Learning, growing, sleeping. A New Zealand retreat.

I’ve been away for nearly two months, and I’m straight back into a new role at work when I get back. I want to give this my all, spend time with my neglected family and all my important people, and keep my momentum with newly forming long term goals.

I’ll be focusing on my health as a whole, being my best every day and accepting that my best will not look the same every day. I will always have a propensity to overthink, to judge myself harshly. I have realised I sometimes expect perfection, first try, no space for learning. To the extent that I sometimes give up before I’ve really started. I have been terrified of failing, it’s possibly time I was more scared of having regrets.

My time in New Zealand has been incredible, and difficult, and unique. I am so grateful to have had this time. I’m proud of myself for making it happen. I was surprised at first by how overwhelming it was to have so much time alone. It felt like my brain was against me. Everything jumbled up and chaotic, thoughts and emotions running blindly from the sudden spotlight placed on them.
I expected to just enjoy it straight away – peace, tranquillity, switching off – who gets to do that? And for two whole months? As it turns out, facing yourself, with no structure and just two dogs for company (which limits the conversational opportunities) takes some getting used to. It felt less like luxurious retreat, more flung out into the vast blankness of space. I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide.

As the weeks have passed I’ve learned to be at ease with myself. A little bit. Some days a lot. It’s a work in progress. I’m at the point where I think being home will be too loud and probably a bit of a culture shock. I’m not this whole new person. I still overthink, get anxious, have lazy days just at the point when I need to be pro-active (still can’t fathom if that’s self-destruction or a weird stress response) but my perspective has changed. Ideas have been allowed to percolate and actually reach some sort of conclusion. Without distractions, I have been able to step back from some difficult emotions and thoughts, and untangle them. I’m ready to focus on my goals, be brave, be kind to myself.

And of course after the first two weeks or so I wasn’t totally on my own. I gradually got integrated into the community here. I’ve been included in the walking club, weekly yoga classes, gym sessions, a rock concert which caused major house envy and solidified some grown up life goals…they say I’ve lowered the average age of the community considerably, but I don’t think that’s the only reason they’ve kept me around! The sense of simple community is something I want to carry home with me. I’m not sure how that will transform into home life yet, but I guess I can figure that out once the jetlag subsides.

I’ve been able to enjoy fireside lunches and coffee on my own, read countless books, filled a notebook (or two) with work related ideas and research in a way I never have before. Cosied up with the dogs during storms and survived a power cut. Hosted dinners and morning tea, baked, meditated, cried, laughed, cried laughing. Gathered stories and shared my own. Challenged myself and allowed myself time.

Now. The mist has burned off the mountains after a frankly dismal morning, so I’m taking the winding road down to my yoga teacher’s for coffee and a chat about future pet sitting potential. Word got round quickly and I think she’s called dibs. At this rate I’m going to have to figure out some flexible working hours just so I can enjoy these international pet sits.

My ‘take-aways’ from this time, to remind myself as much as anything:

Do the best you can, whatever that looks like today, that’s ok.
Don’t go to battle with your own head.
Take the opportunities to connect with people, you never know where it will lead.
Walk, breathe, drink the wine, eat the cake.
Brave is better than fearless.

8 thoughts on “Learning, growing, sleeping. A New Zealand retreat.

Add yours

  1. Hi

    We have just read your blog with our morning cuppa…

    You have explored an experience that few are brave enough to embark upon!!!

    Only time will tell the impact on your way forward

    Time out and battery charging or change of mindset, clarity for lifestyle choices

    You are very brave hanging on in there and it has been wonderful and gobsmacking to hang on to your coat tails.

    Love and hugs Mum and Dad xxxxxxx Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Great blog Charlie,
    I hope that your time away helps you to go forward with your life in a strong and positive manner so that you can achieve all that you are more than capable of!!
    Xx

    Like

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