Personal Retreat Action Plan

A Personal Retreat is an act of self-love and self-care. It’s a gift to yourself. It can be long or short. A couple of hours alone on a park bench, or an overnight in a fancy hotel, or several days in a location important to you (like I did).

When I decided to do a Personal Retreat, I wanted to make sure I accomplished what I set out to do.  First, I identified what I wanted to get out of it::

  • recharge – set life in a new direction
  • get unstuck – reconnect with myself
  • revisit goals – find new insights
  • brainstorm solutions – get clarity
  • transformation

I wanted space to rejuvenate, recollect, and reflect on life, on the past, and on my future.

I identified the main transformative activities I would do:

  • Reading
  • Journaling
  • Mediation/prayer
  • Gratitude
  • Walking

I brought with me a book that I wanted to work through that focused on personal change, a large blank sketchbook for notes and doodles and whatever, healthy food (the place I stayed had a microwave and fridge in the room so I didn’t have to interrupt my retreat to go off in search of food in town).

I roughly outlined my days with time for reading, time for reflection, time for physical activity (walking/hiking the trails and the long driveway of the ranch), and time for fun (horseback riding!).  I alternated transformative practice with relaxation and physical activity.’

After the retreat, I wanted to come up with an Action Plan of how to live out any new ideas or new intentions, but that wasn’t really something I could plan ahead, since I didn’t know what sorts of transformations or ideas were going to come out of the experience.

Now I plan to do a check-in with myself after a week of being home.  That will be tomorrow night.

Taking a Personal Retreat isn’t complicated. It just takes a little planning and thinking ahead. For myself, I think choosing the book to work through might have been the hardest part, but in this circumstance I’d already found the book and had started the process at home. The location was easy for me and sort of presented itself. I’d say trust your intuition about where you could go for some serenity and space for reflection.

If you take a Personal Retreat, I hope you find it beneficial and enlightening.

A personal retreat

I’d been feeling restless. My job is just a job. I kept sensing there’s something more I could be doing that would bring more fulfillment or more … something. Partly, I knew I needed a vacation, so I scheduled two weeks off.

And then the idea came to me to take a short Personal Retreat. A time of focus, and questions, and maybe even some answers (if I got lucky).

The horse camp I went to as a kid has become a guest ranch for anyone, so I decided to take a trip back in time and spend three nights at Flying Horseshoe Ranch in Cle Elum, Washington.

I had a book I’d planned to work through (Something More by Sarah ban Breathnach). I brought a big blank sketchbook for notes, doodles, whatever. I brought simple food I could heat up in the in-room microwave so I didn’t have to worry about scrounging for food in town. Brought along CDs of a favorite poet/teacher to listen to in the car.

It was an interesting time. Peace and quiet. Heartache and joy. Physical pain (my bad hip didn’t care for horseback riding). I have a notebook now with lots of thoughts outlined for further reflection. I didn’t know when I started this process how many answers I’d have at the end of the Retreat, or if I’d just end up with further questions. Now looking back, I think it’s a little of both. I feel some sense of direction, but there are many details to figure out.

Coming home, I felt rejuvenated, but also exhausted. I took a good nap, hung out with my cats, and spent some time on my back deck working more in my notebook. I want to bring some of the Retreat habits back home with me. I don’t want to lose the momentum that started with this time away. It’ll be interesting to see what the long term effects are from this time of concentrated reflection and self-care.

Over the next week, I’m going to share more about the practical how-to steps I followed for my personal retreat, and I’ll also share a few of the insights and answers I received. Honestly, I hope it’s just the beginning of an on-going journey and exploration.