Apr 1, 2011

How's The Serenity?

So, y'all might know that I went away with Nikki Logan, Sharon Archer and a friend of ours to a lighthouse keeper's cottage (the middle cottage in the picture on the left) recently for a writing retreat. Happy sigh.

And since I've been home, I've been thinking about the serenity (and now thinking of the movie The Castle because that's such a great quote!).

I moved out from Brisbane a few years ago, so my life already has less noise than some others', but there's still the garbage truck, the planes overhead, the neighbour's cars on the road and dogs barking down the street. And from inside the house, there's the internet. I love the internet, I truly do. But after being away without it for a week, I'm more aware than ever about how much it  affects my serenity.

So, I'm thinking that I need one week writing retreat away from the noises of the world every month. Which probably isn't going to happen. ;) But I do need to bring more serenity back into my life. Perhaps I need to find a nice spot around here - on the side of a mountain, maybe - and visit it once a month. I used to meditate regularly, but since I've become too busy... you guessed it, I let the meditation drop off.

Is there somewhere you go to get a dose of serenity? Something you do? I'd love to hear some of your ideas!


  1. Rachel

    What a beautiful spot to go to love the pics.

    Finding that serenity is very hard in this fast paced world all I can usually manage is some time here at home when everyone is out and I curl up on the recliner with my book for a few hours. I really need more of this time but with working 40 hours a week and now I have 6 grandchildren (who I love spending time with) I don't get enough me time.

    Finding a quiet place away from the phones and internet and life in general would be wonderful and if we could all do it at least one weekend every 6 months it would be awesome.

    Have Fun

  2. Lovely idea, and agree, beautiful pics. I have just moved to country NSW and find the serenity is good for me. NO planes overhead. Downside, no planes to go anywhere. Beautiful scenery just minutes out of town. Garbage trucks yes, but I need some civilisation around me, and they're quickly gone. I even recognise the squeaky brakes on the school bus at 8.30am. Rabbits in the school grounds next door. Been renovating, still to see how it all affects my writing. Watch this (rural) space.

  3. That looks so beautiful, Rachel! For serenity I love going to Mollymook, long walks on the beach (only it's gotten a lot more commercial). But Crescent Head is fabulous. Small place, huge amount of rentals so the normal population is small... Fantastic to go out of season and walk along the beach, go up to the headland, go for a meal when you want to...

  4. Helen, me time is so important, isn't it? Yep, once every 6 months would be fabulous. I might start making plans now... :)

    I think you've hit on a reason we're all such big readers - it's a little pocket of time we can manage where we can make the world go away.

  5. Valerie, your new abode sounds divine! Care for a rowdy group of romance writers appearing on your doorstep at regular intervals to share the serenity? ;)

    Though, the big question is, if you're in the country, how are you coping with those other country residents: spiders, snakes, crawly things...? You didn't seem overly fond of them (understatement alert) when you stayed with me. Enquiring minds need to know.

  6. Malvina, I used to go for beach walks all the time when we first moved out of Brisbane, but that's another thing that has dropped off recently. I should schedule them in, because they really make a difference, don't they? Something to do with negative ions, maybe. Or maybe just because it's so beautiful that we can't help but be inspired. :)

    Just googled Crescent Head...
    Gorgeous! I can see why you visit.

  7. I love to go to the mountains. If it's possible a short hike along a quiet trail is really rewarding. Actually going for a walk anywhere outside is wonderful Can you tell the winter here in Calgary has been too long. Mall walking just doesn't relieve the stress like a bit of fresh air.

  8. Hee Rachel, I've cunningly bought a townhouse In town, and pest treatment was one of the first things I did before moving in. My sister and BIL run a motel in town, so I had 30 other rooms to choose from, it's how I discovered I love the place. I have creature comforts but not too many creatures. And have I mentioned my nifty spider catcher gadget, harmless but gets them out of my territory. I AM thinking of doing writing workshops based at sister's motel, how did you guess?

  9. The security word thingy you have to type to prove you're not a robot was iness. In this context I-ness, sounded appropriate. Me-time and I-ness, both necessary to serenity IMO. Valerie

  10. Kaelee, walking outside is just the best. When we were at that lightkeeper's cottage, we all went for walks - some of us more than others. Sharon Archer got up very early and walked up a huuuuge hill to the new lighthouse. I was fast asleep at the time. But I did do other walks.

    I'm crossing my fingers that your winter passes soon into a gorgeous spring so you can hike some trails and not have to resort to mall-walking. :)

  11. Valerie, you're doing the country thang your own way - minus any critters. Cute. :)

    Oooh, workshops at the motel. Will keep an eye out - I bet people will be lining up all the way to Sydney!

    I-ness. Good word. We should bring it into regular use.

  12. Hey Rach

    Your trip away to a lighthouse cottage sounds wonderful, and so glad that you found a little serenity while you were there. Sharing that space with other writer friends must have made the time extra special too.

    Like you and Valerie, I choose to live away from the big-smoke( granted more populated than you, with less snakes and creepy-crawlies...) I find my little bit of serenity when I sit on my deck and stair out into the canal, looking for the overdue dolphins visits, or watching the stingrays as they dance together. Also, on maintenance runs in my boat, when its calm in the bay, I switch my engines off, and float along with the turtles and sea-weed...

    I agree with you that so often life gets too busy and we let small things like walks on the beach, mediation, boat outings with no destination in mind lapse ....perhaps finding our serenity is really making sure that we push back at that busy schedule and make time for things that help us ground ourselves again.

    Thank you so much for the reminder!

