Retreat... RETREAT! (No, really...)

(Disclosure: I am in an affiliate relationship with Jen, meaning, if this post turns you on enough to sign up for Jen Louden's February Virtual Retreat, I'll get a little money for it. You are welcome to also go directly to her site.)

Having said that, yay! Retreat!

First of all Jen is running some blog posts all week about "how to find your voice, your truth, your authenticity – that thing everyone tells you you need to be successful and happy. The last blog post offers a free excellent e-book giveaway."

Cool, right? Go here to check out the first post in the series.

So, then Jen is suggesting that I write a little somethin' somethin' about why retreats are good, how they help unlock your creativity, why I might want to do one, why you might want to do one, and I was like, hmmmm...

Oh yeah! I do have some experience with this!

About nine years ago, when I was 7 months pregnant with my last son, I learned of a women-only retreat being held 10 minutes from my house in this cool little Swedenborgian retreat center nestled amongst wooded hills.

I knew it would probably be my last chance for a solo getaway for a few years (yeah, I'm *that* kind of mom). The hubs was all, yeah go for it, and I'm forever grateful for his willingness to hang with other three sons and do whatever guys do when mom takes off.

The schedule included Friday night and all of Saturday, with an option to stay at the center an extra night, which I totally went for. The workshops held included Dream Journaling, Proprioceptive Writing, yoga, and a drawing hike on which I was gifted with an elusive (and possible illegal) red-tailed hawk feather.

The optional second night, on which no workshops were held, gave me time to lie in bed with a notebook and finish a story I volunteered to write for my mom-in-law's book group... a little piece, (pre-DaVinci Code, thankyouverymuch!), written as Mary Magdalene and her spiritual love affair with Jesus.

I had been stuck for some time trying to get this thing done, and having a quiet night, after a nurturing 30 hours, the writing just flowed, and even the idyllic setting I was in found its way into the story. (And it's with a little thrill that I tell you this was my first published piece of writing!! Not available on Amazon though, sorry...I don't think. Wait, lemme go check. OMG! It is... !)

Anyway. I cherish that weekend, and was so glad I took the time to to do it before plunging back in to baby-land.

My second retreat ever was self-imposed, even closer to home... actually in my home... and inspired by Susan Piver's book, "How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy and Joy" which included the 7 Day Freedom from Fear Meditation Program.. the first 36 hours of which involve, well, retreating.

I was fortunate enough to be able to plan this the first weekend my family left for the Jersey Shore for a few days, and so as not to bore you with details here, I've already written about it here. And here. And when I 'returned', here. (And Susan popped by in the comments to wish me well. Bonus!)

So yeah. Retreats. In any form. Go for it.

Highly recommended, and here I am wondering as I'm writing this, why it's been almost two years since I retreated. And why I'm only telling you all to go do this thing with Jen, and not doing it myself.

I'm so obviously due. Join me?

That link again to her blog post series (no sign up necessary to read!:)

Disclosure: links to books on Amazon are also affiliate-related...