It’s official: the next six weeks will be a quiet retreat.  There’s not much around here, and even where I’m working is unusually quiet.  Nice, and quiet.  Aside from a trip or two to the next nearest city (San Antonio) I’ll be here for the duration.  To give myself some structure, and in light of yesterday’s post, I’m going to lay out some modest goals for the time I’m here.  Maybe simply naming them out loud will motivate me to make them happen!

1. Stay true to the GAPS intro diet. I have a full kitchen with all the basic supplies necessary to make my own food, and today I spent some time devising a food re-introduction chart so I can keep track of what gets re-introduced and when, so I don’t have to keep referring to a website for the answer to “What am I supposed to do next, again?”  If anyone wants the chart (it is a work in progress) please leave a comment and I’ll get it to you.

2. Re-establish an exercise routine. It’s been a year since I exercised with any regularity, and while I won’t be going back to the 6-day-a-week 2-hours-a-day regimen I tortured myself through when I was in my twenties, it is time to a sensible program much like the one Mark Sisson lays out on his excellent site, Mark’s Daily Apple.  The basics?  Move around a lot, at a slow pace; lift heavy things; and run really fast once in a while. Sounds terrifically doable, don’t you think?

3. Journal every day. For years and years after completing my first course of The Artist’s Way in 1997, I did morning pages faithfully just about every day.  Three pages of longhand every morning cleared my head, clarified my priorities, and set me on course for the day.  In recent years I have struggled to resurrect the practice, and I’d like to get back to some form of it while I’m here.

4.  Listen to my heart. I grew up living in my head, looking to rationale and reason as guideposts; my heart’s guidance has been there, but in a wilder and more impulsive way since it had to work harder to get my attention.  I’d like to spend more time opening and strengthening the lines of communication with my heart – the seat of passion, loving action, and the voice of the True Self.

5. Reach out more. Over the last two years of spending long stretches alone in unfamiliar places, I’ve come to cherish connection with others more than ever before in my life.  I love taking the time to talk via Skype, chat on Facebook, even comment on a particularly wonderful blog post.  It doesn’t replace face-to-face contact, but it does keep relationships intact so that my homecoming brings with it a slew of coffee dates and walks with friends, nephew’s baseball games and niece’s ballet recitals, and evenings deliberately snuggled in with fiance and puppy.

6. Read all of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Okay, I don’t even know how possible that will be in 45 days!  But I’m putting it up here.