How I finally went on a Personal Retreat

by Mary Ann on October 12, 2011

Taking time away from family isn’t easy but worth it!

maine portland picture

Beautiful Maine

It is interesting what we think we need and what we really need!

I planned to have a personal retreat in August. I put it on my vision board in Sept. Then I had so many breakthroughs that month without ever having a retreat that I took it off the board. “I don’t need one”, I said to myself.

In October I began regretting taking it off the vision board; after all I still hadn’t written a vision for my life and business yet. That was what the retreat was actually all about. I have been mulling it over for over two years, well actually much, much longer than that. I have even written a couple of vision statements but I am so not that person anymore and what I wrote back then is so not my vision now.

I have thought about having a retreat for most of my life. In one scenario I would find myself on the coast of Maine with a beautiful white clapboard house behind me, someone who comes in once a day and cooks and cleans. Me, I sit and watch the ocean, paint a bit, write a bit, breathe.

In another scenario I am in Virginia in the fall. The autumn colors are blazing. I walk down leaf strewn paths and think about my life and what I want and write perfect prose to capture it.

blazing fall colors picture

A peaceful place for a retreat

Lately that has changed to taking a week off in some secluded place, I don’t even care where. No phone, no deadlines, no family, no cooking, food out of a basket will do. First I would dispose of all the scraps of paper I had gathered up out of my office and store the information in the computer in the proper files. Then catch up my accounting, clean out the email. After that, after my life was in better order, I would write the perfect vision statement for my life and my work.

cinderblock house picture

My daughters home

Then a miracle, I was offered two days at my daughter’s home. It is a good thing I didn’t care where I went. She lives in a cinderblock married student housing complex! But there was no phone, there was green grass and sunshine and I could eat food out of a basket.

So how did it go? I am going to be frankly honest today. It wasn’t easy to leave!!!! In fact it is a miracle I did leave.

I thought I might go Sat. afternoon at about 5. But I decided to cook dinner for Don. Then it was late and I decided to leave Sunday morning. Then I thought I really had better go to church at least for the first 15 minutes because I wanted to take the sacrament. Church starts at 10am!

Sunday morning just as I was leaving the house at 5 minutes to 10 I got a call from a family member in a nursing home; some drama, tears and a plea that I come and help. I said I was going out of town, soothed as best I could and ran off to church.

During that first 15 minutes I felt that I really ought to go to the nursing home. I love Michelle, she is an adopted daughter with Cerebral Palsy and her life can be hard. It was on the way and so I stopped. I was glad I did because the look on her face was sheer joy and we did a bunch of hugging.

Finally at about 11am I made it to the apartment. Hmmmmmm I had forgotten the key. Sigh! Back home for the key. My husband was teaching a new class today. He has all the youth from 12 through 18. He was so nervous. I had helped him plan and taught him some presentation skills that would keep them engaged. His class had just begun. The church is 2 blocks from our home. I thought I might as well stop in and listen through the door so I could tell him how fabulous he did.

He did do a fabulous job and I knew he would but he did enjoy hearing it from me. I am also in the presidency of our children’s group. One of my special kids was giving a talk that morning. I had hated the thought of missing it. I had helped her prepare it and get ready. Well, I am here now so I might as well stay and hear her talk and help out. So I did.

While sitting in the children’s Primary group I realized I had packed no socks. I do not go without socks. I do not go barefoot, ever! Hmmmmm I have to go home after church and get some socks. So I did.

Well, it was now 1pm and I thought I might as well eat lunch before I left and feed Don. So I did that too.

I had figured out that I could have a two day retreat Sunday and Monday. However, major production problems on Saturday along with some presentations that needed attention because the dates had been changed made Monday out of the question. So Sunday was the retreat day! Now it was 2:00pm. “Gee, I might as well stay home! What in the heck can I do in a few hours? I have been trying to write this thing for two years. Grrrrrrr. I might as well stay home!!!”

My will won out and I got back to my daughters at about 2:30 pm. Now what? I had prayed a lot about this opportunity. I had fasted. I had pondered. I had done some serious introspective work. Now what?

On Friday I will share what happened during my Sunday retreat. I will also share the process I went through to write my life and business vision. Tune in. This is something that you should do and that you can do no matter how busy, complicated, distressing or unorganized your life is. Having a plan can and does make all the difference! What I did in my personal retreat.

If you have taken the time to write down a vision for you life or family I would love to know what impact it has had on your life. Please share!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

leah October 13, 2011 at 5:22 am

You can’t just leave us hanging like that MaryAnn! I can’t wait till Friday to hear the rest of the story.


Mary Ann October 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Yeah I know how that feels. I was feeling this same feeling at about the time that the narrative ends! : )


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