As the end of 2023 approached, I knew I needed a reset. I knew I needed to step back and re-evaluate my life, re-evaluate me. I felt like 2023 had beat me to a pulp and I wanted to do some self-care and prepare to go into 2024 differently. I wanted to leave behind some of the wounds that I have been caring for in 2023. So, on a boat in Fiji at the end of November I decided that I was going to take the week of Christmas off work and put together a plan for the week, a self-retreat.
Then in talking with my friend Sara Ann she was planning to do something similar. She too had a treacherous 2023 and wanted to make sure that she released all the things she didn’t want to take into 2024. We decided to do this together.
So, we set about planning. First Sara Ann put a high-level list together of what she wanted to do. She sent that list to me, and I dove in. Without even being conscious of it I put on my inner project manager and went to work. I took what Sara Ann wanted and what I wanted and found the common threads then I listed the days and began to map out each one. When I was done, we had an agenda for a full 7 days beginning on Christmas day. I sent the email back to Sara Ann feeling that familiar sense of accomplishment and checking something off the list. Then I went to bed, as I laid in bed trying to sleep, I found myself replaying the agenda in my head and asking these questions. “Wait a minute, didn’t you want to take this week off of work?” “Didn’t you want to clean out that closet that week, have lunch with another friend, workout at the gym, spend some time with my youngest and prepare for the four-legged new addition that I had coming?”
As I laid in bed, I could feel the exhaustion setting in, that feeling that I get when I know that I have over planned myself. Something I can be very good at if I let my unconscious have the driver’s seat of my life. I knew this wouldn’t work.
Two days later, Sara Ann and I had dinner with a desire to talk through the plan for our retreat. I explained how I was feeling and that I didn’t want that week to feel stuffed or like work. She didn’t want that either and had her own list of other things that she wanted to fit into the week.
Out of that dinner discussion we hatched a plan, what if we take the agenda and let it be our guide, but we simply fly by the seat of our pants each day? Meaning, start on Christmas with what we had planned that day but at the end of that decide if we want to work on anything the next day or just work on it separately or take the day off entirely.
As we moved through each day, we just planned in the moment for what we would take on the next day. We took two days entirely off. We worked separately some days and just checked in on zoom. She got her other things done and I got all my other things in too. Most importantly by the end of the week I didn’t feel like I had worked all week and we had gotten through the entire agenda.
I did look at my beliefs and vision for all the areas of my life. I did build a theme and a focus for 2024 and mapped out a plan for what I wanted to accomplish. Additionally, I looked at all the roles that I have played and do play in my life (daughter, sister, mother, wife, girlfriend, business owner, writer, etc., etc.) and we prepared a sacred fire ceremony to release all those roles. This is such a powerful practice to do because with all those roles, each one of them has multiple programs attached to them. The programs that society tells us about the role, the programs from our family and the program that we can even create for ourselves around them. Letting those roles and all the associated programming burn in that fire felt like 50 pounds being lifted from my shoulders. It was the perfect wrap up exercise to our retreat.
We celebrated the completion of our retreat by going to the beach on New Year’s Day and picnicking in the southern California sunshine. Welcome 2024! I am SOOO GLAD you are here!
Here are a few questions for you to take to your favorite journal, walk in nature or morning shower.
- Do you ever over plan your life? If so, when? Do you know what might trigger you to over plan? Do you know what you get by over planning?
- If you commit to a plan with something and deep in your gut you know you need to change that plan, how difficult is that for you to do? Why?
- If you were to be released from all the programs of all the roles that you play in this world, what would that feel like? What comes up for you when I ask that? Are there particular roles that you feel really attached to? Why?
I blog because I love the process of pondering my experiences, questioning myself, uncovering new layers, identifying the lessons along the way even in the struggles. If you want to question yourself, then subscribing to my email list will ensure you have an opportunity to do that. I blog about once a month, maybe twice a month so you will not receive a ton of emails from me, only what I hope to be the best questions that we can ask ourselves to be better tomorrow than we were today.
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