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ReTreat Yourself : You Gotta Be Your Sanctuary

This is [y]our head’s up.

Wings ready?

[Garden] Hearts open.

Oh, less we can!

#ReTreatYourself is underway – the 2018 Red Bird theme.

Popping up across my personal landscape like a little, precious wildflower, here and there, dotted in posts, live streaming, offerings, and correspondence is my theme.

In my professional world, it supports one of my sacred belief pillars: the #TakeGoodCare one — design as love for self, other person, creatures and our planet.

I contend that the road of healing is… observing the messages, heeding the signs, moving into action to repair/accept and taking steps (constantly) to take good care.

Rightly, the view from my precious, personal world, is one of a most intimate theme-doing, out loud, double entendre experience that I’ve shared. Maybe time has come because I’m turning 81? (See my math below.)

Thanks to reflection and reconciliation moments when writing my Garden Comfort Zone article for Pacific Horticulture Magazine; listening to/reading soul-enriching podcast and posts from various inspirators; flowing along while grappling with a growing relationship with Mom’s dementia rather than her and well, dwelling in the glorious gift of my son, 2017 cracked me open while finishing a great part of me.

There was nothing I could do come those final seconds on December 31, 2017, to not feel Concluded. Done. Ended. Finished. Out. Compost.

While feeling New. Vulnerable. Excited. Light. Emerging. Sprouted.

How many times have you felt like you were a landscape of “whiles”?

Sufficed, with the gate of 2018 swung open, I stand concluded while full frontal forward facing a series of anniversaries on the horizon.

Coming ’round in ’18, I’ll be 81 (and here’s my math):

– 1 year in March in the #GardenofMotherhood (follow along by following the Instagram hashtag).

– 10 years in June married to my exact opposite, exact twin, my beloved, my ever-dreamed of #MechanicalWonderman.

– 50 years in July on this planet and a #MommaProject pupil.

– 20 years in November as an entrepreneur, running Red Bird, conspiring to empower, delight, comfort through a platform of creating and curating personal, outdoor, healing, nature-rich spaces, helping people feel better with nature and (re)connect to their naturally soulful self.

You did catch the turning 81 while being in ’18, yes?

How would you dare #ReTreatYourself.

A noun and verb.

A place and action.

A luxury and necessity.

A reframe and reminding.

A philosophy and activity.

A bridge and “while” expanse.

Outside and inside.

You see, given that I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary, turning 50, a new mom, a new co-parent, I’m itching more than ever to show you how to create and use your Garden Comfort Zone or your Healing Garden Happy Place or a Restorative Landscape that you shareI want to help you design your sanctuary, oasis, haven, shangri-la squarely in the middle of your life as a space to support your life NOT ESCAPE FROM IT; be the one you turn to for serene and keen styling ideas; share with you the latest ideas for elements and features, and to support you in different ways to use your space to feel good.


If you aren’t in the habit of holding a place for yourself to Re (revive, restore, redo) Treat (being good to yourself), we’ve got a gap WHILE we have wishes.

The sacred spaces I’ve helped create in 20 years have success when those nurturing them understand 2 basic things:

  • That they themselves are a sacred resource that needs restoring, refueling, reconnecting – not just the landscape.
  • That it is in their nature to feel good. (Double meaning fully intended AND is the secret design-satisfaction sauce.)

How can we possibly talk about making a healing garden outdoor space if one does not consider oneself worthy and a precious ecosystem?

You can’t fix what you don’t know.

I know you need a sacred, nature-infused space where you reap beauty and mental, physical, psychological, spiritual benefit, BUT if you don’t come from a place of knowing that you need to take good care of yourself – that it is in your nature to heal (and to be healed) – that you deserve to be wrapped in empowerment and delight — where do we begin to speak of space?

The #ReTreatYourself theme is a case of where to start. 

You gotta want to take good care, blur the line between outside and inside, bear a sweet vulnerability with yourself, know that if you go first for once, it’s okay.

You gotta be your sanctuary.

May I suggest we start modestly, by small, revolutionary, natural, playful acts of #ReTreatingYourself?

Nature teaches us, constantly, seasonally, without exception, about redos, revivals, restoring. When we humans get out of the way (and even when we don’t), Nature takes care of herself. What comes after (sometimes taking a bit longer then we’d like and with great healing)… is beautiful and we collectively benefit.

Now listen, I’m no expert taking-good-care-of-me type. Remember, I’m a recovering over-doer, over-carer, keeper-of-all-moving-parts like you. And because of that, I know that I need the restorative experience of outside in my garden spaces to permeate my insides.

2017 + a handful of challenging years prior had me observing messages and heeding signs, despite my protests. (Don’t worry, I filed complaints with “The Department”.)

Honestly, with the arrival of our boy joy, Ambrose, I’m in a place where it is life-support-necessary to take action to repair/accept and begin taking steps (constantly) to take good care. Like you, I need a place inside that holds the high watch for me; that is the sounding (and feeling) board for revival for me; that grows in practice at taking good care so it is my habit(at) for me.

Do you dig it? You + me as restorative landscapes wherein taking good care is our natural habitat. Sing me a hallelujah! 

And then, only then, can we make a space to support ourselves. Space that reflects and reminds you of the life you’re nurturing. That space then acts as a conduit for the constant empowerment of your revolutionary take-good-care actions.

You see, I’m going for an all-out new ecosystem in the landscape of us.

Let’s master small actions of defiance against the programming of resource depletion of us WHILE restoring the landscape infrastructure of renewed us.

– Where we take good care ourselves while helping others;

– Where we create healing garden happy places outside while nurturing self-respect and our needs on this inside;

– Where we soar in the clouds of contagious creativity while we surrender to simplicity;

– Where nature’s seasons reflect supportive message while we walk through the seasonal experiences of our lives;

– Where we are thriving outside while healing inside, constantly, seasonally, without exception.

How I’ll #ReTreatYourself in 2018 – my ideas en medias res 

Repot 2 adopted houseplants to be sentinels in my studio (more on houseplants and bene’s coming soon); take art class; sit quietly, alone; inbox to zero; remove myself from email lists; read 1 book/month; purge my closet; take dance class; when I feel a “no”, I’ll say it; try a new recipe once a week; reactivate morning yoga; sleep hygiene; take Soul Strolls; practice #MommyMonday boundaries; let go of select business growth ideas; liberate myself from certain social and news media; do less; don’t go where I don’t wanna go and don’t be around those I don’t wanna be around; write or nap during nap times; purchase a sectional.


So you see, not crazy-pants intellectual nor complicated. Just commitments of pleasure that lead me closer (back) to me WHILE informing how I use my outdoor space as my Garden Comfort Zone or Healing Garden Happy Place. Design = love = life style.

Really, simply #ReTreatYourself boils down to a “landscape maintenance” of me.

I’m embracing this theme while being wide open, showing up honest and revealed while keeping private, filling up every part of my being with delight while floating in the lake of exhaustion, and doing as much of life as I possibly can while taking good care of the precious resource that is me, starting in the garden inside.


And this article I’ve linked to? Well, it fortifies while challenges. Enjoy AND join me on this #ReTreatYourself magic carpet ride. To 2018 and more while less.…/this-is-what-self-care-reall…/…

My very best, Annie

your card-carrying gal-pal here at the #redbirdclub

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