Why Go On Retreat?
Retreat comes from the Latin verb “to pull back.”
So, retreat, or a retreat, is a place where you pull back from the world.
Here are 10 reasons we think retreats are important. They help you…
1. Pull Back
It’s strategic. You withdraw from your regular life, pulling in all the energy that’s otherwise fanned out and thinned out in multiple directions. You gather your forces to focus them on something you love. From this place, you get a new perspective, you regroup and re-energize. You find inspiration.
Getting away from it all gives you focus on something other than the daily grind of just living.
2. Become Spacious
You step out of your structured scheduled day-to-day, which can allow you to step out of your typical structure of space and time. At the office, at the family dinner table with the kids vying for attention, on the cellphone walking to your car, talking to your friend/lover/spouse about the game/boyfriend/bills…it seems as though all of your time is taken.
All of it.
There is no real free time.
Time on retreat is different, fluid. There’s no rush to get anywhere….you are already here. You find a space where you can give yourself time to connect with something other than just getting stuff done, fulfilling responsibilities, earning a living, dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.
And of course this is why number 3 happens…..
3. Get Inspired
Inspiration translates as “to breathe into.” So, you breathe life into your life. How it comes is different for everyone, but one thing’s for sure: Inspiration won’t strike out of nowhere, while you blindly do the same rote stuff every day. It’s a frame of mind that can come from a change of landscape and outlook. We’re all creative. Creativity and inspiration happen when you take the time away from your day job to remember your day dream. One time on a week long retreat there was a software designer who made a different type of organic bread every day for three weeks.
What would you do if you had the space and the time?
Depending on where you are, there’s no phone, kids, TV, co-workers, and limited or no WiFi. What do you hear when all of that noise is removed? The screech of the swallows swooping? The waves on the ocean shore? That quiet inside your own heart?
When people go on multi-day retreats, they get a cold, sleep for days, or dream vividly for the first time in years. It’s astounding to them, but it never surprises us. Everyone needs to unload, clean out and empty their mental desktop. You will leave a retreat lightened, clearer, recharged, refreshed, and more present.
This new perspective can guide you to make changes in your life that you know you need to make.
6. Lose the Fear
How many of you live part of every single day steeled for confrontation? Retreats are safe spaces, literally and figuratively. You don’t have to worry about someone barging in on you and ruining your sense of privacy. You don’t have to worry about the confrontation at work or at home. You don’t have to worry about people breaking in – literally or figuratively – and stealing your peace.
7. Remember Who You Are
Society wants you to be the mother, father, sister, wife, husband, friend, lover. One mother on retreat with me once put it this way: People need to be reminded that we are actually individuals, human beings, as opposed to “human doings.” On retreat you can drop all the roles.
You can just be you for the first time…maybe in decades, maybe ever…
8. Find Your People
We’re all the same/different. You meet other people in the same position. They came on retreat for similar reasons as you did. They’ve all gone through life doing whatever they have to do to keep their creative flame alight, stealing opportunities to get a little peace in, here, and there. Here, no one has to justify their “space”- it’s actually taken seriously. That can inspire you to do more of your own thing.
You allow yourself to be different because the people around you are.
9. Help Others
When you take the space-time for retreat, your spouse gets space-time too. So do your kids, so do your co-workers. This brings appreciation. Why? They realize what it’s like when you’re not around to work, clean, love them. Without you taking up your usual spot, people shift positions to fill that space. Life takes on a new shape. Life is actually different when you return and you are free to take up a new space in it. This is growth. People see a new you, and they see that they’re new, too.
People can be motivated to make more positive change.
10. Establish a Routine/Practice
Sure, you can optimize conditions in your own life to create a non-negotiable meditation practice. But if you’re trying to squeeze time into an already full schedule, creating those conditions at home can take years. Establishing them on a retreat is easier. As opposed to having to fight through your routine to form a creative meditation schedule, you go on retreat and get encouraged by the example of others and the support of the group meditation. You go back home and re-establish your life in a new way.
Retreat participants tend to leave retreats fitter, rested, happier and clearer.
Who doesn’t want some of that?
With tons of love,
(reprinted with permission)