7 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ON RETREAT
I have been leading health and yoga retreats for 9 years now.
Over the years, retreating has become a HUGE part of my personal medicine and my business model.
I have traveled far and wide to corners of the world leading women internationally, and also stayed right here in this beautiful state of Colorado loving the shorter weekends away or day retreats for a sweet reprieve.
Each and every time I go on retreat, I experience shifts, breakthroughs and insights that are life changing. It is not only energetic and soothing, but tangible how things unfold in my life for the long term.
Within the business of life, and the fullness most of us experience in our day-to-day, it is necessary to find ways to fill up our cup, to replenish and restore, and to listen intently to our wise selves. Time to ourselves is more than just fluff , it is imperative to keeping our personal success and balance in sync..
I wanted to share with you some of my greatest "aha" moments and retreat gems from over the years.
Each time I have ventured into retreat, with or without the guilt of leaving my kids at home, my business to survive without me for a couple of weeks, or my repetitive self doubting question: “can I really pull this off?”, I am left with the opportunity to let go and surrender to what ever arises.
Even amidst missing my children or worrying about my absence from my daily life, I have come to the understanding that all of this inner hoopla and self talk needs to also take a break. The stories I tell my self about what I deserve and the unnecessary need to be needed back at home are just like hooks to grab my monkey mind so it can run amuck.
Each time I retreat, it takes me a little bit of time to settle in and drop in. It is a big shift to go from doing all the time, hearing each ring, text and email come into my field, and filling up the days with tasks that seem to never end.
In the deepest surrender, I have found a love affair with myself, and my own value in taking care and filling up my cup so I can return a renewed woman with a lot more to give back.
There is nothing like taking myself out of the smaller “worms eye view” and into the larger “eagle eye view” for a shift of perspective. I notice that I get so bogged down with automatic behaviors and thoughts when I am busy in my daily life, so getting out of dodge is actually therapeutic for a renewed experience.
Seeing what is working or not working in our lives is much easier when we are not “in it”. When I am on retreat, I take quite a bit of time for personal inquiry, journaling, meditation, long solo walks for contemplation etc. These time are just precious for seeing what I need to improve, align or shift. This is not about being right, wrong, or adding in more shame, but rather about seeing things from a more alive and expansive view.
Being with a group of women who have come together with a common purpose adds potency to anything we do. I have experienced this in women’s circles, friendship support networks, and retreats many times. I have also witnessed the beautiful and magical weaving together of other women and their continued connection that tends to go on for a lifetime, thanks now to social media and online ways of staying connected.
One thing we often overlook is our deep desire for connection. It is primal, and primary and it is why we are here. Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen. This takes some practice, some trust and the sacredness of a group of women with similar intentions.
Feeling the support of a group of women is a wonderful blessing that we all deserve to feel.
There is a strong sense of dedication and devotion that has become a wonderful tool for me through retreats, having time for deep spiritual practice and the fullness of self-love and self-care. Some could consider this devotion to oneself, enough to take the extra time and resources to even go on retreat. Others may consider this devotion to a higher energy or universal force greater than oneself. For me it is a pretty dynamic union of the two. Devotion, commitment and diligence are very powerful qualities when one is moving towards a goal, a desire, or an intention in any area of life.
Cultivating devotion on retreat is one of my favorite aspects of having some space to focus on myself.
When I take time for myself and spend time listening inward every day 2 things happen. First, I notice that I get spontaneous thoughts or movements of creativity that will guide me to what is next in my life plan. For example, I will see a solution to getting stuck in my relationships, or how to improve a situation in my business with creativity and innovation. I call these “downloads”. Second, I notice I become more highly attuned to how things impact me or make me feel.
This intuitive refinement and practice is a tool that I can tangibly practice at home in my daily life. It has grown over the years to heighten my connection to myself, to my health, and to my emotional body. I find it to be incredibly valuable.
For me empowerment is the ability and awareness to make a conscious choice that has a positive outcome in my life rather than an automatic choice that may not. Retreats have shown me specifically where I have my power and where I can build up my strength, my desire, and my personal lust for life so that I am able to find my power in different areas of life that are in need.
For me, being out of my normal comfort and familiarity of daily life offers me the ability to practice being in my power in a safe environment, to reflect on what is the truth in a situation, and to begin to practice finding my way back home to myself.
Each time I retreat, I am shown, taught, and reminded of a plethora of resources I can use back at home to "take the retreat home with me." Over the years this has helped me build up quite a tool box of ways to manage stress, confusion, and heartbreak.
Many of the resources I teach now, have also guided women I know into a personal revolution within themselves to breakthrough old ways of being that no longer serve them in there lives. I see the before and after affect of retreat in this particular way and I hear so often.... "how things are so different since Bali".
I know once we can slow down, go inward, share, feel support and love, and give back to ourselves, we can make a shift that counts in our lives, our health and our overall wellbeing and happiness.