A personal retreat is a special time that you take for yourself in order to reflect, regroup, refresh and recharge. The specifics of your retreat can be as unique as you are. It can be like taking a holiday, a time to relax with no agenda and no plans in particular. On the other hand, a retreat could also be a time of super-focus where every moment is structured by you (or by the group you are taking the retreat with). Your retreat may be focused on health, on a creative project or on deep reflection surrounding a personal or professional situation. No matter what the intention, the most basic common factor for organizing and going on any retreat is time.
A retreat is YOU taking dedicated time for YOURSELF in an atmosphere that takes you out of your normal routine and into a space of reflection. A retreat provides the raw material for inspiration.
Here are just a few examples of the most common reasons you may go on a retreat:
#1: The Health Retreat
Taking a retreat for healing and wellness is by far the most common kind of retreat one can experience. Resources on the internet abound, with meditation centers, retreat facilities and hotels offering pre-packaged retreats for yoginis, tai chi enthusiasts, detoxing, Ayurvedic treatments, spa treatment and more. Of course, the prices for these retreats run the gamut as well, ranging from $500 to upwards of thousands of dollar, not including airfare. A great online resources for information on over 2,000 searchable retreats focused mostly on healing is Retreat Finder.
If you are on a budget, however, you can definitely design your own wellness retreat in your own home, in simple hotel accommodations or in a simple cabin in the woods. Consider going on a diet detox or mineral bath retreat (my favorite). Light a candle, lock the door and pop in your favorite yoga DVD for some simple stretching to get the juices flowing again. Journaling about your health journey during the time you are on your health and wellness retreat will help you get touch with your body and its needs once you come back into the “real world” as well.
#2: The Creative Retreat
Just recently, I spent ten days in “hermit mode” in a little casita at the end of a country road in Taos, New Mexico. I purposely DID NOT bring my car but I MADE SURE that there was internet service, since I would need it for the work I was going to do. I went to the grocery store beforehand to buy food and supplies to last for ten days. Then I closed the door and got to work. My objective: to get this blog site up and running with a new theme and a new focus and to overcome my fear of all that techie stuff that creating a site on word press entails.
I created a schedule for myself that included morning yoga and a detox bath. By 11 am until about 8 am, however, I was plugging away on my project. I scheduled breaks every hour and an hour for lunch. I spread all my poster boards, colored markers, etc. out on the large table and dove in.
The result? You’re looking at it.
A creative retreat can be very effective in catapulting a project that has been simmering in the back burner (and perhaps is on the verge of going stale) into crystal-clear manifestation. Sometimes, all you need is time to let your muse do her thing. Most of the time, you also need a pretty strict schedule and maybe even a responsible friend you can call when times get tough and when you find yourself napping instead of finishing that paragraph or painting!
Maybe you are in the middle of a life transition. Or you feel as if you are balancing on a wire, needing to make a decision whether to go one way or the other in your career or personal life. If you are waiting for life to give you a little space in order to reflect on what to do, STOP. It’s not going to happen.
Take the time that you need to reflect on your situation and come to a decision that feels right to you. Schedule a retreat and stick to it like your life depends on it. Depending on your situation, maybe it does.
A weekend, a week, or even a day “off” from the normal to look at the sea, hike in the woods or sit in front of a fire with journal in hand may be all you need. Sometimes we just need to set aside the time to “sit” with the problem in a non-judgmental way and let all the neurotic thoughts running around in our head settle like particules of dust in a glass of water. Then, miraculously, solutions emerge. Be sure to have pen and paper, a computer or visual aids like colored markers, colored pencils or crayons to write out or draw out those solutions that bubble to the top of your consciousness.
With simple time and space, you will often be surprised what your higher conscious (or some would say the Divine) will show you. The solutions presented on retreat are often far more creative than anything your work-a-day brain could ever come up with.
Are these the only kinds of retreat that you can take? Heck no. There are as many kinds of retreats as there are unique individuals in the world who take them. I look forward to discussing these and others in more detail in the future!
What kind of retreat is calling to you? Share your calling in the comments section below: