Truth: I had a ton of resistance leading up to this past weekend's retreat in the Catskills. Even though I was cooking for the retreat, my mind made up all these reasons why I didn't need to go and why I shouldn't go.
Over the last 5 years, I've co-hosted, supported, helped organize and participated in over a dozen retreats. Each time some sort of resistance comes up. I somehow make it through and each time I'm blown away by the transformative power of a weekend (or week) away.
This weekend was no different.
The focus of the weekend was around self care: we meditated on what in our lives needs to go, we journaled on the practices or habits we felt needed to come in and we had real, honest conversations about our challenges taking care of ourselves as adults in the modern world.
Our three days in the mountains felt like WAY longer - there was time for all the things (yoga, healthy food, hiking, down time, sleep!). I felt myself shed an energetic layer of "stuff" I wasn't even fully aware I was carrying around.
The space and time for reflection also allowed me to get even clearer on my next steps: what's important to me right now, where I want to focus my energy and what I need to let go of in order for my goals to come to fruition.
As I've shared before, sometimes I feel like I'm just learning how to be a grown up now. Sure my parents, family and school taught me a lot of the practical steps, but as I walk through this 3rd decade of my life, I'm surprised at the emotional, mental and spiritual lessons I'm learning.
And while many of those lessons are learned in the day to day, the actual acknowledgment, processing and integration of those lessons usually occurs when I'm able to remove myself from my regular routine, like when I'm on a retreat or vacation.
I've said this after other retreats, and I'll likely say it again: never underestimate the power of a weekend away.
Whether it's a week in Sedona with your parents (major lessons there my friends - read this post if you haven't already), escaping the city for a quiet weekend in the country or renting an AirBnB for a night away from your regular routine, removing yourself from the distractions of your every day life has tremendous transformative and restorative power.
On the bus ride back from the Catskills I was inspired to flush out all the details for an early fall retreat at my family's house in Maine. This is something I've been dreaming about for a long time (ever since we renovated the house 3 years ago). Even though I had other work to do, even though I was a little car sick from the ride, my gut said to DO IT and so I did.
This retreat is coming together (I promise I will be sharing details soon - it will be Sept 26-30 if you want to mark the date on your calendar!!) and I know none of this would have happened if I hadn't had the time away to recharge my body and my spirit.
One of my coaching clients joined us on this retreat. Earlier this week we had a call to recap what came up and how she wants to take what she learned in the weekend and bring it into her life.
My coaching for her (and what I do myself) was this:
Create a small amount of space in your everyday life to retreat - Create some space in your daily routine where you disconnect from all the things (work, computer, TV, cell phone, friends and family) and reconnect to YOU. This can look like a yoga or meditation practice, nightly journaling routine or other ritual. Ideally this happens every day.
Plan for regular, bigger retreat times. Aim to have a longer "retreat" on your calendar each week or month. Sure this can be a long weekend in Maine with a teacher who inspires you (!!), or a staycation where you leave the kids with your SO or parents and check into a fancy hotel, or a spa day with your best friend. But it can also be as simple as an afternoon where you turn off your phone and shut down your computer and are present with what's going on around you.
The important thing with both of these "retreats" is that you're able to tune out some of the noise of life (a lot of which comes from our technology!) and tune into YOU. Bonus if you can be alone and/or be in nature, but that doesn't have to happen every time.
So today I encourage you to look at your calendar. Do you have a true getaway planned? And if not, can you make the time and space for one, even if it is local, or more of a digital detox than a true vacation?
There may be resistance that comes up (I don't have time! It's too expensive! My family needs me!). This is NORMAL and likely means you're on the right path to something that your soul needs for change and growth.
And then I want to hear from you - what's your retreat plan? Are you going to join me in Maine in September? Is there another trip or vacation in the books? How are you going to bring this idea of "retreating" into your every day life? Leave a comment below and let me know!
For this past weekend's retreat I had the pleasure of fueling the group with delicious, healthy food. I put together a recipe book with all the yummy things we made including Paleo Banana Pancakes, Lemon Dill Salmon, Tahini Fudge and MORE!