A little alone time is good for the soul!

Posted by A. Smith on Dec-13-2011

Some of my favorite work with clients revolves around identity, helping clients peel back the onion and discover (or rediscover) their core. So, a few weeks ago, when I went away for two nights by myself, I decided to turn the tables and do the work myself. It was an amazing experience, and I encourage every one to take time out, look inward, and think about how they want to show up in the world.

Here’s a glimpse of my personal retreat:

I left on a Sunday afternoon at kickoff. Not easy for a diehard Steelers fan who cherishes our family tradition of cheering on the black and gold. But, off I went, heading south to Ogunquit where nothing awaited me but a relaxing resort near the ocean. On my drive, I spontaneously decided to swing by the store and grab magazines and art supplies to create a vision board during my getaway. After all, I was on a mission to make the most of my time, to be productive, and to come back not only rejuvenated but also centered.

I grabbed sticky notes and jotted down a few things I wanted to accomplish during the course of my stay and stuck them on the mirror in my room. From there on out, any thought I had – a goal, a quote, an affirmation, or an idea – was recorded this same way. Within 48 hours my mirror was covered with uncensored musings. I loved it.

For the next two days, I ate healthy foods, sipped on Peeper Ale, enjoyed a hot rock massage, watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, went for a beautiful run, took naps, read in the middle of the night, shopped in boutiques, discovered the artwork of Kelly Rae Roberts, and wrote like mad. But, mostly I emptied out – I let go. And, I reflected on the good things in life, and I refilled. And, it was magic.

At the end of my second night, I flipped through the magazines I bought and cut out anything and everything that resonated with me. I thought about the current blessings in my life and contemplated the things I want to attract in my future. Before I knew it, words and pictures were strewn across the king size bed. My vision board was coming to fruition.

But, my work wasn’t done. The next morning, I took the dozens of sticky notes off my mirror and one by one listed them onto a page entitled, “Lessons learned from within on how to be happy.” What I loved was that I didn’t sit down cold and start writing from scratch – everything I was putting down on paper emerged from within during a very conscious state. It was organic. My ideas had culminated in a mantra, a creed of sorts that could help keep me centered when I returned to the real world.

I had an incredible sense of accomplishment. It was amazing to take my experience and expertise, usually stored for clients, and unleash my core – to think about how I want to show up in the world.

While vision boards and happiness creeds might not be for everyone, I do believe each and every person stands to benefit from pausing life, spending time completely alone, and exploring who they are, what they stand for, how they can learn from the past and from others, and their desired future. It’s something I have done for clients for years, and I am grateful that I finally gave myself permission to do it for me.

It was cathartic, life affirming. I returned home believing more than ever that despite the many trials we face, LIFE IS GOOD. And, I will always RISE.



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