When I hear the word ‘retreat’, my whole body responds: remembering the respite from the busy world of doing and going, the island of tranquility, the exhalation. I believe in retreat, and in an ideal world, we’d all get to do it far more often than we do.
Using a retreat as a place to learn and grow is one of my favorite ways to do so. When I trained to be a doula, I chose a training that was a week long, at a hot springs resort nestled in the forest (Breitenbush Hot Springs). While I could have chosen any number of doula trainings that lasted a weekend, or even online training, I knew that stepping away, quite far away, from my daily life would increase the depth of learning needed to fully embrace stepping into that new role.
Why are retreats so powerful?
A BREAK IN ROUTINE: Whether it’s long days at work which you can’t seem to not take home, the ups and downs and ins and outs of parenting, commuting, meetings, emails, phone calls—you name it, we can ALL use a break from our daily routines. Taking space allows for fresh perspectives, quieting of the mind, re-inspiration, and can allow you to focus on the purpose of your retreat, whether it be simply to get away, do some deep inner work, or learn new things.
A CONTAINER FOR RENEWAL: Unlike a vacation, a retreat offers a safe container for change and renewal. While vacationing is an awesome way to reset, it doesn’t necessarily remove you from the hustle and bustle, and it can end up being busier and more stimulating than your normal life. A retreat, on the other hand, is specifically designed to be a place and time of simplifying routines—even if there is much to learn. Being surrounded by nature adds another level of support—our human brains need nature to recharge and reduce cortisol production.
LIKE-MINDED PARTICIPANTS: People drawn to a particular type of retreat (yoga, silent, meditation, etc) are all likely to be supportive of the others retreating with them. When learning new things, exploring new ideas, and going through transformations, a group of people on the same path can be very helpful. There is also an opportunity to make long-term friendships that will help to reinforce the information gained, or skills learned well beyond the actual retreat.
I’m looking forward to co-facilitating the Awakening Your Heart of Fire retreat with my friends, Robin Johnston and Beth Noelle in just a little over a month. If you could use a break from your daily routine, an opportunity to renew and grow, while being supported and nurtured, check out the information over at www.heartoffire-retreat.com.
Do you retreat? By yourself? With other people? Do you find retreat to be a powerful tool in your life? Let me know in the comments.