Do you need to retreat?

There are many ways to define retreat. As a verb, it is to move back or withdraw. As a noun, it is a quiet or secluded place in which you can rest and relax.

I have been retreating at least once a year in various ways for at least a decade, even when my children were quite young. I have found these getaways, even when brief, are exactly the medicine I have needed to refuel and receive guidance for what comes next.

I returned from retreat in Costa Rica with 33 beautiful humans about 6 weeks ago. We had a reunion in person and online a few days ago, and talked about the gift we each received on retreat and how we are integrating that gift into our daily life.

The gifts people reported from retreating:

  • Improved food choices
  • A desire to swim everyday
  • Healing with my mother
  • More awareness of the magic around me
  • The chance to create a new life
  • New friends
  • What it feels like to be in a healthy body that is rested
  • Space to grieve
  • Increased vibrancy
  • Remembering the importance of community

If there was one theme that seemed to repeat itself as people shared, it was the power of coming together in conscious community. One person reported that they are certain they wouldn’t have received the deep healing they did without the safe container of the group.

This is why I love retreat so much: the deep, authentic connections that are forged in a relatively short period of time, and how these connections heal.

Loneliness and disconnection has become all too common, especially since the pandemic. We are social beings! Even though we have been socialized to buy into rugged individualism, we actually long to be seen, heard, touched, acknowledged, and witnessed.

There are many ways to retreat, and you certainly do not need to get on an airplane. For years, I have retreated with a dear friend for 1 or 2 days to an Air BNB (sometimes even in the same town where I live).

To me, these are the prerequisites for retreat:

  1. It is helpful to have at least 1 other person along to witness, listen, and hold space together.
  2. At the beginning of retreat, set intentions or desires for what you want to receive during your time away from your daily routine. Light a candle, and speak or write these intentions down.
  3. Don’t schedule anything on retreat. Allow the openness of space and time to guide your actions. Rest. Do nothing. Go on long walks. Paint a picture. Be in silence. Allow your body/mind to receive.
  4. Journal or write the insights, ideas, dreams that come your way.
  5. Feel as much as possible….your body, your emotions. It is not uncommon that when we retreat, lots of emotions rise for us because we are finally slowing down.
  6. Eat yummy, nourishing, satisfying foods. Avoid any substances that numb you. Bring plenty of chocolate.
  7. At the end of retreat, close it as consciously as you opened it. Express gratitude for the space, the people, the food, the views, and the insights that arose during this time.
  8. As you move back into your daily grind, be aware of at least 1 gift you received during retreat, and how you can integrate that gift back into daily life. For instance, if one of the gifts was time to draw and paint, can you carve out some time each week for this creative pursuit?

Whether you retreat for several hours or several weeks, please know that the benefits of this rest and reset ripple out to everyone around you.

And…if you are being called to one of my retreats (there are 3 currently scheduled)….would love to have you join.