This past weekend we had a Stay-Treat, or stay-at-home-retreat. We had planned to go camping, but we just weren’t feeling it. I suggested we rent a cabin in Brown County or Airbnb somewhere. BF assured me we could, in fact, retreat right, here, at home. I did not believe him. And I told him so. I just knew he’d end up landscaping something or working in the Taj Ma-Garage while I read a book and did laundry, resentment my only companion.
I’m here to happily report I was wrong.
Friday morning, we took a long walk around the neighborhood and talked about our expectations for the weekend. BF is all about discussing expectations because: 1. He knows how I behave when something is important to me, but falls short of my expectations. 2. His training and experience 3. The whole me not believing him that a Stay-Treat was even possible.
I suggested we pretend we were staying at an Airbnb and act accordingly. As we walked down the new path on Madison Avenue, we brainstormed ideas of things we’d do, if in fact, we were on adventure in a new town. As we passed Greenwood Methodist Church, pretending, I said, “I read there’s a Farmer’s here on Saturday mornings. We should go.” And as we rounded the corner to our street, “Maybe we can find a place to walk to breakfast in the morning.” As we stepped back into our kitchen, “I like this place. I’d stay here again.” I was determined to tap into the we-are-on-adventure vibe.
We had chosen Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection as the guiding text for our retreat and I was ready with the Audible version and two paperbacks. We visited https://brenebrown.com/thegifts-hub/ and printed the “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living” and took the “Wholehearted Inventory.” https://brenebrown.com/wholeheartedinventory/ My kind of stuff!
We easily finished the book on Friday, even though we stopped after each chapter. “What hit you?” Or, “I think I’m pretty good at this one or I need to work on that.” Or, “This reminds me of . . .”
The Universe provided an opportunity for us to do a good deed mid-afternoon, which was a nice break, and a stop for ice cream on the way home was perfect.
We spent Friday evening with Ted Lasso, which is a bit of a retreat in itself. Right?
The Farmer’s Market was extra nice because it was a beautiful morning and we chatted as we walked and I had my partner to help carry the bags home.
We continued our study, listening to a couple of Brown’s podcasts about the book and its 10th anniversary. We journaled and considered the “Dig Deep” exercises, creating lists: “Ingredients for Joy and Meaning” and “Work that Inspires Me.” By Saturday afternoon, we were both okay to be done with the book. For now.
We accepted an impromptu invitation to join friends at The Feast of Lanterns in their neighborhood, Woodruff Place, deciding the outing went right along with our theme of visiting a new community. It was artsy and fun and inspiring.
After a nice, long Sunday morning bike ride, we ate French Toast made from sourdough bread gleaned from our Farmer’s Market adventure and churched by listening to Elvis sing hymns and soaking up the energy of our back yard, journaling, and reading from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart. Her August 29th entry, “First Heal Your Heart,” reminded that we don’t always know why we’re led to a place or to a person, and I would add, or to a book. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown writes about practicing courage, compassion, and connection as a way to worthiness and wholehearted living.
As I reflect on our Stay-Treat, and our study of the book, I see connection. Connection with each other and our creativity and the notions that reading a book in the middle of the day is not a waste of time and reading together is fun. And connection with Brown’s reminder to play music and dance around and be silly. Connection with community and friendship and art.
And maybe, for me, a new connection with–once in a while–being wrong.