When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I replied without hesitation, “a weekend away by myself.” So that’s what I got. This past weekend, I went away on a solo writing retreat to Edmonton. And here’s how it played out:
I dragged my feet to book a place to stay. I hesitated on packing. I was super resistant to going on this weekend away THAT I HAD ASKED FOR! What in the honest Hell, am I right?! How often do we do this?! How often do I DO THIS?! Where else am I dragging my feet on moving towards what I truly want? Well, shit. I had some reflecting to do. Luckily, I knew this was happening as it was happening. So eventually, when I was ready to look at it, I stopped and asked myself, what is really going on here? I leaned into it. I felt into what was happening inside of me. And I realized so many things before I even left. I felt guilty.
Here were my logical reasons for the guilt: I was leaving my husband home with the kids on a weekend when we could be spending it together. Now this might not seem like a big deal to you, but in our household, my husband works 2 out of 4 weekends a month. See how that feels now? The next reason was because I would be missing out on our friends coming up to visit for the weekend (which I found out after I had decided on this trip). Lastly, I have literally never gone away for no other reason than ‘me’ since having children. There has always been a reason—a wedding, a course, work, etc. There’s always an agenda. When that reason seems to be something external to me, my ego tells me that reason will suffice. But when that reason was only ME, there was a whole hell of a lot of resistance and emotions that surfaced. So, subconsciously, I came up with the reason for my trip to be ‘writing’ instead of just me. But, I still felt guilty because I didn’t feel worthy of going away by myself for no reason other than ‘me’.
Here’s the truth about guilt… it’s stemming from our expectations of ourselves and all of the beliefs we are choosing as truths about what it means to be a ‘good mom’, a ‘good wife’, a ‘good friend’, or anything else under the sun that we think we need to be something for. This is not actually because of anyone else. Guilt is contrived in our own mind, so we can’t go blaming it on this or that. What about being a good human and showing up for yourself the way that you show up for everyone else in your life? What about putting your own soul on the agenda? What about showing up for your goals, your dreams, and your deepest desires? (Ya, well, I should have asked myself that BEFORE I left! But, hey, at least I got the message—better late than never, right?)
Here’s the thing, even if I sabotage myself more often than I’d like to admit, I am committed to my dreams, my growth, and being self-aware. So, I’ve gotten really freaking good at calling myself out on my shit, which meant that there was no way I would be backing out on going away for this weekend that I really wanted! So, on Thursday, I got organized, hugged and kissed my babies and my hubby, and I set off on the wide open prairie highway.
The drive was amazing. I had so many insights that came to me. I jammed to all my favourite music. I reflected on the words, heard a lot of beliefs, and unraveled some of them. I scribbled ideas and insights in my notebook as they came to me.
I thought my weekend was going to be a nice, productive time for me, but I had so many emotions, roadblocks, expectations, and hard insights pop up over the course of the TWO days I had to myself. Here they are in no particular order:
I have to be doing something productive in order to be worthy of this trip. (ie. Write a new children’s book or 2).
I have to have other people on my agenda in order to be worthy of this trip. (ie. Ikea trip, kids room redecorating, etc).
I can’t spend outlandish money on myself because that would be selfish. REALLY??? Ugh. So, I compromised on what I would have really wanted. How often do we do this?! And the crazy thing is, I have no problem spending on myself when it’s business related. I try to invest in things that are valuable to my business, but when it’s little old me to invest into, I found out that I truly don’t think I’m worthy. Ouch. That’s a deep one.
I am my own worst critic. This is not news, but I got a harsh reality check on this over the weekend. Now, I’m trying to unravel how this has served me up until this point, so I can discover if there is a new way I am ready to function.
My expectations for myself are wildly and outlandishly high. Again, this has served me in many ways in my life. BUT, I do need to keep unraveling these beliefs as they surface because expectations of self are beliefs, often with roots in worthiness as well.
ALL of these insights were rooted in worthiness. Interesting…
So off I went for this ‘me’ weekend and I didn’t even have my soul on the agenda? Because I think I’m not worth it? I think I’m not worthy enough to deserve it? I’m not enough of a reason? Good Lord, woman. How is that going to play out? Well, let me fill you in.
