You’re a person who likes to write, or at least you used to like to write, although you’ve kind of slacked off in the past while. Totally slacked off, actually. Last summer you went to a writing retreat at Mount Shasta with the Writing Project. At the last minute you were asked to help lead it and that was great. You got to be a sounding board and commenter for other writers, and in between you had time to revitalize your blog.
You really love to go away from home to write. A few years ago you spent a week at the Grand Canyon writing with a group of women. Sunrise at Mather Point, stuff like that. That was a dream. You drove there on your own personal road trip, listening to lots of Ricardo Arjona music. There was other music too, but you just mostly remember the Arjona songs whose words were so timely. After the retreat was over you went to New Mexico, to Albuquerque, to visit that friend of your mom’s, then cruised up to Taos for a couple of days. That was the summer of the tiny black mandalas. You made several of them a day. They were like little spirit messages from the inner you to the outer you.
You spent two days in Chimayo, and completely fell in love with it. You made plans to spend some time there again in the future. There was something about the whole road trip writing retreat thing that was so revitalizing. Music in the car, doing things that challenged you like going swimming in a bathing suit in the hotel pool, meeting new people and writing and drawing for hours every day. It was great, and you felt stronger, more yourself, after it was over.
But that was a long time ago. Life happens, and you’ve been a little sad and a little detached from that inner calm for a while. Not terrible, but sad enough to quit writing. Nothing seems worth saying, and when you reread your old journals you realize that you’ve already said what you were just going to say. In fact you’ve said the same things again and again for years. So you take pictures and draw and make mosaics and just avoid writing. You’ve been busy, too, ever since your new son came into your life a year or so ago. You don’t have much alone time any more. At least that’s what you tell yourself. When you’re not writing.
Now you have the opportunity for another road trip writing retreat, in Taos, no less. It involves writing and yoga and pastries and dancing and collage. You wonder how those things even go together, and you wonder if you’re too grouchy for all that. But you are actually deeply excited about it, and know that you’ll step up when it’s time.
You’ve known about this particular retreat for a long time, but somehow it was never the right time to go. It was either a little too expensive, or you just had to think it over until it was too late and all the spots were filled. This year you decide, in kind of the spur of the moment, that this is the year that you will go to it. So you do it. You sign up and pay in full and put it on the calendar.
The more you think about it, the more you think it sounds like just what you need, except maybe for the yoga and dancing part. And actually the yoga part sounds okay except you recently hit your highest weight of your life, and you’re not exactly feeling flexible. Which makes it all the more surprising that you signed up for the whole thing if it involves the yoga and dancing. You’re good with the pastries, though, which is probably the reason for the weight.
So you begin to plan your trip, even though it’s nearly nine months away. You think you’ll spend a night in Chimayo the night before you’re due to arrive in Taos, because it’s the holiest place you can ever remember being. And you are all out of the Holy Chiles and, well, yeah. You need some more.
Then you go to Pinterest and make a new board, “Road Trip,” because you have to do something. In your journal you make a list of all the lists you have to make to get ready for this trip. You color it in, kind of Sketchnotey, and then relax about it all.
You are sure you will like the person who is throwing this party, and you still have eight months before it happens to pull it together. Maybe taking some walks will help you get less grouchy. And a little more flexible. Or not, that doesn’t really matter. You think and think about it, and suddenly, in a moment of clarity, you realize that going to this retreat with yoga and dancing and pastries is about challenging yourself as much as it’s about the writing. It’s about reminding yourself that you can do hard things and that after you do them you are happier. Truly. And it’s been a long time since you’ve done that. So you reserve a room in Chimayo and begin to map your trip. It’s on!