Real Life: Self-Retreat in Victoria

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5 Minute Read: Self-care, self-retreat, yoga, poetry, simple living, slow living, healthy lifestyle, lifestyle design.

Oh, sweet, sweet week. Despite all the snowy, cloudy odds, my flight to Victoria, BC, got out on Thursday…meaning I’m on the self-retreat I planned months back.

The agenda? Attend David Whyte’s tour yesterday.

Otherwise: stay at a tiny airbnb, walk everywhere, practice lots and lots of hot yoga, eat delicious + nourishing food, and generally take time off.

Here’s how it’s going…


The airbnb is perfect. Tiny, clean, comfortable, quiet. It’s a reminder of what I want for my next home. (My current rental cabin is precious…and So. Not. Comfortable.)

Airbnb + 100 percent dark chocolate

Airbnb + 100 percent dark chocolate

I haven’t travelled (or taken a day off) in two years, and am loving walking around with “new eyes.” Rather than do all the things, I delight in just walking, walking, walking…watching, watching, watching. Immersing myself in a new-to-me place without a schedule or places to be.

China Town, Victoria, BC

China Town, Victoria, BC

Same goes for “home time.” I’m loving it. Though I’m usually all about routines + systems, such a joy to let those go (and create new, mini ones).

Some things stay the same wherever I am: the 5 Tibetans upon waking; VERY slow, nourishing lunch + dinner; writing in my gratitude journal; plenty of solitude. But other things get to change…which is fun and brings an infusion of what to shift around upon returning home.

Victoria Public Market

Victoria Public Market

Food has been glorious. My dad surprised me with money to go out to eat (knowing I rarely gift that to myself – as in, it’s been two years). Meant so much that he remembered my travel day and emailed such a thoughtful treat!

Rather than go out, I’ve delighted in a slow, leisurely shops at The Victoria Public Market and The Market on Yates, choosing locally made food stuffs for quiet meals in. This way, I can indulge in delicious food…while also savouring solitude AND eating things that make me feel good: poke tuna; sugar-free, pasture-raised bacon; local cheeses (one goat; one from cashews); avocados and spinach (not local, but craving green); extra-fancy, vacation-grade dark chocolate; sparkling water; natural, minimal-intervention wine.

I’ve been relishing every bite, usually while reading fun blogs and revisiting this playlist (it's a little sad, but in a good way;). Exhaling.

Locally made jun kombucha by JagaSilk

Locally made jun kombucha by JagaSilk

Yoga – yes! I LOVE having access to truly hot yoga and classes scheduled throughout the day. The studio space is fantastic. The owner Ken, his teachers and staff, and the kula/community have been so genuinely welcoming and kind. Again, exhaling.

Quantum Yoga Club, Victoria, BC

Quantum Yoga Club, Victoria, BC

David Whyte – be still my heart. I first discovered David’s book Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity in my 20s, at a pivotal juncture. I took a huge leap then…and have followed his written and spoken words since.

Now age 43, at another pivotal juncture with life and work, his words still speak to my soul. Yesterday’s teaching at the enchanting Royal Roads University was more powerful than I can say.

I plan to post more on this here and on Instagram, including something he shared about addiction and eating addiction I’d never heard him mention before. For now, a few lines from a poem he read during yesterday’s teaching:

Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.

See with every turning day,
how each season makes a child
of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch now, how it weathers you
to a testing in the tried and true,
admonishes you with each falling leaf,
to be courageous, to be something
that has come through, to be the last thing
you want to see before you leave the world.

Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.

~ David Whyte, “Coleman’s Bed“ (full version here)


Am I missing anything?

Well, I do miss my cats terribly. And…I’m loving the respite from (being controlled by) my cats! Thankfully, two caring, trusted students are looking after them.

And I do love my Nelson home, with the amazing community there. Still, more self-retreats are clearly needed. After two very hard winters, this one was two years overdue.

I look forward to seeing what, from this trip, infuses my return and the current of my story. It’s not small, what’s stirring.

How about you? Take self-retreats (whether by travelling or switching up home schedules + routines)? What do you do? What do you love about it? When’s your next one?!!! Meanwhile, this week’s…

The Bell  and  The Blackbird,  poetry by David Whyte

The Bell and The Blackbird, poetry by David Whyte

Recipes + Links

On sex appeal + wearing what you want. “The movie may be downright ridiculous (albeit perfect), but that point is dead serious. Sex appeal, it seems to say, belongs to anyone who belongs to herself.”

It’s not all bath salts + chocolate cake. True self care is “making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from… It is learning how to stop trying to ‘fix yourself’ and start trying to take care of yourself…and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.”

Trouble making that choice? More tough love for you.

Speaking of healthy choices. I’ve been following Elana for years, and her site got some fun renos this month. Check her “specialty diet” page!

Still soup weather here (sigh). This one’s low-carb, keto, paleo, vegetarian and full of healing herbs + spices.

Or this green spaghetti. But with spaghetti squash for me.

Sided with winter afternoon at home music. The whole album’s delicious.

P.S., Ever go on self-retreat? Please tell! xo


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With steadiness + ease.

 
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