    Waving madly.

    Bye 4 now

  13. Tina, you certainly live in a beautiful part of the country. And I can just see you watching the canal for the dolphins and stingrays!

    Sitting on the water with your engines turned off would be lovely and serene. When I was a teenager, we used to sail catamarans during the holidays. Divine.

  14. Rach - see while you were enjoying all that 'off air' serenity I was twitching and grinding my teeth at not being able to get my daily conveniences.

    I do like serenity, I do like quiet very very much. But prefer it on my own terms/schedule.

    I'm a big believer in the 'electronic sunset' theory of sleep improvement and think it should apply to other areas of our lives. We all need time/a place to go to be off air. Truly off air.

    Which is where i should be now :) Right after this comment.... ;)

  15. Nikki, you obviously needed an extra week to detox. Next time, maybe? ;)

  16. Hi Rachel!

    Wasn't it a fabulous week! I did find it hard to start with to be detached from my electronic comms! Hard to believe that once upon a time, and not that long ago, we didn't have instant access to information and phones didn't fit into our pockets to go with us wherever we went.

    So the visit to Bruny Island was a marvellous reminder that we don't have to be instantly contactable 24/7... though I do confess I have quickly got back into the groove of those devices! So a regular retreat to somewhere out of the way might be just the ticket!

    (very happy sigh!)

  17. Sharon, I often think that it wasn't that long ago I didn't have a mobile phone, and even less years ago that I didn't have a computer. Now it's hard to imagine life without them.

    Regular retreats. Yes. A must. :)

  18. Oh, Rach, your writing retreat sounds heavenly and a fabulous way to refill the well. (A lighthouse keeper's cottage -- nice!) I think that is a VERY good way to increase the serenity.

    I try to bring more serenity into my day by taking walks in the afternoon, just when the shadows are starting to lengthen. Also, am thinking about invoking a cut-off time for email and internet access -- it's amazing how much it can take over. Convenient -- yes. Serenity inducing -- absolutely not.

  19. Michelle, walks just when the shadows are starting to lengthen. I'm feeling more serene just thinking about it.

    Hey, I heard today that you came up with a fabulous title for Kaz Delaney's next book: Dead, Actually. Fabulous! And knowing Kaz, I know the book will be fabulous too. Win-win. :)

  20. Oh, yes, finding serenity -- it's absolutely necessary -- and not always easy to find! I like climbing a hill where no one else is or walking on the beach. And yoga! I try to find time for yoga every day. It isn't always possible, but the days when it is are always more serene!

  21. Emily, I remember your daily yoga session from when you were staying with me. I've done yoga in the past (not to the level that you can do!) and I love it when I'm doing it. Thanks for the reminder - I must dig out those dvds.

    Seems that climbing a hill or walks on the beach / in the bush are popular ways to bring on the serenity. Makes sense.

  22. I've just started regular yoga - altho finding 20 mins away from interruptions is pretty hard (the kids like to do it too, and giggle a LOT). One day I'm going to go on a writing retreat. It'll be a few years before I can, but I'm SO going to do it!

  23. Another yoga fan! It's a definite sign that I need to find those dvds...

    As soon as your kids are old enough, you really should do a writing retreat. Maybe since you have to wait, yours should be on a Greek Island, or maybe a little cottage in Tuscany. ;)

  24. Hi Rachel,

    The photos are so lovely. And looks like you had a nice time.

    For me, escape is in reading romance novels.

  25. My word verification was CATOXE.
    LoveCats Detoxing?

  26. Nas, we had a fabulous time!

    Yep, have to agree that romance novels are a great escape. I've just ordered some new ones online and I'm *so* excited. In the meantime, I'll have to keep reading the books on my TBR pile. :O)

    Love CATOXE. Detoxing from everyday life with a category romance!

  27. Hi Rachel,
    What a great place to be at one with yourself and discover your inner serenity! There's something so special about lighthouses - it's almost magical.

    Valerie, those workshops sound great!!

    Hugs to all

  28. Serena, such a great topic for someone called Serena to comment on! Glad you came along. :)

    There was a definite magical feel about the lighthouse, the cottage and the surrounds. I feel serene again just looking at the photos.

  29. LOL Rachel, I was going to comment on me always having my own Serenity but, well, it's kinda corny ;-P

  30. Coming in late again (I must need some of that serenity)!

    I don't have anywhere I go, or any great tips. Maybe I need to find some :)

  31. Anita, I reckon you need some serenity processes in place! Have you ever tried yoga? Em and Nat are finding it good - you could do 20 minutes in the morning after the kids go to school. Of course, I find chocolate equally as effective. ;)

  32. Serena, never let the corniness of the line hold you back from commenting here. ;)

    Though, the question has to be asked - is it that you always have your own serenity? Or is it more that your husband and sons always have their own serenity on hand...? =)

  33. Oh it looks marvelous - what a lovely place for a writing retreat. Serenity - hmmm...well I live in a house full of noise, so anything away is serene :) Seriously, I love just going to the beach - either sitting on the bench looking out of the waves, or walking along it. There's something magical about the whole atmosphere.

  34. Eleni, the beach is such a perfect place to find serenity, isn't it? And even better with a dog. :)

  35. That looks sooooo wonderful. Finding slices of peace is mega important, isn't it. I adore quiet, when I'm alone and knowing the family is off, happy doing their own thing, and there's no TVs blaring. Lying on an isolated beach - just the sound of the waves and a fab book to keep me company - that's perfect peace for me.

  36. Oh, Robbie, that sounds divine! I can hear the waves now... Happy sigh.