*I wrote this post last year for Wisteria & Sunshine, but feel it is the perfect post for us to begin with here, as-unbeknownst to me at the time-it was during this little solo biz retreat that the seeds for Rosehip Business were planted in my heart!*

retreatbreakfast

WHO LOOKS OUTSIDE, DREAMS; WHO LOOKS INSIDE, AWAKES

~ Carl Jung

The first evening of my retreat, after supper in a music-filled cafe with my deario, I allowed myself some hours online, searching out any little trails I found to follow whose signs seemed to point in the direction my feet,  my heart, my soul seem to be going. I put together words like “intuitive business” “soulful entrepreneur” “heart-centered solopreneur.” In all of my wanderings, tho’, I came only across one podcast that echoed a bit of what whispers to me lately.

I shut my computer and put it aside, nestled into the bedclothes and the restful dark, saw the snow falling on the limbs of the huge oak tree outside my room, and remembered…accepted…again…that I don’t need to go a-seeking as much as I do. I’ve learned this lesson more easily in the rest of my life than in the trying-to-make-a-living part. But as I closed my eyes, I murmured a prayer to remember more quickly the next time…and the next…

circleoftheyearmaking

The next morning, just after breakfast, I got right to the finishing of my Circle of the Year calendar. It felt good to be finally completing it, washing whole weeks with pink watercolor to signify my rests from work, stamping suns and moons and vines to evoke the qualities of the months, writing down the days that I want to become more significant to me as I meet them each year…

The doing of it after thinking about it for so long was nourishing…good.

Then it was on to accomplishing more of the tasks on my map. Many of these tasks are about simplifying, but as the weekend wore on, I started to see that many of them I need never have taken on in the first place. They were “good” ideas gathered here and there in the over-abundance of information I’d taken in over the past few years online. One of my to-dos was to craft a new email signature, one that I could use for all of my businesses, one that made it easy for someone who wanted to know more about what I do to find out. I asked for some examples in the business community I belong to (perhaps not for long!) and received a few replies, one that stated how “unprofessional” a signature with a picture is. While I was in the forum, I came across another post with a link to an article titled (I kid you not) “17-things-you-should-do-to-every-blog-post-before-after-you-hit-publish”.

The response about my signature illustration helped me quickly (if a little offendedly) realize that I don’t really need other’s opinions (tho’ examples can be helpful at times). The advice about blog posts made me laugh out loud, fortunately, and the laughter was a glimmer of some of the true goodness ahead in my retreat.

retreatbreakfastbowl

I think that even if you are not in the online biz world but are retired, or homeschooling your children or whatever-your-life-may-be-like…you may feel your own version of how all of the business advice is making me feel? So many strategies/approaches/shoulds. So many voices, opinions, “experts”, people with something to sell. I am a person with something to sell, too, and I acknowledge how much I sometimes need connection with others on my path. But I have been both for quite a long time (almost twenty years) and can still remember what it felt like when I was blithely creating my website without anyone’s advice (and doing just fine with it) and finding kindred spirits in the gentle, non-commercial Victoria magazine “Business of Bliss” forum. How those worlds have changed, and how I’ve allowed myself to be changed by them…or, at least, influenced.

retreatbreakfasttulips

In the middle of my retreat, everything became a muddle. I was questioning all of my recent decisions, steps, aware of the pressure I have felt from certain directions, noticing all over again that I am thinking and seeking more than I am doing and being. When I came out on the other side of the confusion, I had fresh energy and freedom…the freedom to pluck many of those to-dos off my map…and tear out pages of notes full of other people’s advice. It’s not that I don’t benefit from other’s experiences and sharings…they are nectar to sip and morning dew to bathe my face in at times. But lately, they have felt too much like factory-made convenience food, chosen unwisely during an empty-stomached grocery shop. And I feel the same way I do after leaving a big grocery store (even a Whole Foods : )…exhausted and overwhelmed and not really taking home what I was hoping to when I thought to make the trip.

retreatbreakfastinfluence

On the last evening of my retreat, without everything figured out (or felt out, should I say?), but a small stack of plans and patterns of my own creating for me to take home, I settled down to watch a movie for a treat. It was The Devil Wears Prada, one of those movies I can rewatch every so often with pleasure. This viewing, tho’, I saw it with different eyes. And as I watched Andy get pulled away from her friends and loves with the demands of her new job, pulled into a world and then slowly have the true nature of that world revealed to her, and end by pulling herself back out and signifying so by flinging her cellphone (the clamorous connection to her boss and that world) into a Parisian fountain.

I am doing my own flinging (and have done it before and will, no doubt, have to do it again) as I add to the pile of tearings and pluckings begun during my retreat…sifting through the files and notebooks that have made it through recent parings-down…discovering there is more sifting to do now that I feel released from neediness. I plan to have a fire on my birthday and let them go fully and completely.

tangles(Through the Tangles? A tiny recent painting)

There was a moment during my retreat when it all seemed so clear…how we let the Too Muchness of the world get to us, especially through our devices…and I could see how it satisfies the “market”…the powers that want us to feel lacking and unsure. I wondered if we are all so busy seeking and looking for answers or just taking in so much…that we are distracted from the conversations we might be having, or the creation we might be bringing into being, the thoughts we might be putting down on paper, the wind that might be playing with our hair?

The clarity isn’t so strong now, but I will keep feeling my way, even so.

Are you also feeling your way? Can you take the time to tell us about it?