Retreats are a time for self-discovery. As an artist, you may go on creative retreats to learn more about making art. But you might also seek out personal retreats that feed your soul and, therefore, your art. This post is about those kinds of retreats.
As you may know, I just returned from Christine Kane’s Great Big Dreams retreat in the Smoky Mountains. While this is on my mind, I wanted to take time to write down some things I learned about getting the most out of a retreat–in hopes it will help you prepare for your next retreat.
The retreat is time for yourself. It is not social time. Resist the urge to go with a friend, especially if you don’t know the personal journey of that friend.
Carve out time before you go to think about why you are going–even if it’s just an hour. What do you want from your time away? How do you want to feel during the retreat and after it? Write about it.
Get maps of everywhere you’re going to go. Know the lay of the land. Getting lost will make you frustrated and ruin some of the good work you’ve done. (This is from an avid map reader who got lost and frustrated in Asheville!)
Along similar lines, spend time on the Web site of wherever you’re going so you can become familiar with it. We were at a place with a long history and a lot of land that I really hadn’t explored until I arrived.
Set aside quiet time after the retreat. While I was anxious to get home, I kind of wish I had an extra day to be by myself and digest the experience. Even a half a day would have been nice.
Tell us about your favorite retreats and what you gained from them.