I escape to personal retreats for three reasons:
1. To avoid being engulfed by the needs and desires of my house, family and friends. I often feel overcome by appliance repairs, school projects, doctor’s appointments and busy-ness. I take on my family and friend’s pain or disappointment. I hyper-feel their need for my attention. If I don’t hide, I’m afraid I could disappear.
2. To rest my mind and spirit. The chaos in our house can be over the top. Given that I am sensitive to stimulation (see About Me, highly sensitive), I easily absorb all of the conflict, noise and clutter and then get overwhelmed trying to process it. My brain becomes dead and rubbery like a frog in formaldehyde. Solitude and stillness breathe life back into me.
3. To be creative. If allowed to slow down, I delve into the space where I get creative, where ideas live. Minnesota writer and personal hero, Brenda Ueland, said it well, Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.
I mentioned in a previous post, House Plants and Motorcycles, how I spent a lot of time in my room as a child. I played there with quiet, well-behaved dolls. It was my first hiding place.
Years later, I would choose to hideout in motherhood. I thought staying at home with children would be a way to escape the intensity of being out in the world. Up until the birth of our first son, I had been working in various business/office jobs. I was well versed in cubicles, ringing phones, unreasonable clients, mercurial bosses and unfulfilling work. I had no idea being a mother could be just as distressful (albeit rewarding and beautiful).
A few years ago, I came up with the idea of taking one child at a time (we have three) home with me to Michigan to visit family. The child on the trip gets sacred solo time with Mom and the grandparents. The kids left at home do fun things with Dad (big thanks to my (ex) husband for agreeing to this). I am temporarily released from the daily grind. I spend time in low stimulation down by the creek with my dad and step mom. I read and take naps in my childhood bedroom while my mom takes my son or daughter to the Five and Dime.
Another place I go to gather energy is the music school where the kids and I take lessons. Those thirty minutes with my guitar teacher in the lesson room smooth my nerves like water on staticky hair. Candles burn, lava lamps glow and guitars softly strum. My teacher, like me, is a bit of a hippie.;) It’s an atmosphere perfectly open to epiphanies.
I also get lost at the health club. I know it doesn’t seem like a likely place to be alone or peaceful but it is if you wear a disguise. Headphones. I put ear buds in and instantly become unapproachable. I get creative in this hiding place. While running on a treadmill, I daydream, create blogs and listen to that inner voice that knows the answers. Recently, I had to duck into a bathroom stall at the gym because I saw a good friend standing by a locker. I knew if I began talking with her, the ideas I just put together on the treadmill would vanish into thin air. I needed to hide until I could get to a pen and paper and write them down. I connected with her later.
These little getaways do not take much time. I only go to Michigan two or three times a year for long weekends. If I need a quick recharge I take a hot shower with music or I meditate in my closet for ten minutes. I still get to that dreamy place but don’t disrupt reality for long.
I savor every minute I get to just BE. My hiding spaces put me in a good place mentally, physically and spiritually. I go inside myself. The world becomes smaller but my perspective becomes larger.
Do you have a space to hide and energize? I’d love to hear about it.:)