29 Sep

About page, check.

Posted the About page over at retreat-austin.com today – this is an accomplishment! (Inner Perfectionist, you hush. I needed to get this out there.) And now I’m off to the pool to celebrate…

In other, related news, please forgive me for switching around the design here and there, possibly on a daily basis, for maybe an extended period of time. Shocking reveal!: I am not a web designer. It is taking me a while to figure out how to make this space (these spaces – ugh, another problem) look like something that is not held together with masking tape and bubble gum.  I know it can be annoying for my loyal readers, but there are, like, three of you, and I know you’re all very adept at managing change. My apologies, in the meantime.

22 Sep

10Q, and real reflection

I love everything about this.

“Thanks to new technologies like texting and Twitter, people have more
opportunities than ever to express themselves, but fewer than ever to
express themselves well,” said 10Q co-founder Ben Greenman, a New Yorker
editor. “What 10Q wants people to do is what people should want to do
for themselves — to reflect on life without worrying about status
updates.”

As I’m taking the small steps each day to get this business up and running, I feel like a lot of the actions are running counter to the goals that are driving them in the first place. Nowadays, blog posts and Twitter updates are the way to “get noticed” or “build a following” – and they are free – so I’m doing them, using them to plant seeds of ideas or connect with other like-minded folks. But it doesn’t feel like connection, of course, since there’s so much chaos in all of the talking going on, and those like-minded folks never come over for dinner or anything (they’re online). And there’s this pressure, to post-post-post, and do it ever more quickly, saysomethingsaysomethingsaysomething, to the point where it feels like there isn’t time to think.

Anyway. I’ve rambled enough on this topic for today. I think 10Q looks like a great process for slowing down and spending some time with your own inner knowing. Check it out for yourself, won’t you? More information about 10Q here; sign up here.

And thanks to @rachelwcole, who of course alerted me to this great project via Twitter.

21 Sep

A little creativity break

Autumn Leaves by Retreat Austin
Autumn Leaves, a photo by Retreat Austin on Flickr.

I’ve been trying to write my About page. Struggling with it, really, the result of which has been no writing at all: no About page, no blog posts, no grocery lists.

I needed a break, needed to make something that I wasn’t going to critique to no end, needed to step away from the computer screen. You might be surprised at the inspiration that can come from some leftover paint chips from Lowe’s! (Alas, the intended inspiration for website design has yet to arrive, but that’s another story).

Still no About page, but I feel a little better about the world after the drawing and snipping and arranging nonetheless.

14 Sep

What I believe (and why Retreat just has to happen)

I think it’s important for you to understand my motivation in building a space like Retreat. Today, I want to share with you some of the beliefs that are guiding this business:

* I believe that everyone – EV-ERY-ONE – has the capacity for creativity. Creativity is the ability to create – to make stuff. Have you ever made something? I bet you have.
* I believe that people spend too much time interacting with their phones and not enough time interacting with each other.
* I believe that rest is necessary for all of us, and in a quantity that is larger than most of us allow in our day-to-day lives. Rest does not have to mean laying down for a nap (although those are good, too!). Rest is slowing down, stepping away from the activities that drain you, and refueling.
* I know that it can be hard to find real connection – especially with new people – in these fast-paced, Facebook-friend times.  I believe that building true, deep, soulful friendships is still possible.
* I believe that learning something new – together – is a great way to build that friendship.
* I believe that arts like embroidery, knitting, and sewing persist not only because they add beauty to a home but because they add connection to our lives – to ourselves, to our past, and to each other.
* Ditto for writing.
* I believe that making something with your own two hands builds confidence in a way that few other things can.
* I believe that we are all connected through one universal spirit, and that our individual actions – large and small – have an impact on the whole.
* I believe that practicing yoga is one effective way of growing our ability to connect with that spirit, and by extension, with one another.

I have been learning to listen to my heart. This may sound trite, but
it’s a big deal for me nonetheless. As this business has taken shape
over the past weeks and months (and really, almost years now), I have
tried to listen ever more closely to my inner guidance, to worry less
about what I think will work, and more about what matters
(to me, at least). What will work is still important, of course, but
there’s a realization here that I cannot control all of the factors that
must come together to make a business successful. What I can control
are the steps I take each day toward having a positive impact on the
world.

What that “positive impact” looks like is defined by my own
values and beliefs, ideas that I’ve had to get really clear on long
before Retreat opens its doors. With this studio, I want to build a home where like-minded folks can hang out and build friendships in person. I hope that includes you!

 

08 Sep

Time for the important things

‘… the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for…’
Lamott, Anne. “Time lost and found.” _Sunset_. April 2010. Web.

I read this article yesterday afternoon on recommendation from my friend and coach, Rachel Cole. I know that you can find someone just about every day who wants to tell you about the value of this moment. And yet, I so often fear that no one is listening.

A big part – a VERY big part – of my inspiration for starting Retreat lies in the (ever elusive) cell phone free space. I will spare you my rant, since most of my readers at this point are surely close friends who can’t bear another dose of Here’s Why Cindy Hates Facebook, but I want to tell you: Anne Lamott’s essay gave me comfort. And so I share it with you, in the hope that one more person will listen.

Here’s the gist: finding contentment is really quite simple. It’s there within you, in your ability to create, in your ability to connect – with others, with nature, with yourself. Simple but not easy. The hard part (or so we believe) is finding the time to do it.  On this point, she says,

This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity – cell phone, email, text, Twitter – steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement.

Yes! Take five minutes to examine the past week of your life. When did you feel most alive? When did you feel like you were part of something? And did you have a smartphone in your hand at the time?

06 Sep

Okay, no more excuses.

It is Tuesday, September 6, the day after Labor Day. And so begins a new season. Everybody knows that the “new year” doesn’t really start on January 1 (right?). It starts that morning when you get up early for the first time in a long time, put on your new jeans (90 degree weather be damned), struggle with your new haircut, and head out to the bus stop.

And so, with that spark of back-to-school excitement in the air, I am getting up early, putting on a clean pair of pants, and getting to work. I’m starting my 40-day yoga challenge, and along with that, my 40-day (no) alcohol challenge and (what the heck) my 40-day (no) caffeine challenge. Feels like New Year’s, doesn’t it?

I’m ready. I’ve had a long, beautiful summer of resting, connecting, dreaming, and figuring things out. And now it’s time to switch gears and turn those dreams into something real. It’s not about the new year’s resolutions – those are commitments that help me mark my January 1st and get things off to a healthy start, but they’re not the real story. What it is about is creating a plan for my business, getting the word out, and making this Retreat right here in your own hometown happen.