7 elements for a perfect creative retreat

That’s Travis Thomas of LiveYesAnd.com
on the left, beach walking, steeped in great thought,
pondering imponderables, taking a break from his
creative project . . . but not for too long.
Work beckons . . . .

Travis Thomas and I have stolen away from modern life for a few days. We’ve left behind the daily rigors. Gone are the errands and clean up and normal work routines. Adios Starbucks (for Travis), au revoir local diner (for me). It’s sayonara to our daily haunts and habits.

We’ve embarked on a mini-retreat — a creative retreat. Which is to say it’s a spiritual retreat.

When people speak of creativity, to me they are speaking of raw spiritual discovery. There’s nothing more deeply woven into the human experience than our capacity to create. 

Humans don’t just build nests, we launch cocoons into space. Humans don’t simply fish for sustenance; we braise our deboned specimen in herbs and spices; we dribble olive oil on it; we make it beautiful . . . and set it on discs fired in kilns thousands of miles away.

This creative retreat almost didn’t happen. Like all good things and zombies, it resurrected. But here we are now, on the advent of a several-day, intensely-focused, laced-with-breaks-and-banter-and-beach-walks retreat.

Want to build your own creative retreat? This is all you need

1) Like a library, like a food court, a creative retreat is amplified by being alone with others. Snag someone of similar mindset and go. 

For me Travis is the perfect retreat compadre . . . He wields a keenly attentive and curious mind, he’s focused while working yet he’s lighthearted and exploratory when not.

2) The natural world is rollicking good for your brain. Ensconce yourself in a location where you have easy access to light, air, water, foliage, birds, sky . . . 

3) Find somewhere quiet. Quiet enough. You’re looking for a sprawling contemplative quiet . . . that’s all you need. In fact, it’s all you want — that voluptuous kind of quietude that draws the best from you.

4) Oh! Comfortable furniture too. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been splayed on a medieval rack all day.

5) Punctuate your creative work with breaks. Food breaks, walking and talking breaks, nature breaks, nappy breaks, brain and body breaks of any kind. It’s best when they’re of short to medium duration.

6) Make it affordable and temporary. So you can do it again and again. Too expensive, too long in time frame and it might be your one and only retreat.

You know yourself best. How many days is a good time frame for you? What is the perfect amount of time to maintain intense focus? 

7) Above all, create. Have a project ready, one into which you can dive deeply. Immerse yourself. Then let creation zip from your fingertips — 

For you 

Evan Griffith

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