field trips, research, sharing our notes
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Planning a solo retreat : From the woods, to the motels, to the kitchen tables of your life
In an effort to be less enmeshed with my significant other, the internet, my friends, and my peers - I find that true solitude with assignments, field trips, activities, and rest is the way to get back to my research and myself. To put it simply, when I do this, I feel hot, I feel cool, I don’t hate myself, and I dive deep into my work. I feel less forgotten when someone walks into another room because this experience of retreating is proof yet again that I never fully forget myself.
Planning your own retreat with list making :
🪞 Why do you want to be by yourself? What fears do you have about being alone? What places you would like to go, and for what length of time? I decided on two nights in a motel in Reno - it’s just under an hour away from my home and I lined it up with picking a friend up from the airport. I choose a cute motel in walking distance from art galleries and bookstores that was in my budget. Also I didn’t have to speak to a single human you just park in your spot, enter the code, and you’re in your room. Extremely pleasing to my Capricorn Moon.
Mapping out many different places, energies, and lengths of time is helpful when you feel yourself ready for the next trip. Save up for some camping gear if the woods sounds nice, plan a three hour retreat at the dining room table, or a week long trip in another country.
🪞What would you like to do on your retreat? Map out a few different containers so with ease you can dance in between them. I knew I wanted to watch tv and eat in bed alone, work on my quilt, develop a new online class, read fiction, and work on my next book. I did not allocate any amount of time for each container, I packed a suitcase and went on my way.
🪞What to pack : The more options the better, but you have to pack knowing you might not touch half of the things you bring. That is half of the retreat : accepting that you will do exactly what you need to do and trust in yourself that it is right on time.
I thought night one I would paint but instead I ordered an entire dominos pizza to myself and watched Succession. On my last morning I thought I would make Personal Practice videos or write but instead I danced alone without recording it and took self portraits. I brought - My quilt and supplies for hand quilting, little bluetooth speaker, face mask, step work notebook and literature, polaroid camera and film, blank paper, markers, sticky notes, water color paints, tea, easy to make food.
🪞 Plan field trips : I went to the most amazing Land Art exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art. I picked the city and motel first, then looked to see what was close. Just walking slowly in the museum, every room better than the next. I kept thinking - there I am there I am there I am. When you see yourself outside of the mirror of the people you love you see bright and clear. I walked to the bookstore and when I walked in How to Not Always Be Working was on one of the front tables. I have been emerging from a season of deep doubt, forgetting my impact and my spark. There’s nothing like walking into a bookstore and seeing yourself and thinking there I am there I am there I am to come back. I have been trying to read fiction for a decade with no luck and finally found it in Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman, the first in the Practical Magic series which if you know anything about me you know I am days away from my annual watch of the movie that made me know I was gay, a witch, obsessed with lavender, and that is was ok to love so big it could kill me.
🪞 Pleasure activation : Hot selfies for friends and crushes, dress up for only yourself, plan a zoom date, pack the vibrator, long hot showers, make videos to What a Girl Wants, go on a hike, don’t leave the room for 9 hours, make dozens of lists and tape them all over the wall, eat mac and cheese out of the microwave
🪞Keep Remembering : Solo retreats are to remember yourself. To remember you are sparkly when you are dripping cheese down your chin. Staring at your art from across the room and not touching it. And remembering that this permission is usually what brings you to standing up and starting. The permission to not start as the way to begin.
Lately in the Barry Cook-Parrott household we have been doing separate activities at night. Usually we finish dinner and just sort of meld into one blob that moves from the table to the couch for a variety of activities that range from very hot to watching The Bachelorette under separate blankets. It’s a gift to spend time in this way with someone you love beyond this dimension, but traveling to our separate dimensions has cultivated deeper self intimacy, which as Esther Perel promised us, creates more intimacy in our connection.
I share this to say - Jackie has been hosting her own evening retreats at the dining room table while I host my own in my studio. Jackie working on her series of blanket drawings with her headphones on while I write, quilt, and continue to watch my television program in my studio.
You do not have to go far to be alone. You do not have to go far to pay closer attention. You do not have to go far to cultivate internal security. You do not have to go far to come back to yourself.
Solange’s creative agency Saint Heron launches its free archive of rare books on Black art and design
Beverly Buchanan’s Earthworks
Beach Monday, Hidden Mountains
The banner outside the local Quilt Expo that read : Bee Inclined Quilt Club
John Prine : The Other Side of Town
OKIB Fire Recovery GoFundMe campaign : The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) is one of several communities that suffered destruction of homes and properties during the 2021 White Rock Lake fire. The fire ravaged through thousands of square kilometres of land during July and August this year, and led to the long-term evacuation of over 1,000 residents on the Indian Reserve #1
PRE ORDER : This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection by Jen Hewett
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