Happy Sunday night – I took a few hours off today to go to an afternoon-long Urban Women’s Yoga retreat led by Kimberly Wilson. Kimberly Wilson’s New Year’s retreats have a special meaning for me, even though this is only the second one I have been to – I first went to one in January 2009, and, looking back, I think I knew 2009 would be a year of a lot of changes in terms of my personal life. That retreat is when a lightbulb went off in my head about truly understanding self-care – that self-care is about connecting with one-self, not just making sure you get enough sleep, take your vitamins, have a nice bubble bath and so forth. I was not feeling well at the retreat – I had just come off months and months of antibiotics, moved cities, started a new job a couple of months earlier, and generally felt shell-shocked – and that retreat was very soothing and restorative. I remember that day In January being one of the first where I could just sort of take a day off and breathe. And also, it was coming home from that retreat that I engaged with new resolve in research on gluten, celiac, food allergies and other issues.
What is nice about attending these retreats more than once is that they become a bit like measuring markers. Later in 2009, I went to another retreat, with a similar format, that Kimberly also led: the Summer Solstice Retreat. By then, I was starting to feel a little bit better (I had been off gluten and dairy for about two months then). I also got to meet the lovely Melita at that retreat, which was one of the first times I had ever met a fellow blogger and blog reader. In fact, I blogged about blog friendships soon after. Today, I am fortunate to have developed many more friendships, both through my blog and in real life, but that distinction has blurred over time. Today I saw Julia, Carol and Tiffany and met the lovely Miriam too.
Today’s retreat included meditation, yoga, reflection and art journaling. Until today, I had not been to one of Kimberly’s retreat since June 2009, mainly because of scheduling, but I attended three art journaling workshops that she led in 2011 (January, July, November) which, in their own way, served as mini retreats (minus the yoga component) and allowed me to have that feeling of measuring markers and seeing how things have changed in my life. A little retreat (even just three hours like today) is a nice way to take a step back from the go-go-go nature of many of our lives. And it does not have to be solely around the new year either – for example, Kimberly’s next Urban Women’s Yoga Retreat is in September.
I made a couple of art journal pages and included some reflections today, directly in my art journal as opposed to in a separate one. The pages are not quite done, so instead I am sharing with you the art journal spread I made last weekend, mainly on Sunday, for 2012. It was a nice way to Recap 11 for 2011 and look to 2012, though I also enjoyed complementing that exercise with today’s retreat.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers