“Sometimes you must go away to find yourself and a true sense of peace”
I remember a time in early 2005 when I “hit the wall” – a term runners use to describe the sudden fatigue that hits so solidly that it makes it impossible to take another step. In my case, when this happened I realized that I was so worn-out that I needed to quit my job. I needed an extreme escape, but didn’t have the energy to plan anything elaborate. All I could come up with at that time was the promise to spend the next 30 days sleeping in, painting baseboards (the most mundane yet productive thing I could think of) and trying to find what was left of “worn out” me. I was smart enough then to know I needed to be in better form if I was to be inspired and guided to a better way of being.
I survived that rough spell and found some new tools to help me thrive. Today I run on a steady stream of high energy that allows me to be a leader in helping others heal, have fun and connect more fully to the world around them. Healthy escapes are fundamental pieces of my Healer/Coach tool-kit when working the energy and life-balance equation. In my experience they offer opportunities for enormous jumps in consciousness, huge jolts of joy and a massive recharge of the spirit. Whether you want to call them retreats, getaways, artist dates or romantic weekends, they offer support, structure, environment and inspiration for transformation, gratitude building and self-discovery.
There is additional magic when groups of women gather for supportive getaways. Studies have shown that women build their levels of the well-being hormone, oxytocin when they gather for friendship and support. Ladies, imagine what a weekend or full week with your girlfriends could do for you? I assure the husbands and boyfriends out there that women come back from these getaways ready to be more receptive to you too. Everybody wins!
When planning your escape, make sure whatever you choose supports you in building energy. Leave the distractions behind. In today’s world that means setting some boundaries before you go which can include turning off your cell phone and letting others know you are out of reach for a few hours or even days. Getaways that involve sleep deprivation, heavy alcohol and food consumption, gambling and credit card debt are not likely to bring the healing recovery you had in mind. Be careful about your choices and use the following questions to guide you in brainstorming some suitable getaway options.
Do I need time alone? Is it time to connect with a special friend or a group? Does my marriage or romantic relationship need time for reconnection? Who would I choose as part of this escape and why? Who can help me pull the details together? Who’ll manage things for me while I escape?
What kind of places and activities have I been dreaming of? What activity level do I seek? What kind travel and accommodations can I afford? Will it be elaborate or something very simple? Will I choose to repeat a pleasant escape from the past?
Will this happen within a week, month, this year or beyond? Do I have vacation time? How long can I hope to be away? What season makes the most sense for what I want to do? Can the others I want to escape with get away when I’m free?
Is there a perfect place that will meet my needs? Am I seeking sun, warmth, water, nature, entertainment, shopping, history, sacred sites, learning or physical activity? What are some perfect places that are easy to reach? Is there someplace I have dreamed of visiting that has not yet become a reality?
Examine your intentions fully. What do you really need from this escape?
And just in case you were wondering, I have many suggestions for getaways of all sizes. Here are some of my most favorites, including my comments:
The Inn at Honey Run, Millersburg OH www.innathoneyrun.com
In the heart of Amish country, this has been a favorite place for my annual girls getaway to the Garden Symposium held in late January each year. My husband and I have also enjoyed wonderful romantic getaways here. Fall is absolutely heavenly.
Marblehead Peninsula / Lakeside, OH on Lake Erie www.lakesideohio.com
This historic lakeside community founded in the late 1800s is like stepping back in time. The energy here is incredible and healing. During the summer season (late June-Labor Day) you will pay a fee to enter, which includes admission to abundant educational and arts programming. One of my favorite girlfriend getaways is the Tour of Homes and Craft Show, held this year on July 22. Idlewyld B&B is a great place to stay, and also home base for The Indigo Connection’s annual women’s retreat, set for May 13-15, 2011. It’s also just a short distance from the ferry to Kelley’s Island www.kelleysisland.com where you can enjoy a day or exploring, biking, camping or dining near the water.
Geneva on the Lake / Ohio Wine Region www.visitgenevaonthelake.com
The wineries in this area are outstanding and reminded me of many we visited in Napa and Sonoma. My favorite place to stay is The Lake House Inn & Winery www.thelakehouseinn.com. They have a variety of beautiful rooms and suites, a home-cooked breakfast, a great restaurant and winery and a patio overlooking the water. This is the place for beautiful sunsets. Also recommended is The Eaglecliff Inn www.eaglecliffinn.com. Although not on the water, it has a great front porch for people-watching and a delicious hot breakfast each morning.
Sept. 18 Day Retreat – Beautiful Energy Women who want a great way to get away, enjoy girlfriend time and work on self-improvement will love the day retreat I am facilitating with image expert Dawn Waldrop in Valley City Ohio (southwest Cleveland suburb). You can get more details and enroll at http://avalon.websitewelcome.com/~theindig/webcal/view_entry.php?id=352&date=20100918
Other Recommended Destinations for Escape
Escape with Me to Maui! – The Maui Passage is a week of exotic experiences exploring the depths of the land, culture and history of this island. Join me the weeks of Oct. 17 or Feb. 13, 2011. Find more details at www.thepeacefulwoman.com and watch a video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLhlA1PPI9E&feature=related. Contact me by email for information on special discounts.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina
Niagara on the Lake – Ontario Canada www.niagaraonthelake.com
Lilydale Assembly, Lilydale NY www.Lilydaleassembly.com
Melbourne Beach, FL Port D’hiver Bed & Breakfast www.portdhiver.com
Fort Lauderdale, FL The Pillars Hotel www.pillarshotel.com
Rick Steves European Vacations www.ricksteves.com
Note: whether you use Rick’s guidebooks or take one of the full tours, you are in good hands.
With a little planning and some good intentions you’ll return from your escape refreshed, energized and ready to take on some big, new challenges in life and in business. Bon Voyage!