am aiming to please in a given moment. There is no such thing as perfect. It is a black and white thinking fallacy in a world made up of beautiful shades of grey.

The question to ask is “Am I doing what feels right to me?” I shared this in the small group I led. This is the measuring stick to replace the perfectionist concept. Am I in tune with myself? Am I okay with me right now? That is what will bring the greatest peace of mind.

The more I stuck with these understandings as the retreat process unfolded, the more space Spirit had to move in and through the materials, my co-leaders, and every woman participating. We danced together in love, joy, and gratitude throughout the weekend. We were in the flow of the best kind of perfection—hearts open to our Higher Selves.

Who’s Running Your Show?

ImageDo you know the many “yous” of you–the conglomerate of many selves that make up your whole self?

At a recent women’s retreat that I facilitated, we took an entire day to examine and become familiar with different parts of ourselves. We met Responsible, the Pusher, Do-Nothing, the Child, the Spiritual One, and many others. We asked them what they needed from us, how we could better support them. With some of these aspects, we asked for cooperation. By the end of the weekend, we were more conscious of the many parts of us than we have ever been before!

Why bother with such a process of getting to know our many selves? Because there is one Greater Self that is hidden among this committee of selves. The parts come in and run the show, often times without our awareness or permission! The more we get to know the parts and learn what their needs and desires are, the more consciously we can decide if those needs and desires are aligned with the intention of the Greater Self. If so, we can go with it because it will align us more with the Whole. If a part of us has needs and desires that do not align with our soul’s goal, then we are able to set clear and firm boundaries within ourselves to keep us on track with our Greater Self.

When we feel stuck, we can ask, “Who is running the show?” As we become familiar with the many different expressions of self that we have, we can more easily answer this question and make choices for ourselves accordingly–conscious choices that keep us on track, instead of unconscious impulses that pull us every which way.

What are the many different parts of you? List them, one by one. Ask them what role they play in your life. What do they need or want from you? When do they like to run the show?

There is great power in being aware of these aspects of ourselves. We become freer to “run the show” in ways that bring us more and more into alignment with that Greatest Self, the One we truly are.