Artists. Musicians. Writers. We’re all supposed to be creative types. But it’s hard to be creative when life keeps butting up against you. The solution? Retreat. The artist’s garret. The painter’s studio. Both are forms of retreat tried and tested over time to help creative folks find focus and inspiration. I’m wondering, where’s your place of retreat? Mine, most recently, was the Daintree rainforest.
I know, it’s classically restorative, but upon reflection, I’m not sure it was only the (admittedly amazing) location which left me feeling like my creativity had been given an adrenaline shot.
When it comes to retreating, I think it may come down to the following combination:
1. The power of a digital detox.
In the Daintree, mobile phones don’t work, and the internet is limited and expensive. So my work commitments – travel stories – went back to basics (a camera and a notebook, versus a laptop and the online world). In doing so, I’ve felt a sense of creative freedom I’ve not had for months.
2. The power of a special place.
There’s no arguing that I’ve been incredibly lucky staying at this place (OK –I was working on a yoga story so they’re always in fairly serene spots). But this one was special. The simple is revered. Nature abounds. With all that, it’s hard not to find some clarity.
3. The power of being surrounded by the right people.
Retreating is traditionally a solo task, but this week’s location boasted beautiful beings, generous hosts, and likeminded guests. I left making real connections. Friends even. Nothing is more of a boost for the soul.
So my question for you is: Where do you rejuvenate? We can’t all head to the Daintree when we need downtime (including me!). Although, if you can, and the thought of blessing your meals or meditating at 7am doesn’t make you want to run for the hills, I’d highly recommend this place.
When I’m at home, I adopt the same techniques as I used this week, in a less intensive form. I reboot via a walk near the ocean. I recharge through catch ups with close friends and family, or by making space for a yoga class. I turn the phone off, and kick myself off the internet for a couple of hours. I don’t do it often enough, but every time I do, I’m reminded how it helps the ideas and thoughts flow.
A few thoughts for this week:
1. Heading away and into yoga?
You might like my app – Yoga Holidays Worldwide. Currently free on iTunes.
2. Can’t leave town to retreat?
Try my friend Samantha Nolan-Smith’s Retreats at home. Definitely on my list for the next time I need to retreat but can’t get away.
3. Need to take serenity where you can get it?
Can you get up five minutes earlier and just sit quietly in your favourite chair, watching your breath? Can you walk to work one day this week, or even better for washing off a busy day, walk home?
For the comments section this week – share your own tips here for others. How do you carve out snippets of ‘retreat time’ so your creative spark doesn’t get crushed by the everyday? What spells ‘retreat’ to you?