My Summer Escape to Just Be

jb-193.jpgI haven’t put pen to paper or typed a single word for my blog in over 72 days! That is simply disastrous for someone who aspires to be a committed writer, blogger, creator AND hopes to influence others through writing. The last post was about training for the No Limits 5K Run on June 7th. As an update, since I haven’t posted in awhile, the 5K day was so lovely with amazing people who came out to run and walk for justice and celebrate my birthday. I was overwhelmed as my friends, family and total strangers who fast became new friends rallied for two very important social justice issues centered around poverty and human trafficking.  Gratitude was splashing all over my heart that day!

A few weeks later when finishing up one last creative project, I hit the wall.

I crashed and I collapsed. Signs of burnout were everywhere. Emotional meltdowns over such silliness is what alerted me that something needed to change and fast, or my friends and family would lock me in a closet and feed me through the door.

It’s been a crazy extended 10 months of travel and working on creative projects, attending family weddings and just an all around-over the-top-year. Added to the insane schedule, I have also done some extensive inner heart work the past several months~steps of recovery, I think they call it. Torturous work, but so necessary for healing.

My self awareness radar went up when I started to cry more, didn’t want to see people, was overreacting, had trouble sleeping and was overthinking everything. My voice had an edge too, and not a very nice one at that.

I knew I was in deep doo-doo.

Even worse, my creativity dried up like the parched floor of the cracked Mojave Desert.

It was time to stop and find my way back to a life rhythm that made sense or at least that was manageable.

I looked at my calendar and yes, even the summer seemed jammed. In desperation, I flipped the pages from June to August and the weeks back from August to June to see when and where could I make an oasis in my desert. Just as I was flipping out from flipping calendar pages, God dropped a few weeks into my schedule that had been pre-planned but now suddenly became unplanned.

I was extremely disappointed as I had been anticipating spending time with my new granddaughter for months.  Suddenly, my parched soul looked up and saw the gift that was being handed to me, A BIG CHUNK OF TIME. Carefully and selectively I dreamed of how I should spend the two weeks. The first week was a let whatever happens kind of week. Lots of sleep, reading, sitting on my deck staring at the beauty, roaming my favorite stores and listening to some new music. I started to unwind as my nerves detangled.  In the midst of that week, I prayed and pondered the best way to spend the second week.

My secret wish became an idea to go away for several days and have a personal spiritual retreat. Just me and God. No people, no phones, no email, no social media. Unplug totally. Seek God for some answers for decisions I need to make, bask in his presence, hunker down in the cavern of my soul and just be still and listen. Within a day, it happened. Another gift from the God who knows me so well and what I need and when. He opened up a lovely secluded place for me to just “BE” for several days.

This coming Monday, I leave for my “JUST BE” personal retreat. I’ve been doing some research on it, I know it’s crazy to think about the proper way to “JUST BE,” but it’s how I am wired; the over-achiever-have-to-at-least-attempt to make a plan and then prepare.

Over the next few days as I get ready, I am filtering through a few books, my journal and of course my bible to tuck into my suitcase. It was also suggested on one website to bring a creative journal with art supplies to express what I might learn or experience at the end of each day. I am making a plan but surrendering the structure and just want to use it to jump-start the whole experience.

My heart is expectant and I would be so incredibly blessed to have you pray for me as I am away. My expectations are simple. I just want to be with and hear from God. There has been too much noise in my head for too long that I need help to untangle the web. It will only come as I step away from all that is distracting me right at this moment. Mostly, I would say that I am my biggest distraction. Any tips or thoughts on what you’ve experienced on a personal retreat, please send them my way. This isn’t my first personal retreat, but it has been what seems like an eternity and I am a bit rusty on being still and quiet!  My last check on the internet will be Sunday night before I shut everything down.

This is my prayer…that I would immerse myself in the stillness and adopt a childlike spirit in the time away.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 131:1-3 ESV

Image by a lovely lady who knows how to slow down and listen. Lorna Rande Artistic Imagery