Mini-Retreat: Day Two

How are you feeling about your life…where you’re at?  If you’re unable to verbalize your well-being, perhaps you can trust your body.  Are you tense?  Tired?  Angry?  Relieved?  Peaceful?  Anxious?  Sad?  These feelings may be saying what you cannot.  Listen to them.  Honor them.

Again, if you haven’t done the work of placing your life into the 4 Room Model we discussed yesterday, do so now, before you read the rest of this post.  Remember, you can always come back to read this later.  It will be waiting for you.

Today, I’m going to have you do something that wasn’t a part of the retreat I attended.  It’s an exercise that both my husband and I do every so often…and have encouraged others to do, when the topic comes up.  I touched on it briefly at the end of yesterday’s post.

Grab a blank sheet of paper and find a quiet place to sit.  Close your eyes.

Let go of all the negative (ridiculing and sarcastic) voices in your head.  This is important.  Let go of all monetary restraints.  Let go of all physical restraints (where you have to live, where you have to be).  Let go of all health issues.

Feel them slip from under your skin and float away?  It feels delicious, doesn’t it?


Think of yourself in 10 years.  Imagine you could live anywhere in the world.  Imagine you could do anything you wanted.  Imagine your daily schedule.  Imagine the foods you would eat, the tasks you would perform, the people who would surround you.  What would you look like?  Be like?  What would bring you joy?

Just sit and imagine for a while.  ANYTHING GOES.  Don’t worry.  It’s just in your head, for the time being.


On that piece of paper (and this is so you can see your dreams materializing before your very eyes), write it all down.  Don’t edit.  Simply translate all that you thought down on to that piece of paper.  What would you do if you could follow your heart?

There are NO WRONG ANSWERS.  [I remember when my high school biology students would write up their complete biology labs, then go back and fill in their hypotheses, because they didn’t want to be wrong!]


I have one question for you.  How do you get there?  I’m going to say it again.  How do you get there?

Did you notice how all the constraints and restraints flooded in on you…and your shoulders, once again, felt weighted down by responsibility?

That’s okay.  Start writing down all possible baby steps of arriving at your goals, your dreams.  If you want to live in Paris some day, how will you get there?  Can you live on less money now?  Would you be satisfied with a different job?  Can you start learning French now?  [Two words: Rosetta Stone].  Can you release all ties where you are–simplify your life?  Or alternatively, know that friends and family can come visit you wherever you are?

I once asked a friend of mine (who had mentioned that she and her husband wanted to live in another state) why they couldn’t move.  It seemed to have to do something with a job, but then I asked the second question: is the job worth not living where you want to live?  It’s a valid question–at least something to think about.

Do you see how this exercise might fling you into the Chaos/Confusion room of the 4 Room Model?  Nothing you want will be handed to you on a silver platter.  Nothing you want can be acquired with a simple wave of the wand.  Everything you want can be attained…if you’re willing to risk something.  Failure, even.

When all the world conspires to help you on your Personal Legend (your personal quest…what you were meant to do), you will not only experience your highest joys, but your lowest lows.  [Someone said that about kids once, I think.]  But you will find your greatest fulfillment if you follow your heart.

All of us have something to offer the world.  Why not actually do it?  Why not live out our fullest expression?

I know I’m creating havoc before I’m creating peace.  This is done intentionally.  Stick with me.  If you don’t understand now, you’ll grow into an understanding, and trust me, when that happens, it’ll hit you like a load of bricks, and then that inner tough wall will break open, and you’ll see the bright sunlit sky through the cracks–chockfull of an infinite number of possibilities for you.

Such unspeakable joy when that happens.  You’ll see…

[I will be speaking about Katrina Kenison’s The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir on Friday, which has something to do what we’ve been discussing.  Pick it up, if you have the chance.  I read it on my way home from West Palm Beach, and I’m sure my fellow passengers thought I was going through a personal crisis, the tears flowed so.]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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