It has been a fabulous month of retreating into my own history and vibrant life. As someone who has been hawking the value of a retreat for many years, and who has also taken some retreats, I can only say again: it’s really worth it. Not only do I have a clean office, rid of all unnecessary papers, workbooks, books, correspondance, and memorabilia, but multiple rememberings and discoveries surfaced.
I re-experienced all the love I’ve had for the wonderful work of consulting to organizations and their leaders. Feelings of gratitude for all the trust people have put in me. Honoring the vulnerabilities leaders experience, and appreciating their efforts to keep on going.
Recognizing more and more what my real work in the world is, and what it is not. Such discernment was not as clear when I was working constantly. Now it is clearer – and life giving. The big question I’ve sat in for quite some time is “what is it you want to give your life energy to, Chris?” In some ways I already knew, yet it was critical to re-examine my intuitions and be with them long enough to see what they really felt like.
Once my office was cleared out, I headed to the kids’ rooms. There I found old photos, letters, sacred objects. Joy, laughter, and tears. While it’s no secret that my family means the world to me, being there, in the midst of all the memories, soldered my sense that more time for them, with them, brings a real sense of love and belonging. May it be so. Their lives are busy, but we make time for each other. I am committed to being able to say yes to that more often.
Loving free time – I’ve been able to listen to my own rhythms and follow them. While I kept myself focused on my goal of decluttering, I had time to do things I always seemed to long for: go for long walks, take runs, read, play the piano, ride my bike, cook, bake bread, call a friend, eat lunch out with a friend, help a friend with some heavy lifting, spend time with my son who lives with us.
Today I watched two ‘tween boys locking their bikes up at a little strip mall. They were talking nonstop, laughing, and just being free. I remembered, watching them, how much I loved summer as a kid (and still do) and what a great feeling it was to be able to ride my bike wherever I wanted. Taking the month of gave me that feeling again. And doing it in the summer was a bonus I hadn’t expected.
Time away from work to examine my life has been extraordinary in one sense, and in another, I have come to love again all that is ordinary and priceless in my life. Life is now, it’s here. Feeling open, heartful, grounded and gloriously ordinary.