Recently, I had the good fortune to spend a few days at our family’s summer place. I often retreat there, even in winter time but there is something really special about the summer. I’m not sure if it’s the small town, ‘back in time’ feel or simply being surrounded by the ocean that does it. But once you are there for a few hours you start to feel the relaxation kick in. The worries and tension, all too common during divorce seem to melt away. Maybe it’s that first swim in the cold water on a hot day because under there, if only briefly our world is silent. We hear only muffled sounds of the ocean. We can tune out our mean girl voice and find a peaceful state of being. Finally, when we break the surface, we are refreshed. You can wear flip flops, shorts,unkempt hair, no makeup and go anywhere without feeling you’re not dressed enough. The idea is to avoid using the clock to dictate your activities here. If you’re tired, take a nap. If you feel like reading, read. If you’re hungry make a snack, who cares if it’s 9am, 3pm or 3 am? Do what you want on your summer retreat and let your body and mind dictate when that will be.
If you do not have the luxury of spending a night or two in a beach side cottage (preferably the kind where the floor is a little uneven, the dishes mismatched, the sheets worn to the softest cotton and a wood burning fireplace for evening) you can still capture some of the meditation and relaxation a summer retreat can bring. We’ll have to improvise a little. Pack up your beach bag, blanket, sunhat, journal and a good book. Find a quiet spot in a park or on the beach and begin your retreat. Have a nap, bring lots of snacks, go for a walk. Most importantly, don’t worry about anyone else. Concentrate on your thoughts and needs right now. You will return home refreshed and ready for a new day. For a reminder or if you haven’t yet read Recipe for summer Joy, check it out and add one thing from the recipe to your summer retreat.
I’ll leave you with a book recommendation. It’s a thoughtful summer read; Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s A Gift From the Sea. Anne wrote this book on her summer retreat in a seaside cottage with only her sister for company. She ruminates on the different phases of a woman’s life and compares them to different sea shells. It sounds trite but you will be taken by surprise at how relevant and astute it is today, even though it was originally published in 1955. I think you’ll relate to Anne. At the end of your summer retreat, your heart will have a few of those broken pieces nicely mended.
Where do you like to take a summer retreat?