Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's all part of the process

I've just finished a couple of weeks of some pretty intensive work on three upcoming spring retreats. Because I was away in South Africa for three weeks - following on the heels of the Christmas and New Year's holidays - I had a lot of time-sensitive work to be done when I returned on the 28th of January.

I've known since last spring that I would do these retreats - two of them anyway. I booked one retreat center back then and the other in mid-December. When I booked the second retreat, I decided to tack on a one-day retreat for the Monday following the weekend.

My own creative process - which I have struggled to come to terms with over the years- goes like this: I get an idea, might jot down some notes, and then I just live with it. I call it "percolating". I don't give it active attention, I just allow it to "be" with me...somewhere inside my brain and heart and spirit. Sometimes when I'm on a walk, or if someone says just the right thing, it might get pushed forward into my awareness, and I'll think some more about it. To be perfectly honest, I'm totally comfortable with this until I get to a certain point (which is different every time) when I feel like I ought to be more clear. I will give myself a talking to about the "ought" and realize okay...I'd like to be more clear. But try as I might...if the creative muse isn't speaking, then I can't budge her. Generally, though, I'm happy enough to wait until that unpredictable magic moment when I can see and feel the outline for the retreat. Then, I get to work, sometimes fast and furiously, other times it's a more leisurely pace. It just depends on the creative flow, which I've learned to respect over time.

So, for these retreats I've gone through that process and have the outlines; I've done the web content, figured out the advertising and marketing, contacted the appropriate people for those things. I've turned over a lot of stones and although there may be one or two left unturned - I'd be surprised. I'm careful and methodical - something that has developed over the years as I've grown in my practice. So, I've done all of that - days of writing, re-writing, phoning, designing web pages, organzing the advertising, weighing all the options. And now? Now comes the hard part: Letting go.

I want this to be an encouraging read, so I'll cut to the chase here. My experience and faith tell me that the people who are supposed to be on my retreat will be there. So, once I can remember that, I am able to relax and uncurl my fingers from their tight grip on the outcome of this retreat. When I can do that, I am able to breathe deeply into the knowledge that a Higher Power leads the women who are a good fit for my message to my retreats. As I finish up my preparations for now (there will be so much more to do the couple of weeks before the retreats, as you well know), I have done my little dance with doubt and moved on. Now I am able to say: My Divine Mother is gathering the women. My retreats are full.

Now, when doubting and frightening thoughts pop into my head ("I have how much money out there in deposits?"), I can quickly recall my affirmation and move into gratitude. I can think about the fact that there are women an ocean away who are either being gently nudged toward my retreats, or they're being prepared to find them. I love that concept. And, it let's me get on with my other work. If I get stuck in worry about this, I am prevented from moving forward with other important work. I know how many women I'd like to have. I know how many women I need to have. We'll see how many women are chosen to journey together on these weekends.

It's my job to prepare and market my retreats as best I can, and to show up at them as my best, most professional, authentic self. Gathering the Women belongs to The Divine - which is really good news because She knows so many more women than I do!

I hope this post is helpful and encouraging.
Coach Maggie Butler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm just now seeing your posting from Feb and you must have been following me around! You have articulated exactly the process that I go through. Generally speaking however, I have tended to beat myself up more in terms of all the "oughts" and "shoulds" and the "right way" to do it. I'm coming to see that my process is my own unique method and it takes as long as it takes. All my worry and concern about how the process should look has not added one positive thing to the procedure. I have had the experience you speak of in Gathering the Women. One early morning as I was driving to the days retreat (called Gather the Women), I could actually feel and "see" the women picking up their purses, getting their car keys, and moving toward the retreat site with purpose. It was such a powerful experience that it brought tears to my eyes. These days I am working on doing the work and releasing the outcome. I am learning to trust the Universe and get out of the way of the flow of grace and light. Thank you for this posting.