Today, I’m a guest blogger on Lauren Scharhag’s blog, sharing my thoughts on…
THE IMPORTANCE OF RETREAT
BUG OUT! That’s what they called it on the TV show M*A*S*H. The enemy is getting closer, someone yells “Bug Out!” and everyone, everywhere packs up everything and bolts!
I use the same word, often, when it’s time to get away for a while. BUG OUT! You know that feeling, right? You’ve been working really hard, your To Do list hasn’t gotten any shorter, you can’t seem to get enough sleep, and coffee just isn’t working its usual magic.
It’s time to Retreat! Regroup! Withdraw! Escape!
I don’t think the battlefront vocabulary is all that off-base. We live in a world of battles — time, technology, schedules, workloads, deadlines. If you’re a creative type, somewhere in all of that you must also make room for the Muse who feeds your soul. And if your Muse is anything like mine, she lets you know when she’s hungry for more attention!
In the Scientific American article “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime,” (https://tinyurl.com/j7v6kyj) writer Ferris Jabr details study after study that confirm the importance of taking time off. He concludes that “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”
But we can’t all be like author Elizabeth Gilbert —a little overwhelmed, take a year off and travel the world to Eat Pray Love our way back to our creative selves. Not everyone has that luxury.
But here’s what I’ve learned about downtime…
IF…I give myself just a half hour to meditate or take a nap or walk in the woods? My Muse breathes.
IF…I give myself a day off, like a Sunday-Sabbath-resting day off? Then my Muse dances.
And IF…I am so lucky as to be able to take a true retreat — a suitcase, off-the-grid, away-from-things retreat — my Muse will pack up her stuff and come along with me. We’ll see things with fresh eyes, we’ll come up with new ideas, and we’ll start speaking to each other again.
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This post is part of a month-long, nationwide blog tour for my new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, hosted by Wow! Women on Writing. Buy the book today!