So I’ve been in Maine for almost a week now with the family and I am going to be here for another week. Maine for two weeks? Sounded boring at first—that was, until I set an intention for my time here. I vowed I would spend my time focusing on writing, exercising, reading, and just soaking myself in my own little world of creativity. Even more importantly, I didn’t tell myself I have to write this much each day, I have to do this and get this done by then, blah blah blah. I just generally told myself I would use this as a ‘ME’ retreat (which is funny because ME are the initials for Maine) to get back in touch with what I love.
So far, so great. I finished a novel, started another one, have been reading poetry, writing poetry, meditating, doing yoga, going for walks, and I even spent four hours yesterday drawing! Another great breakthrough—every morning when I wake up I have been free writing, long hand, in my journal for as long as I need (a tip I picked up from ZenHabits). Before I even start the day and fill my mouth with coffee and my head with computer pixels, I just write. One day I wrote about my dream, another day I wrote about what I was thinking during my meditation, and the other morning I wrote the beginnings of a short story.
This retreat really filtered out all the distractions that I find back home and it has really released all the pent up creativity that has been bringing me down lately. I’ve felt unsuccessful, like I’ve been wasting my time because I haven’t been writing pages and pages each day. I have found all sorts of outlets of creativity here—not just writing—that have made me feel whole again and satisfied. I have taken little steps each day—five minute meditation, ten minute yoga, thirty minute walk, thirty minutes of writing—to feel fulfilled by the end of the day. I’ve been trying to stay in the present instead of projecting future goals and whatnot. By living fully in the present, I find myself doing what I want in that moment and spending as long as I need on it. Without time limits and goals, I’ve been much more productive than usual.
Bottom line: It’s okay to let go. It’s okay to input rather than output. It’s okay to soak rather than stir. Let yourself have a week or two to take in creativity rather than feeling you need to produce it like a creative factory. Take everything in, appreciate it, meditate on it, and it will settle inside you and eventually spill out in the form of a beautiful poem, story, drawing, song, etc.