Three years ago, I had an idea. It was a big idea for me and I wasn’t sure how to begin to make it real.
And I couldn’t get any traction trying to work on it in between all those home and work sort of tasks. It didn’t seem substantial enough to take time away from “real” things needing to be done.
Meanwhile, my friend was struggling to find time to write poetry.
And so we hatched a plan to go away for a few days and dedicate time to that special project we each had, but couldn’t quite fit into our regular life. We booked a couple of rooms mid-week (more affordable!) at a beautiful bed & breakfast in a lovely setting.
My big idea? A small, intimate retreat for women like me. With big ideas and a busy life, needing some dedicated time away with their next special idea.
And I mapped it all out while I was away for a few snowy January days in a small inn with a fireplace in my own room.
My friend and I met for breakfast and talked about the day. Then we would either settle into a cozy sitting room to write together or set off separately. She was a walker and I am a napper. There was room for both.
We’d go out for dinner and talk over how our projects were going. Highs and lows of the day. Frustrations and triumphs. Or just shared how life was going.
This became the format for the If I Just Had Some Time retreat:
- Imagine a small, cozy group of 6 like-minded women, each with a very special project dear to her heart.
- Let’s retreat on Martha’s Vineyard — my favorite place on earth (and my home town).
- We gather over a home-cooked dinner the first evening around a large dining table. It’s so much easier to meet new people over food, isn’t it?
- Breakfast the next day is ready when you are – a buffet for either early risers or slow wake-uppers (that one is me).
- We briefly gather mid-morning and I offer a creative tool or technique, something to start the creativity flowing and help you settle into your project.
- Then you are on your own adventure for the day.
- Cozy up in your room, working in your pjs.
- Or rock on the porch with your laptop.
- Write on the beach or walk among the gingerbread cottages for some inspiration.
- You can spread out huge pads of paper and index cards and markers on the large table or hang them on the wall to give you an overview of your project. (All these supplies are provided. Woohoo – office supplies! Markers! Big pads!)
- Walk to one of the small restaurants in town for lunch.
- A nap might be an essential part of the day.
- Snacks are always available, but something special comes out around 3:00.
- We gather together for dinner and to talk through the day.
It’s a mix of quiet reflective time and focused creativity, blessedly alone or in the company of kindred spirits. It’s all up to you.
Because we all deserve the time and space to develop our own possibilities.
I’d love for you to make your dream come true. Just two open spots remain.
Read all the details or take a peek at some photos and see how participants describe it.
Curious about me?
Joyce wrote a blog post about her experience, as did Sandy.
Have a question? Leave me a comment.
Ah, summertime. Long days of lazing in the hammock, sipping lemonade while trying to decide whether the time is right to take that nap. Days that seem to last forever. Birds singing, trees rustling gently in the breeze, sun warming you through and through.
Oh — your summer hasn’t exactly been like that? That’s the life of the passionate business owner — so much to do, client deadlines to meet, projects waiting to start, client needs to resolve.
I’m realizing that I need a summer vacation not so much FROM my business as WITH my business. We haven’t spent enough time hanging out together lately and just thinking.
Do you take time to listen to your business?
Do you take time to care and nurture it and guide it into the way you want it to go?
I mean think about it — if we aren’t taking advantage of doing the work we want to do, when we want to do it, how we want to do it, with the spirit we want to share with the world, then why are we doing it?
Here are some questions I plan to explore:
- Some blue-sky big-picture thinking about my business itself, not on individual client work or projects.
- What are we steering toward?
- Any course corrections needed?
- What comes easiest to me in the business? When am I my best self with clients?
- And how do I make sure I do more of that.
My business deserves this. So does yours.
And if you and your business would like to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, consider our If I Just Had Some Time retreat in September.
I find myself in a strangely familiar place — somewhere between what has been and what wants to become. I can feel the reinvention that wants to happen. I know the two end points. But now is a still point — imbued with that special quiet as morning emerges — the in-between before the next.
I’ve been here before, sort of. Like many of you, I’ve reinvented my life a few times. I’ve followed my intuition and jumped into new careers, moved my family to an island that felt like home, created a business.
My usual MO, though, is to jump forward and grab the future and Make It Happen. And here is where the sort of comes in — that’s not how it feels this time.
So quiet. It’s like catching a glimpse of something from the corner of your eye, and on turning your head to focus on it… it’s gone.
I am catching whispers:
Stay open and see what comes.
If you know me at all, you know that patience is NOT my superpower. In fact, it might be my Kryptonite. So this waiting is uncomfortable and more than disconcerting.
Thin Places — Holy Space, Sacred Ground
Celtic traditions speak of thin places, places on this earth where the distance between heaven and earth feels especially thin and you can feel the divine.
Canterbury Shaker Village is a thin place for me. I absorb the energy created by a community of men and women living there for decades, praying and believing “Hands to work, and hearts to God.” It’s a place of peace and has a sense of rightness, where I breathe expansively, only then realizing just how tightly I’d been holding on. It is indeed an in-between space of heaven and earth.
Poet Sharlande Sledge describes it:
“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.
Metaphorically, I am in a thin place right now.
So I am waiting and staying open and listening for that still voice. Looking for any small step I can take to test my footing and direction.
Like sharing my thoughts with you here.
“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Image: “Misty View” courtesy of Dan Phiffer creative commons license
There is a power in words. Especially at the dawn of a new year.
One well-chosen word can hold more truth and opportunity than a list of resolutions. My practice is to replace that traditional list of Shoulds with a word to be my guidepost for the coming year.
Sometimes the word gently finds me. Other years it takes a few weeks of thought.
It could be your biggest longing, highest hope. A quality you want to invite more of into your life. Something to celebrate. Reflect upon. Meditate. Incorporate into your life in a new way. Or release.
Last year I chose two words, linked: Creativity and Community.
I played with bringing more of both into my daily life and my business. I printed it on the cover of my day planner. I added it as a signature in my emails. I painted a sign for my studio. I lived with it, breathed it in and out, checked in on decisions and plans with it.
This year my word is Layers.
I think of it as overlaying layers of meaning and richness.
Or taking away layers — stripping to the essence. Sloughing off layers of the extraneous. Of old stories that are no longer helpful.
Letting go while adding.
In my business, SEO itself is becoming more layered and nuanced. It’s never been cut and dried, but it is becoming ever more contextual and personalized. Search optimization is about your customer more than about your product. The center has shifted. (Hmmm…. I sense a blog post coming.)
And my belief that as a business owner your business brings you face to face with your values, beliefs, doubts, opportunities — that adds a layer of spirituality or consciousness on top of the day-to-day work.
I can’t wait to see where layers takes me.
Is a word calling to you this year? Claim yours in the comments, if you would like to share. (I’d love to read it.)
This morning I was sipping coffee in an Adirondack chair beside my garden, listening to the birds and writing in my journal.
Which quickly became a lengthy to-do list of garden tasks, chronicalling all that was yet undone. (Did I mention it was lengthy??)
We have friends staying near us for the week, and they wandered over to start their day. As they settled into their chairs they mentioned how much they loved the garden… and the pond… and the birds… and the…..
A shift in perspective.
While I was focusing on what remained to be done, they were enjoying what already was. And as I looked around from their perspective, the garden DID look great.
Of course, I don’t just do this in my garden. I so often get caught up in plans and futures and possibilities and always-more-that-I-could-do better for family, friends and clients.
And while living in my vision of the future, I miss out on all the goodness that is here.
Back to Business
What can you enjoy about your business today? What can you appreciate even though it is not yet where you want it to be?
I’d really love to hear.