There were ups and downs. Since I was by myself, I had to work through my own shit. I got wildly frustrated a few times and then I’d question why to unravel the bullshit I was telling myself in my head. There were times when I was in total alignment, centered, and flowing. Those times were magical—they always are. Sometimes I was taking in my surroundings. Other times, I was flowing my heart out on to the page. There were also a few times where I got really hard on myself. During these times, I’ve learned to feel it out, release my emotions, then stop, breathe, reel in my ego to unravel why I went off on that tangent. There were also times where I had terrible writer’s block. My expectations for what I needed to accomplish to be worthy of the trip were out of this world. Of course, I was going to have writer’s block. This is where those insights came from that I listed above—from those frustrating times and those triggers. I wrote pages upon pages of insights, notes, and awareness about myself while I was away.
I’m not going to lie, having two full days with no one to think about but me, was HARD. WHY? Because I’m used to fitting myself in around and in between the kids, my hubby’s shift work schedule, running a household, and running two businesses between daycare hours. (My husband helps out A LOT. I’m so grateful for him). But, even though I found it hard to JUST focus on myself, it was wildly necessary and I found a lot of growth in it. I briefly considered coming home early and then realized that I needed to stick it out, for me, and find my peace like I always do in the end. And, I did, which was lovely and proved that, deep down, I know I am actually worth it underneath all of the bogus beliefs I’m believing about myself.
One of my big insights was that we always have a choice. We always get to choose. And by not choosing, we are still choosing. So, I took all of these new insights and chose to make some new decisions while I was still there. I asked myself how I could fill my own cup. I realized that I needed to set some boundaries for myself to show that I was MY OWN priority. I was going to have my cake AND eat it too. I was going to enjoy this weekend that I ASKED for! Here's how I did that: I took a hiatus from social media. I didn’t reply to emails or texts. I had a lovely and soulful dinner with an old friend that was just what I needed. I wandered through a couple stores before realizing that I didn't care for doing that... so I stopped. Then I realized that I really do love decorating our home, so I decided that I would finish out Ikea and choose to see it as something that was filling me up instead of stressing me out. (Surprise, surprise—then I didn’t have any trouble making decisions.) I went to a movie by myself. And YOU GUYS, it was so what I needed. I laughed, oh did I laugh. I wrote some poems for ME. And guess what? They flowed out of me with ease and grace and I finished them in no time flat. One was entitled "There’s nothing in my way but me."
This weekend, I really, truly got to know myself better. I had to learn a few things the hard way, but I did truly learn them. And I did truly grow from them. On my first full day away, if you had asked me if I would be doing this again, I probably would have said, “Hell no! It was awful and unproductive!” But, now… I can see all the growth and learning that came from it. And I could even see it as it was playing out in front of me. What a magical experience to get to live.
Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday. And I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt, that those couple days of learning how to show up JUST for myself, learning how to BE, and learning how to find my self-worth (even if it was the hard way), was the best birthday gift I’ve ever given to myself, and received from my family. I fed my heart, my soul, my dreams, my desires, and I connected with myself. In doing so, I also fed my family. Sure, I was away for a few days. But, this getaway for me, allowed my kids to bond with their dad. It allowed them to see me I can be a mom and still put my soul on the agenda. This adventure allowed me to realize many amazing insights about myself as a person, so that I can show up better for me, which will allow me to also show up better for everyone around me. I am absolutely going to do it again, but next time I’m going to call it a ‘soulful solo weekend adventure’ so that I remember my most important priority for the weekend is me. That will remind me that I can have my cake AND eat it too.
So, now I have a question for you: If you could ask for ANYTHING for your birthday, what would you give yourself? Would you give yourself a dream? Permission? Priority? An adventure? Connection? What would you choose? If you could have your cake AND eat it too, what would that mean for you?
If you’re looking for some high-octane growth, I highly recommend a soulful solo adventure for yourself. Trust me, it'll be worth it. Because you are.
About the Author:
Kristin Pierce loves chai lattes, inspirational quotes, writing in coffee shops, and questioning beliefs. She is a self-awareness educator whose mission is to empower others to deconstruct the limiting beliefs that are keeping them small and stuck in order to rise to their potential, come alive, and impact the world. Kristin is the Founder of Inner Compass Academy and Inner Compass Books. She is a MindScape Instructor, Advanced BodyTalk Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, & Children's Book Author.
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