As I posted last time, I’ve been in a funk for weeks. After a few fortuitous days, something has shifted.

It started when I tried some mini-retreats. I use The Women’s Retreat Book by Jennifer Louden (Harper-Collins, 2004) as a go-to for ideas. She lists a lot of things you can do to stir the pot, in 5 days or 5 hours or 5 minutes. I ended up doing two quick activities that helped me look at stuck-ness.

In the first one, I wrote down 3 words that described my current state, then chose one and created a word web around it. It was interesting to see the words that grew from that, and how they kept rewinding around and around each other. From the words that came it was clear that my energy was stagnant. I extended the activity, which exposed some of my negative emotional habits–familiar territory. I’ve already done a lot of work there. But with just a little more work that day, I reached a major milestone in addressing a situation from my past. Poof. Transformed.

In another activity, I explored my lack of enthusiasm around getting the second book moving. I’d had a goal of having Traveling Light printed by the beginning of November, and having it in stores for Christmas. It didn’t work out that way–the book arrived December 20, too late to get any holiday exposure. Even then there were some printing problems, and only now do I have a case of books to sell. I felt deflated. Lost. Then I heard, during the mini-retreat activity, that I had not lost my path. I was just in a wide place in the river where the current is slower. What a great perspective. I can’t be shooting the rapids all the time!

Both of these activities took about an hour, combined, to complete. Later that same day, friends came over to share a Spirit Fire Ceremony. We each had some pieces of birch bark, and we wrote things on them that we wanted to transform. We had our fire outside. It’s January in Minnesota (and we had to dig the fire pit out of 3 feet of snow!). We each offered our birch bark to the fire. I released: emotional pain habits. And I made room for: embracing my path as crone and author. Each morning now when I make my fire in the wood stove, I repeat this activity to set intention for release and opening.

All of these activities were simple. I didn’t spend thousands of dollars to go on a special 5-day retreat in a fancy location. I just made the effort, with a little guidance, to be naked and unashamed with my own self. I came through a narrow, uncomfortable place in my path, and now I have opened up onto the next leg of my journey. I feel full of creative positive energy, and excitement for whatever lies ahead 🙂