The December Retreat

An appointment with me.

photo 1
The still waters of Lake Ponchartrain. Photo c2014 Lisa Silvestri


On the first weekend in December I’m going on a personal and business retreat.

In my home.

December is a curious month, devoted entirely to preparing for a one day celebration,  going to parties that one complains about and putting everything off …”until after Christmas.”

It is the frenzy of December that I like the least.  That is why my ears raised when I learned my business coach holds a retreat for her employees during the first weekend of December.  She gathers her staff in a nice lodge in northern California, complete with fireplaces, massage, yoga and champagne interspersed with a review of past performance and business goal setting for the year to come.

I tried getting some friends interested in a personal December retreat back in July, when there remained time to actually schedule such a weekend…but everyone hedged.  “Gee, I don’t know.”  “I have a lot of parties at this time of year.”  “This time of year is difficult.”  “The kids…”   They all suggested January.

A December retreat is like deciding on Friday, what you’re going to do on Monday.  That way, when Monday rolls around, you slide easily into your week, no thinking required.  Same with December and January.  No more waking up after New Year’s and thinking…now what.

I have set aside the first weekend of December.  Phones turned off.  All the things of a spa weekend plus a planning meeting for 2015.  My life as a project.

There will be all the foods I love, like smoked salmon and croissants.  Elegant salads for lunch.  Prosecco during happy hour.  There will be massage, a facial, yoga and meditation.

Then, I have broken up the hours of this two day pause, with specific meetings for me with me.  One session is called:  2014, a review.  Achievements, accomplishments, the good, the bad, what worked, what didn’t.   Next there will be a goal setting session for 2015.  Brainstorming and meditation on different aspects of my life:  business, personal, spiritual, physical, creative.

One exercise I will do is  Marie Forleo’s “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”  It frees your mind and lets your spirits soar into areas you may not have imagined or permitted yourself to go.  If you can’t dream it, you can’t have it.  Once you say it, you realize, hey, why not?

“Wouldn’t it be great if…  I went to live in France for three months?”  (Yes, it would!  Why not?)

“Wouldn’t it be great if…I finished writing my novel?”  (Yes, it would!  Why not?)

“Wouldn’t it be great if…I monetized my blog?”  (Yes, it would!  Why not?)

Pampering for the body, lovely food and drink for the senses, lots of meditation time, list making, goal setting — all wrapped up in a lot of gratitude.  Sounds good to me. The holiday craziness will be waiting for me afterwards.

I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, will you think about joining me next year for a refreshing December retreat, at the time of year when we need it most?

xo  Liza

What’s cooking at Camp Liza this weekend:  Coq au vin.  What’s baking? Mary Berry’s coffee walnut cake.


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4 thoughts on “The December Retreat

  1. I love this post! Yes, I would totally be with you if I lived close by. Christmas has lost its true meaning in our over commercialised country. When for goodness sake did we start celebrating mid October through to January? As for the day itself it’s all about friends and family and that’s how it should be.
    I like the idea of reviewing the past year and making plans for 2015. I’ve had 2 weeks here on the Gulf to do something similar. I’m not a huge lover of plan making preferring to make a decision and go with it. If you want 3 months in France then go for it…do it now whilst you can xx

    1. Jo, I agree with your comment about “the holiday season” starting in mid October. We are all weary by the time Christmas comes. The Christmas decorations arrive in Costco in late July. Really? You inspire me with your focused decision making and the results you get for all your hard work.

  2. I like your plan of making a plan. You always amaze me at how you do make a plan and then follow through. I’ve seen you do it many times over the years and truly admire you for it. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve planned. And, WHEN you go to France for three months, I’d love to visit!

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