Personal Writing,  Writing Retreat Reflections

10 little days

On September 4th, two days into my two-week writing retreat, I came across a cool thing called a 10 Day Miracle Challenge, and I wrote about it on September 5th. This was the calendar I created:

I was early in the retreat and early in my evolution of the Miracle Challenge, too. I really liked the idea of creating a visual, and I decided to turn it into a diary of sorts about the kinds of things that felt like they were part of the Challenge. I knew this would be one of those items I’d take home and refer to often.

The first iteration I made was to drill down on my goal because I had a miracle lightbulb moment and knew I needed to rethink this Challenge document:

The 5:36 and 19:08 are the visualization moments I took. The highlighted Disrupt Systems is from my big idea moment. And you can see that I got more specific about a piece of my desire. I moved from the generic “I want a paid speaking and writing life.” to “I want my work to go from here to HERE.” And what I mean is that right now, much of my work is very internal and small, and I want it to have a much more outward-looking, public platform; to affect and be affected by others.

Yesterday was the wrap of my 10-day Miracle Challenge. First of all, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 10 days already. As with so many moments and experiences in our life, the days of this retreat sometimes felt long and aimless, but now that I am winding down, I can’t believe how quickly they flew by.

But part of that speed is simply the unbelievable amount of creative content I have produced. The other thing I spent a lot of time doing was walking. LOTS of walking. And I decided to track my steps because I used those walks, intentionally and unintentionally, as my dreaming, mental break time. It’s in those down periods where my, and frankly most people’s, best ideas occur. It’s when I stop “thinking” and just let my mind be that I get past the surface and break into the deeper recesses of my brain. And I wanted this notecard to remind me of that:

I abandoned the visual meditation I had been doing at first because after the initial incredibly vibrant session, I just kind of floundered and had no real revelations. I was invited by a woman I know to start an online 21-day meditation session, so I signed up for that on Sept 7. Each day of the meditation has a reading and assignment component, and on day 3, the assignment was to start your own group, so I did that, too. That began on Sept 13. All of that is noted on this card because I also felt like there was power in seeing the consistency and the bravery it took to do those two things.

I would have done all these things even if I hadn’t created this little calendar, but I wouldn’t have a visual of them if I hadn’t taken up the 10-day Miracle Challenge. I can pretty safely assume that I wouldn’t be reflecting on what all these tasks and activities have brought to me without seeing them all collected here.

Have I had a miracle happen in these 10 days? It depends on how you define “miracle.” If the word can only be “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency” ( then perhaps not. I didn’t see a talking burning bush or turn water to wine or even save that poor little bird from its terrible demise much less raise it up again.

But, if you’re willing to define it this way, “A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences” then I feel very comfortable saying yes, I had many miracles.

I produced content I am proud of across many mediums. I never cried about the dark. I worked my mind and body consistently. I ate only real food, and by that I mean everything was at its most base: homemade granola made entirely of real ingredients–oatmeal, raw nuts, maple syrup, etc; split pea soup made from homemade stock and vegetables I chopped up. I got (more) comfortable in nature: grasshoppers and little frogs often hopped right in front of me, and I never once screamed or tried to get out of the way.

If you’re feeling stuck, jump into the 10-day Miracle Challenge for yourself and figure out how you want to represent the days. The miracle might just be focusing on being conscious of the work you’re doing and where you are putting your energy. You don’t need to go on a two-week solo writing retreat to have that experience and to feel like your life has been changed for the better because of it.

Good luck! Let me know how your 10 days go. Also, I’m creating an in person (socially distanced of course!) and virtual weekend retreat to dig into this type of work more deeply with others November 13-15. Send me a message if you want more information. This one is just for women, but if it goes well, I’ll find ways to expand for men, too.

I’m using this featured image because it makes me laugh–kind of looks like I’ve got a halo on like the Christian iconoclast art from the Byzantine era. In keeping with the miracle theme, perhaps. 😇

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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