Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tip #15: Ideas for Building Successful Relationships

Make time for self-development apart from each other.

I love spending time with Matt. Although there is a direct relationship between the amount of time we spend together and the amount of quibbling we do, I still love hanging out with him. I long for eating breakfast with him at the park, playing Boggle, going to the farmers' market, watching our Netflix movies in bed, taking our dog to the park, eating at yummy restaurants, just sitting and talking, cooking dinner together, wrestling, and making crafts.

However, when the opportunity arose to trek to Western Massachusetts to stay with a potential kindred spirit in her cabin in the woods, I had to jump at the chance.

One of my goals for last year was to plan a retreat for myself. Unfortunately, in the busyness of wedding planning, buying a house, finding a new job, and getting a dog, I never got around to it.

I love the idea of retreats. Retreats are a chance to separate ourselves from our everyday surroundings and reconnect with our essential selves. In other words, we can step outside the cloud of electrons whizzing around us and focus on our nucleus. Ideally, I would like to create at least one retreat-like opportunity for myself each year.

This year, I've been fortunate to spend six days and five nights surrounded by trees and damp dirt. One of my consulting colleagues lives in Western Massachusetts and primarily telecommutes. I've been here for four days, and I feel my coiled self unwinding and making space for my thoughts and ideas.

My new friend and I spend our days talking, hiking, cooking healthy food, reading, doing yoga, exploring the quaint town of North Hampton, and sleeping. Although I miss Matt (and Hoss), I know this kind of time is important. I can't be my best version of wife or [dog] mother or daughter or teacher or friend until I am my best version of me. It reminds me of this Nikki Giovanni poem I just learned about:

Revolutionary Dreams
i used to dream militant
dreams of taking
over america to show
these white folks how it should be
i used to dream radical dreams
of blowing everyone away with my perceptive powers
of correct analysis
i even used to think i'd be the one
to stop the riot and negotiate the peace
then i awoke and dug
that if i dreamed natural
dreams of being a natural
woman doing what a woman
does when she's natural
i would have a revolution

I'd like to find a regular retreat to attend year after year. I can imagine meeting amazing friends who flock to the ritual of reconnecting with one's core. I love the Be Present Retreats that Superhero Journal is part of, but the cost is a bit high for my budget.

Any other ideas for budget-friendly, yearly retreats focused on self-development and rejuvenation?

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Nicole said...

You were in my town! I'm glad to hear it was a nice getaway-- those pictures make me long for an escape of my own!

Sarah said...

I've always wanted to go here: http://www.wiawaka.org/.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ SH: Oh wow! What an amazing place! Anyone interested in trying to get a group together to go next summer (2010)? E-mail me if you're interested (saracotner@yahoo.com).

Becca said...

I'm taking a low-cost spa week in Ojai, CA, which is a beautiful hippieish mountain town an hour away from Los Angeles. In three weeks I'll be doing yoga, hiking in gorgeous mountains, and relaxing by the pool. Time away is so important for the soul.

And yes, time away next summer would be lovely as well!

Kerry S. said...

YAY for Northampton! Isn't it just lovely?

Sharpiegirl said...

all of those ideas sound like fun.

Anonymous said...

The science geek in me loved the electrons and nucleus bit!

I'm glad that you've had a lovely retreat!

Katy said...

Wow- Sara your trip sounds great. I wish I could do the same this summer.

The cabin looks like my dream house...nice and quite location...ahhhh

Hadeel said...

I can just smell the pine and sunshine. Mmmm.

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