Here’s an exercise: take a personal item – it could be anything, but preferably something that’s at least a few years old. Hold it in your hand if you can. If you can’t, look at it. Think not about the memories it evokes, but the emotions. What do you feel? Happiness? Sadness? Contentment? Maybe you feel more than one emotion. That’s okay. Just let whatever you’re feeling come up.
Next, take a look around the room you’re sitting in. What emotions do you feel now? If you’re sitting in a room you use regularly – like a dining room – the emotions might be overwhelming. You might feel joy, melancholy, anger, frustration, and more, because all sorts of different things have happened in this room, and your emotions have become like a lot of people shouting at you at once.
As we move through the world, we imprint not only on the people around us, but also inanimate objects. That’s why we can get attached to possessions. We might feel sentimental towards a trinket, like a mug. A ring that was given to us for an engagement may now evoke anger because the relationship turned acrimonious. We may have developed a loyalty toward a car that served us well.
We also develop associations, e.g. the kitchen is for eating, the dining room is for relaxing, the bedroom is for sleeping. By fitting into these niches, we also deal with what those places mean to us. We mightn’t do it on a conscious level, or we mightn’t do that immediately, but we do. And, sometimes, we feel that weigh on us. Why else would we declutter, or give the house a makeover? It’s an attempt to revamp something and, in doing that, revamp our own outlook.
If we wind through all those things that govern and influence and colour our thinking, if we delve down through this daunting and elaborate framework, if we navigate all the niches and passageways, we’ll ultimately discover that unique spark that makes each of us who we are. But that’s the challenge. Finding that, buried, smothered, asphyxiated.
Our heads become so full of stuff we didn’t even realise we were collecting that it can be next-to-impossible to consider something different, something new, in our lives. This is why people take holidays – to get away from everything they’ve known, to get away from that construction, to leave behind those emotional echoes, and go somewhere familiar that is comforting where we don’t have to deal with any of those other things (or only deal with them on a peripheral level), or somewhere new that opens up a whole line of new thinking, and feeling.
For that time, we are almost born again. We are new, we are open, and we seek a positive and constructive experience. When we go home, we want to be able to tell everybody this and that happened, and have happy memories and joyful experiences that we can reminisce about. We’re building new pathways in our head through the tired old routes.
This is also why we organize retreats.
A retreat is the chance to get away from everything you know, to get away from all that programming, to get away from all those emotional states that hinder or block you, and to take the time and space to work on yourself, to work on your craft, and to work on building meaningful pathways that you’ll be able to tread – and continue to tread – long after you’ve gone home.
It’s your chance to be you.
Isn’t that about time?
If you’re interested, check out our Busybird Bali Writing Retreat running 1st–6th November here.