Retreat: Seclude to Renew Your Soul

“Retreat!”

It’s one of those words that comes loaded with visual and visceral meaning.

Loaded with imagery of a military fleeing from the vanquisher.

Loaded with connotation of failure. Defeat. Giving up.

So, it’s not my favorite word. After all, my very NAME means VICTORY!

I’m a loyalist who’s in-it-to-win-it. A long-termer. A responsibilitarian. A get-it-done kinda gal.

But I also have learned to read the wind.

And for the last few months, I and my husband have felt a call in the wind to a time of relative seclusion.

(I say “relative” because we are, in fact, parents, homeschoolers, and business owners!)

We’ve made a lifestyle out of serving others.

I absolutely love people. I get energy from being with others. I love to treasure hunt people and I love to  create space for them to flourish inside and out. I love to convene people, teach and inspire people, and pour into people.

I’m a possibilitarian, brimming with ideas to change the world.

People-energized possibilitarians, however, can find themselves depleted if they’re not intentional. We must not let our outside world to grow bigger than our inside world.

And now the wind of the Spirit invites us to the Well to draw up refreshment.

It’s not time for extra activities.

It’s not time for self-imposed deadlines.

It’s not time for more output.

It’s time to expand our inside world.Retreat: Getting reacquainted with Granny's bible

  • Our family is savoring reading together and enjoying our woodstove.
  • We’re recalibrating our household and family rhythms.
  • I’ve reacquainted myself with my Granny’s old Bible, receiving her counsel through her notes and underlines.
  • We’re attending to some much-needed home improvements.
  • I’m reorganizing our homeschool to expand our fun
  • We’re looking ahead and dreaming together of some travel plans.
  • I’m parting with some belongings that no longer serve us.

 

These are some of the practical things that we’re doing in our respite season. Above all, I’m creating a mindset of open space where we can do whatever we want.

REtreat: Doing Much Needed Kitchen RemodelI’m also choosing to s.l.o.w. d.o.w.n. and look anew at things that I daily rush past.

  • At Christmas, I wrote letters to my family via ink instead of keyboard
  • We’ve pulled out my brother’s Hardy Boys books and my 8 and 10 year old are going on daily adventures with Frank and Joe Hardy.
  • I’ve started to fill in missing books in my childhood book collections for my kids – or maybe it’s for me. (Back in the day, we had to hunt through musty bookstores to find missing editions. Now, eBay!)
  • I’m rediscovering my (somewhat dry) calligraphy pens and admiring those who truly have a skill for this.
  • We’re playing games that have been shrink-wrapped too long, moving them from well-intended acquisitions into playtime.

Upon reflection, these things of which I have unthinkingly deprived myself are – while the most ordinary are also the most human, the most connecting. Somehow, in my daily press of constant creating, REtreat: Spending Time Baking with KidsI’m prone to overlook these pleasures. I have too often chosen the effective over the affective.

These things that I’ve been wishing I “had time for” have crowded a LONG list of “the things I’ll never get to.” Well, I’m turning my nevers into nows because I’m a Life Reclaimist and because I want to.

A congruent and ordered life includes mental and spiritual space for both the prosaic and the profound. I want both in my life.

And I’m purposely NOT making a list of the outstanding household projects because I refuse for my Reclaimist Retreat to morph into some kind of frantic household “catch up.” Because this isn’t about productivity, this is about soul care.

My Reclaimist Retreat did NOT happen because I was burnt out, tired of what I’m doing, or overwhelmed. It is to protect me from internal atrophy.

I’m still a born builder determined to improve the world, but I won’t sacrifice the commonplace for the marketplace. I’m still consulting, speaking, and writing, all of which I love.

But my schedule has changed. Boundary lines have emerged around my home fire. And my Granny’s handwriting, detective novels, and my farmhouse are beckoning. I’m doing things I don’t normally take time for, right in the middle of my blended life. The pedestrian things of life have become more pronounced somehow.

Do you need a Reclaimist Retreat? I don’t know. But you will. When you feel the internal water level receding. When the wind blows away your desire for activity. When your outside world is receiving more tending than your inside world. And then, to those who are paying attention, a providential invitation will be issued to come away. And inexplicably, seclusion will paradoxically create community and retreat will lead to success.

Yours in Life Reclamation,

Vicki Norris

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