Unplugging is good for the Soul

Standing at the patio door the gentle breeze brings the morning smell of sun warming the field.  The only sounds are of the clicking of Willy’s nails as he crosses the floor to join me.  We stand soaking in the sights of the morning (well he is sniffing it). The sky is incredible, (usually is here) I grab my camera and a rainbow appears, then a second. Wow now that’s the way to start a retreat!

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After taking a few photos from the deck, I stand Breathing deeply and head in to make coffee. This is the 4th year in a row I have spent a few days, in solitude at my friends place at Singing Lands. There is no Cell reception, no internet, no people, totally unplugged. Life becomes very simple, and my brain is given the freedom to think what ever it wants. I sit on the deck and stare off. Freedom, letting ideas flow, not really concentrating on anything.

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This year’s trip was pretty much spur of the moment, only a few days in advance, I had nothing booked for a week so decided to make good use of that time. This also meant I didn’t really plan ahead much.  I brought a variety of books,  some project ideas to work on, of course my cameras and the mindset to work on grounding myself.  The first evening is pretty much just setting up, enjoying a couple of drinks, have a great meal, take some golden hour photos, see the stars and go to bed fairly early.  The first morning was that amazing rainbow! The rest of that day I went from, staring at the valley to photographing, to reading a novel, staring some more, cooking, eating, napping and so on.  Imagine one day of doing nothing but what you feel like doing in that moment. It’s really incredible.  Our daily lives there is always something to be done, some idea to work on, some emails to do, staring at a screen seeing what other people are doing. We are bombarded every day.  This Retreat helps me stop and reset, truly valuable.

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Second day was similar to the first – minus the rainbow 🙂 But today was reading day. After photographing the Art of Women in Leadership this year I have been enamored with Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy. I was moved by all the speakers that day but Amy’s talk of power, body language and how it can change us, intrigued me.  Working with people who, most of the time, are uncomfortable in front of the camera I have been experimenting with some of her suggestions… very cool. So, I am reading Presence, Amy’s book.    It’s a wonderful read.  For some reason though, I only read and made notes from a few chapters before deciding to switch to something else.

It was David duChemin’s book a Beautiful Anarchy that swept me away.  I read the entire 150 page book in one sitting. I have been following David’s writings/photography for years.  He is a man who is doing what he loves, writing, traveling and photography.  Reading anything David writes pretty much makes me shake my head in agreement, YES, EXACTLY! He puts into words so many of the photography philosophies that I also believe and live by.  This particular book isn’t necessarily about photography, but more about life. YES, EXACTLY! Thanks again David! Follow our passions and make it work, life is to short not to. We live our lives, we grow, we experience, we change, What do you want? What do you really want, David asks. Wow, there is a little food for thought. I highly recommend David’s writing to any creative, truthful and wonderful. http://craftandvision.com/collections/david-duchemin . Sign up for the Craft and Vision newsletter, there are sales!!! http://craftandvision.com/

I’m now back in front of the screen, writing this to you. I’m feeling peaceful, grounded, ready to face all that is presented to me. Ready to take on new projects, create experiences with more people, create real, truthful images of the people who allow me the honour of doing so, help others achieve their goals and dreams, above all continue to smile, spread joy, love, and gratitude for this amazing adventure called life.

Retreats are really good for the SOUL. Take some time for you, even if you think you don’t have the time, make it, it will be worth it!

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