Have you been going back and forth in your mind about going on a retreat?
In today’s world there are thousands of retreats to choose from. There are many factors that go into choosing the perfect retreat for you (think location, cost, teachers, etc.), but I know one thing for sure…you will positively be different when you return. In this post, I share about the benefits of taking time out of your every day life, and stepping into another reality for a few days.
I’ve loved going on retreat since I was a young girl. Growing up, I went to a Catholic School that took us on retreat once a year. It felt refreshing to get out of the classroom and into a new environment where we could connect with our inner feelings, God, and each other.
As an adult, I started going on retreats again in 2012. My first introduction back into the power of these beautiful gatherings was a weekend at the Esalen Institute with one of my favorite spiritual authors, Dan Millman. I went with my partner, Joshua, and we enjoy a weekend of delicious organic food, world class instruction, and snoring…lots of snoring (we chose to have shared sleeping bag accommodations!). Loud breathing aside, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was hooked.
Since that first trip to Esalen I’ve gone on 3-4 retreats per year as a participant, assistant, and now co-facilitator. There are innumerable benefits to going on a retreat, but here are some of my top reasons for taking time for yourself:
–Reflect inward. When you step out of your daily routines, you’re able to gain perspective into what no longer serves you in your life. All retreat facilitators have different ways of supporting you in doing so, but generally this is done through meditation, yoga, group exercises, healthy eating, journaling, or walks in nature. When you are free from the distractions of your daily life, and cell phone notifications, you will find a sense of clarity and inner knowing.
–Learn & create new habits. Once you have gained a sense of clarity about what is no longer working for you, you can be more open to trying out new things. The facilitators of your retreat should come equipped with tools, techniques, and knowledge of methods to support you in learning and creating new habits. When you return home, you might be more willing to bring some of those practices into your every day life since you’ve already received positive results from them on your retreat!
–Meet soulmate connections. Every time I go on a retreat, I meet another beautiful soul who I remain connected to for life. When you take the time to step out of the roles your play in your everyday life, you are free to show up however you want to in that moment. You’re often given the opportunity to connect to your true self (who you really are on a soul level…outside of the roles and stories of your life) and connect with other beautiful souls in a deeper, more meaningful, way.
–Feel Empowered. Due to all the benefits listed above, you will feel stronger and more equipped to take on the challenges that face you in your personal life. The sense of clarity on your unique situation(s), combined with new practices and friends, cultivates a support network and inner strength to give you the gentle push you need to move forward and step into new spaces.
If you are considering going on a retreat, I hope that this post supports you in make the decision to take the time for yourself. So many of us (myself included!) spend more time giving our time and energy to others. We have to take the time to nourish our own body, mind, and soul so that we can show up as our best selves for our family, careers, and friends. If I can leave you with just one piece of advice, always bring earplugs…and an open mind and heart!