Life is amazing. It's also busy, messy, unpredictable, and overwhelming at times. A friend recently posted a meme on her Facebook wall that said, "I need a time out. Send me to the beach and don't come back until my attitude changes." Pretty sure we can all relate to that one. I need a time out, too!
In this messy, amazing, inspiring, demanding, distracting world, there's often not enough time to dedicate to the other things... the sacred things, the things that feed your spirit and soothe your frazzled, bedazzled heart.
Enter... the Retreat.
I'm an admitted "retreat junkie" and have used the luscious insights I have gained to begin leading retreats, myself. In my opinion, retreats are necessary luxuries for our lives; not because they allow for an escape, but because because they allow for an e x p a n s i o n.
Here, my Top Five reasons why retreats are awesome.
1. The offerings. Most retreats offer healthy experiences - and it's okay if you're not an expert. Mindfulness, yoga, creative writing, meditation.... They sound intriguing and a part of you really wants to learn more... But you haven't the foggiest idea how to start. Or maybe, you want to dig deeper. Many retreats offer beautifully guided instruction on different methods of tapping into your most vibrant, capable self - whether through guided hikes, deep meditation, daily yoga, or activities to jump start your creativity and spark your internal "Yes!" Retreats are often intended for you to explore these areas in a supportive, welcoming environment.
2. The setting. Often, gatherings are held in serene, gorgeous locations. Think mountain streams, quiet whispering woods, a glowing hearth, a holy site, or trails through sacred ground. Retreat settings encourage a disconnect from the busy outside world, and a chance to leave behind the obstacles that hinder your immersion into the deep, peaceful and restorative space a retreat can provide. Think of a setting that speaks to your soul. There is probably a retreat being offered there! RetreatFinder is a great place to search for inspired locations around the world.
3. "Me time." Some retreats are geared toward personal, private growth. Others are meant for group connection and education. Whether you choose to embark on a retreat to soothe your own desires or if you have a girlfriend whose hand you want to grab as you delve in, recognize a retreat as a precious opportunity to connect with the most important person in your life: yourself. Retreats allow for deep contemplation and mind expansion, without the distractions of others to deter you. This is such an important aspect of self-love, since once we take beautiful care of our selves, we are even more capable of taking beautiful care of everyone else.
4. Camaraderie. Since there are so many varieties of retreat offerings - silent meditation, women's empowerment, physical betterment, spiritual connection, art and writing, etc. - you're bound to encounter a kindred spirit or two at your getaway. Soul-fueled connection is one of the most enlightening and powerful ways we can contribute to our best selves... and to the world. The energy of a retreat retreat allows for the open communication and connection with another person that are often passed by in the "real world." At a retreat, your soul sister, new business partner, or artistic muse could be sitting right across the room from you. The level of connection you exude or accept is entirely up to you.
5. Inspiration. Ultimately, retreats are designed to spark your deepest inner flames. Enter with an open heart and ready mind, and you will most likely be astonished at the peaceful and positive changes you will absorb, that can affect your whole life. Perhaps you'll find the final reason to start you blog, or the clarity required to change your job, or the insight you needed to find that still, quiet place inside. There's nothing that can compare to the hushed exuberance of a heart transformed.
If a retreat speaks to you, listen. You're probably meant to be there.
by Emily Nielsen
"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."
All posts are copyright ©Emily Nielsen