Treat Yo Self (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSjM5B3QNlw) is a reference to Parks and Rec. 😉 A treat yo self day for this contemplative looks different than their shopping etc. Shopping is fun but the things that recharge me are solitude, silence, nature, writing, good food, sleep, hot baths, etc. 😉
I started this monthly 24 hour retreat almost a year ago during COVID. It is one of the best things that came out of this pandemic for me. I look forward to it. I plan for it. When things feel heavy l know this reprieve is coming. It is a time that I listen to what my heart and mind need/want. It is not a time to catch up on projects or work. It is meant to be restorative and life-giving. Today I did not really have a plan besides reading my book and writing.
Before my time away began I needed to drop off some donations to a local thrift store, The Scrap Exchange. En route to there I passed one of my favorite places, Duke Gardens. Sometimes I forget it exists until my memory is jogged by driving past it. I decided to pull in and pay the $2 bucks for an hour’s worth of parking. I spent an hour strolling through one of my fav places in Durham. When we first moved here I said this was my new Oak Glen (a fav nature place back home in CA). As I wandered thru I’d be drawn into these beautiful plants. I could not hold back the smiles. I’m so thankful for public gardens. For much of history gardens like this would only be enjoyed by royalty. So I can’t help but feel like a princess strolling thru here. I am a daughter of the King so it fits. 😉 Signs of the Lord speaking to us are everywhere. We are often too busy or distracted to see them. Or if we see them we chalk it up to coincidence or rationalize it away.
I forget how happy botanical gardens make me til I’m there. Back in college I remember a field trip to the Fullerton Arboretum and I loved it!!! But most people look at me strangely when I share this (hubby included). So it did not make the must see list during our upcoming CA vacation. I loved the “Spring Awakening” name of one of the plants. It fits my current season of consolation. I loved how at one point the trail opened up to a quaint little meadow. It reminded me of God’s spacious love. His love is like wide open spaces where you can run free untethered, no rules, just being your silly self basking in the beauty of such great love.
My hour was up and I was starting to get hungry. I felt like I wanted meat. 😉 So a salad with chicken sounded good and I decided to head to Chipotle. Then I headed back towards my mother-in-law’s apartment. She swaps places with me and has a sleepover at our home so I can have her space. We both get what we need. She gets more people time being an extrovert and I get alone time as an introvert. I was feeling like I wanted some chocolate but not just a candy bar from a gas station. I wanted hand made chocolate and there is a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Shop right by her house. I spent just as much on chocolate as I did on dinner. I picked an iced cappuccino truffle, English toffee, and a sea salt caramel.
Oh dear Jesus this dark chocolate toffee is so good!!! I have read a fair amount of books hating on sugar. True science backs the dangers of consuming too much of it but come on a life without sugar is too sad for me. There has to be a balance between eating so much I feel sick climbing into bed (not last night but this week) and a treat here and there. And thanks to my reading nerdy sugar books I know how addictive it is thus the reason I eat beyond what feels ok. For me I know I cannot become a chocolatier or I will fall into the chocolate river and get sucked up a tube like Augutus Gloop. My friend shared an idea she read about. An idea of either being a person who needs to abstain because they will eat the whole cake or the person who does well with moderation. I am the whole cake person so I do better trying to not have it during the week but then enjoy it on Sabbath. Saving it til Sabbath is good as long as I don’t “eat as much as an elephant eats.” (lyrics from an Oompa Loompa song). Which by the way I make a fabulous Oompa Loompa since I am the size of a hobbit. It was one of my favorite Halloween costumes. I loved it so much that one year I decided to read Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my first graders and on the day we were finishing the book I surprised them when they returned from lunch fully dressed as an Oompa Loompa to read the last chapter. As an ISFP (the spontaneous adventurer) I love fun stuff like that. Part of me is sad that I got rid of the costume. It might be time to bring it back. And if you have not heard and memorized the sound track to the 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory- you are missing out.
That was a long tangent on chocolate but that is how much I love it. So after the toffee last night I read some more of Cold Tangerines by one of my favorite authors. I then took a hot bath and crashed at 10:30pm and rolled out of bed the next morning at 10:00am. These retreats are about listening to what I need so I sleep til I was not sleepy anymore.
And now I am at a coffee shop writing because that is what writers do and I have declared myself a writer just like Michael Scott declared bankruptcy over himself. 😉 I have the authority to do that. 😉 I was inspired by Jon Acuff’s book Soundtracks to believe this about myself. I am a writer so now I am acting like a writer by writing. 😉
I will end this retreat by running by Michael’s Craft store to pick up some canvas to add my pics to my beach collage. Shopping without little kids is very restorative.
This month’s retreat:
- $2 – parking for Duke Gardens
- $10- dinner at Chipotle
- $10- chocolate
- $4- Caribou mocha
- probably about $15 for canvas
- free lodging since I swapped with my mother-in-law
So $41 for a retreat day: priceless