A Stay at Home Retreat

by Julie Gibbons on April 13, 2012

retreat art journal

I’ve been on a stay-at-home retreat for the last week. The boys went on holiday for Easter, but I chose to stay at home. When I first started to broach the idea with the hubster such an enormous sense of freedom flooded over me that I knew it was the right thing to do.

It wasn’t until the first day when the boys were away that I decided to take staying at home a wee bit further by going into retreat mode.  I didn’t tell anyone that I was home alone – I had a desperate need  to do nothing and go nowhere and I knew that there were a lot of people who would wish to arrange stuff to do.

So there was no social media for me (no, not even my beloved Instagram!) and very little contact with the outside world (only a few phone calls with my boys and mum).

On the first morning after the boys were gone, I was listening to a guided meditation by davidji. The subject was our natural state of abundance. I know that my choosing to stay at home instead of holidaying seemed an odd choice to some – and being alone even more so – but this week wasn’t about hiding. It was about refilling what was empty and in turn, emptying what was full.

I’ve had the space and time to fully connect with myself. To be able to listen deeply to my inner voice. To appreciate the abundance with which I am truly blessed. Intriguing lessons have been learned (I don’t wash up any more often when I’m on my own, and those promises I made to myself to clean the house remain unfulfilled – it just doesn’t seem that important).

The car is with the boys and the weather has been miserable (rain, snow, hail, thunder!), so I haven’t been walking very far. I’ve watched a few movies,  yoga’d and meditated, but most of all I’ve made art.

Not surprisingly, the solitude has been perfectly conducive to getting loads of stuff done! I’ve got a whole big batch of mail ready and waiting to be shipped off next week (anyone who is waiting on a paper doll – they’re finally ready and will be included in the big mail send-off!).

I’ve made real progress in this next phase for me and my work – the first little bit of which is a redesign of this site  (if you’re reading this in a reader, please do take a look). I hope you like it so far – let me know what you think! There’s loads more to come (stay tuned – there’s actual stuff happening!) but I wanted the home page to reflect more of what I’m doing now. I think it’s closer.

The boys arrive home today (the sun has come out for them!) and I’ll be so happy to see them and to hear the house fill up with their nonsense and laughter. I’m not looking forward to their mess, but you know, this is real life : things get messy. I’m going to enjoy it!

Even if you’re an extroverted social butterfly, some level of solitude is vital for deep thinking. If you’d love to go on a creative retreat but can’t afford the time (or money) then do consider how you can achieve similar results staying at home. Even if your family is still around you could declare every evening for the next week your retreat time, and spend time alone, having baths, reading, exercising or arting. Simply by making a declaration that you’re on retreat time, you will be more likely to carve out the time, switch off your phone, and remain undisturbed for the duration.

Whatever you choose to do, have a little fun – play time is so replenishing!

Download your copy of the Found Inspirations Journaling Technique : a free 36 page PDF guide to establish a creative practice

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

mandythompson April 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm

(My husband is out of town right now as well… I’m having a stay-home art retreat, which includes finding inspiration on the internet — like stuff here. But I’m staying quiet. So, don’t tell my friends.)

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Julie Gibbons April 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Oh Mandy – I won’t tell a soul! Have a wonderful arty time :) And a happy reunion when it happens ;) Thanks for visiting!

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Joanna Paterson April 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I love the new site. I love the thought you’ve put into it, and the words you’ve crafted as well as the look.

One small thing – I can’t read what I’m typing here! I think it’s maybe left over from when you had the black background

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Julie Gibbons April 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Thanks Joanna – I’m using the page to reply just now and the white text on the grey form certainly isn’t easy to read. Will work on getting that fixed – you’re right, it was a leftover from when I was in my dark phase :)

Thanks for visiting xxx

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tania April 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

oh! this is what i crave as well. my husband keeps asking me what i want for my birthday, and i know deep down, that i really want to just go away to a cabin and be alone…but that is not reality yet, so a home retreat sounds like a lovely idea!

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Julie Gibbons April 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Tania – I too dream of a cabin alone! Meantime, I do hope your birthday brings you most of what you wish for :) Thanks for visiting x

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