I wrote in the last “Golden Ticket” post about Rumer Godden’s idea of every person having “four rooms” – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The notion of the Golden Ticket advanced self-care getaway (OK, I need to work on the name) is to spend time in caring and cleaning out each of the four rooms. I had done some work on the emotional room with my wonderful roommate’s delightful visit at the start of the break, and the beach trip (short though it was) helped me work on the physical room, along with some more work on the emotional room with my walk up to the Kindred Spirit mailbox. (Sidebar – Go there if you can. Reading what others have written – those raw cries of sorrow and grief, along with pure shouts of joy – really will touch your heart.) And my mental room had been aired out with a series of French lessons and puzzle-style games.
But my spiritual room needed a good cleaning. So I drove home, took a day to take care of a few household chores (laundry stops for no Diva!), caught up with my charitable Other Half, then hit the road for my first time going on a solo retreat.
Back in early February, I made arrangements to take a one day, self-guided retreat on the grounds of Well of Mercy, which is about two hours from my home. I learned about the Well from a friend at a legal conference and noted the web address – you never know when you might need such a thing. Now, the Well has many guided retreats, some catering to those going through the first stages of grief, some allowing guests to explore the rare gift of silence, and so on. A day retreat, like the one I did, is far less formal. You arrive, check in, get a map of the 100+ acre property, and go where your feet take you. (You also bring your lunch. Meals are provided on longer retreats, but then again – day retreats have a suggested donation of only $25, so . . . )
It was a cold, overcast day (although it cleared up beautifully as I ate my lunch), but it’s still a beautiful, restful place. The property has been carefully designed to maximize opportunities for rest and reflection – hammocks and deep Adirondack chairs are dotted throughout the woods, clearings, and on the banks of the gurgling creek. A lovely labyrinth beckons you to walk in to the center, really thinking over things as you feet carry you unerringly on the path. A well-stocked art room invites you to create, and cozy fireplaces and bookshelves are there for you to snuggle into a soft couch and read while you eat your lunch. There’s a lovely path through the woods with 14 marked stops to sit and ponder and much, much more. I hadn’t realized how much effort it takes to just interact with people until I didn’t have to do that. I enjoyed the chance to walk and notice birdsong and heart-shaped rocks in the path, and to simply remember how my mother taught me to love the grandeur of the woods.
Honestly, I don’t know how easy it is to find a retreat space where you are, my Diva, but I think it’s well worth a few minutes online trying to find out. People were kind and I left there feeling much more at ease in my own skin than I had in quite some time.
And now it was time for the capstone course of my advanced self care Golden Ticket – a solo date night!