The writing retreat.
I had hope that with more than 24 hours to myself, my laptop and journals and music, I could somehow process all the things going on inside of me for the last month and pour myself into the book. Read, journal, write, process, pray, seek, and be led by God.
I have never had time like this before to work and to be honest, I was a little nervous with that much time by myself.
Can't you tell?
I want to share some things I came away with from the weekend, but first, I want you to see what I saw. Here is my office set up.
This really was the perfect office. Curled up on a couch, writing and reading and candles lit. It was perfect.
This was my retreat view from where I sat. It hailed most of the day, but by late afternoon, I got to out and take a walk.
I enjoyed light food and lots of coffee all day long. I grazed, and when I was hungry, I ate, and yes I even drank coffee at 10 pm. There were no rules. The goal was to be inspired and find dreams and plans and words for the book. It was perfect! It was a day where I could go at a slower pace because I didn't have kids interrupting me every few minutes, or I wasn't restricted by a time frame surrounding naps or babysitters. I could just be.
And then I took a refreshing walk to get all the pent up energy out of my blood. I wanted to take this photo, because I stood in this spot for more than 15 minutes. I stood and looked at the road stretched out before me. I let the sounds of the lake and the country seep into my blood. Sounds that are foreign to us where we live. It felt like with every breath I took, more of the tension left my body, and more quietness and stillness entered it. All the expectations started to cease to exist and only listening to the Lord seemed to matter. I didn't want to move. I wanted to stay in that spot until the only thing that remained were the answers. But looking at the road ahead of me, I realized I wasn't sure where the road led, but only the way to find out was to take one step at a time.
After my walk, I spent the evening wrapped in a blanket on the porch enjoying my new office. A place full of peace and inspiration.
So here is what I learned and discovered with my weekend in the wood.
1. I really enjoy time by myself. I am good company.
2. You produce very different work when you aren't restricted by a time frame or deadline or children's needs. I had the ability to really let the work come out of me, instead of rushing it, or throwing a bunch of words on paper hoping it sticks. I could sit and ponder, and roll thoughts around my head and get the good stuff out on paper. It was this amazing experience no to be rushed, but let thoughts and ideas and words formulate.
3. I got to work on my business, the book, my talk at the end of the month up in Duluth, my talk in the NE this fall, and my business concepst. I had papers all over the floor with ideas and concepts and dreams and starting points for ministry. It was this really amazing brainstorming session where I got to share my dreams with God, lay them out in front of me, and as I sat and prayed, I got hints of more ways to make them become a reality.
4. It is scary as hell to sit there in a cabin, all alone, with the time you have been asking for to make the dream come true, even one that you don't fully understand, and you have no more excuses. I had no excuses. I had to face my fear of this dream, the overwhelmingness of it. I got to settle into those feelings. Experience them. I got to embrace it. Look at it. Evaluate it. And most importantly, work towards. it. It's easy to dream. It takes a lot to actually work for it.
5. The closer I drove to the cabin, the more peace I felt. While at the cabin, I felt inspired, I felt encouraged, I felt rested, I felt motivated, and I felt calm. I'll confess I even danced a little bit with the music blaring and it felt wonderful. I felt free. And the words just came out of me. I wrote a bunch of stuff I didn't even know I was thinking. I wrote it, I looked at it, and I pondered on it. I am excited to read what was going on in my head and my heart. To process it and explore it.
It makes me very excited for my future. As I said, I have felt like I am on the brink on something new and different. This weekend was this incredible time of exploring that. Of dreaming around it. Of finding clues to what my future holds.
And I can't wait to share it with you.
I also walked away from this weekend with a secret love affair for a weekend away alone in the woods. This may become my most spiritual exercise. I hope.