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An Artist's Retreat

Revealing Layers

It began six years ago when I had to make a life changing decision in my employment status. I had a job opportunity being offered and I could not decide if this is what I wanted at that time of my life. The everyday distractions of being home and following my usual routine were not allowing me to look within and determine what I wanted and needed to do with my life.

That's when I decided to pack a bag, grab my art supplies and my journal and hit the highway to the coast. I spent three days walking miles along the beach and writing pros and cons of returning to being employed. I meditated, practiced yoga and created all sorts of collages using torn bits of papers, images and words. I had three glorious days of no distractions from the duties of daily chores, cooking meals and only talking and listening to myself as I wrestled with the decision to be made. I returned home relaxed, energized and excited about my new job.

Six years later, I am no longer employed by anyone other than myself and I continue to take my annual three day retreat. It is the time when I assess the year that has passed and the year that will be. I look at my goals that I had set and make changes as well as plan steps that need to be taken to be able to reach them.

This time allows me to explore all the things I want to do in my life as an artist - no limitations - no excuses. That's the difficult part. I only have myself and when I am getting into the areas where I'm not sure I want to explore any further, I try distracting myself. It can anything from wanting something to eat or drink or needing to walk around, (my way of running away). Being alone in an inspiring location helps me to pause and listen without running away from what I know I need to explore within my own mind and heart. It tells me that I'm getting close to my core, the very foundation that is the real me.

I returned from my retreat a few days ago and I am feeling enthusiastic and revitalized as I begin to explore two new art projects that I hope to complete by the end of this year. Had I not gone away by myself, I don't know that I would be putting everything into motion to bring them into reality.

Taking valuable time to return to self is the best tool an artist can have. Assessing progress and evaluating goals helps an artist find their focus and gives them an opportunity to dig deep enough to reach their core. Finding that core opens the channel for creativity. It allows you to explore your dreams and may even introduce you to your authentic self. This is where your true art originates. You should feel it inside working its way toward the light of day. Allow yourself the precious time of quiet reflection and illuminate your path toward authenticity of self and art. Once you have begun this process, you can step back from your latest creation and ask yourself, "Did I dig deep enough?". You and your viewers will know the answer.

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