after the retreats....
When I come out of my retreats I am manic for a couple of days. I carry the energy of all those people with me back into my regular life, and it has to go somewhere. It is actually a very fertile time for me. I have a number of ideas and projects that have emerged from this period. I will be sharing more of that here in the near future. This time I had the forethought to put some of it down in print. I am sharing that with you here. Unedited. As written. Need to do more writing when I am in the thick of my feelings….
It has developed that I am able to be a more true version of myself at my retreats. I’m not sure where or when I learned to keep my soul hidden in public. Being highly empathetic, it is often simply for self-preservation. If I was truly open and receptive all the time I would be a total basket case. I need to put up some armor to shield my sensitive nature from the slings and arrows of daily interaction. But somewhere along the line I also developed a strong sense of suspicion and a critical approach. That can be useful in many settings, but I fear I may go overboard often. So when I get to my retreats I have created a safe space for myself, and then by association others, to open up and be accessible, vulnerable, available to the moment. I will never stop being wry, snarky, and generally mildly self-deprecating. It’s my shtick. But when I release myself from my daily defenses, when I let down my armor, I am a soft, hopeful, empathetic being who seeks the happiness, the joy in life. I’m not sure I have been aware of that shift until this year. I have been diligently working in therapy. Turning over rocks to see what’s underneath, peering into the forest for individual trees. This work, the search, has turned some parts of my life in a different direction. And that has been scary, and lonely, and sad. I have had some painful days and nights in the past year. So when I got to Slow Fashion, my first retreat of the year, I was tired and more tender than in past years. And what do you know but my tender vulnerable self was met, seen, and supported. The same was even more so by the time I got to Slow Stitching. Both retreats reflected back to me so much love and joy and hope and tender pain and worry. And then more hope, and the recognition that we are all in this together, we all feel this daily pain, but within the world of creating, using the skills we have learned from generations before us, we are able to protect our tender selves, to fortify our souls to go out in the greater world and slog through the daily grind with the knowledge that we are good, we are true. We create beauty, we celebrate the handmade and it’s joy, we hold ourselves and our community strongly together with our agency. We are able to make small differences in our lives that may not change the world, but that keep the darkness at bay.
Footnote: I wanted to check back in on this platform because I have been soooo quiet here. I have another blog post coming shortly, and then plans for yet another not too long after that…..
I know?! Who is this person…?!?!?!