How to decide whether to go on a Retreat or take a holiday
I love my holidays as much as anyone. I love planning them, anticipating what to take with me, especially the books! Then I look forward to exploring new places with family and friends, enjoying the sunshine.
I also notice that my holidays get filled with lots of activities that I feel I must do and see while I’m there. Apart from my daily spiritual practice, I don’t get a lot of time to be still. I don’t mean stationary. I mean still and fully present in each moment, absorbing the massive benefit of sheer simplicity of being.
Sometimes I look for that external stimulation and being around people. And other times it's not what I need because it keeps me from tuning into my innermost self. So I had a little think about it...
What have my Retreat clients been looking for over the years?
What has the Soul Alive Retreat given them that a holiday couldn’t?
It really boiled down to five things:
1. Too many plates spinning and it feels relentless
While you’re busy spinning the plates, it’s impossible to decide which ones to drop. Yet continuing to spin them - and more - is exhausting, especially if you’re being pulled in different directions at the same time.
Recognising that you have a choice and deciding what changes to make is impossible when you’re in full spin Taking time-out on a Retreat allows your head to clear and the better options become evident.
2. Starting to snap at 'nearest and dearest'
In fact, they may be part of the problem! No kidding, I’ve often thought I should rename my Retreats “Escaping Housewives” - not that they’re exclusively for women. It’s just that typically women leaves it too long, giving so much of themselves to others; we forget to balance this with receiving - until we’re so replete and desperate to get away and leave them all to it!
When you go on holiday with your partner, children, or friends – delightful as it is – they naturally want a piece of you so you’re still on call 24/7. There’s no time to switch off completely and just dawdle and daydream with your own thoughts and feelings. On Retreat you can.
3. Need to take stock because it’s been ages
Trundling along in the daily routine, there’s very little time to rise above it all and get a hot-air balloon perspective of what’s going on below. Continuing as is, you could end up at the wrong destination before you know it. Much better to get that higher perspective now to evaluate any adjustments you can make.
Not that any course is irreversible. It may take a little longer to get back on track that’s all. Beginning again from where you are and at whatever age you’re at. I know that one!
4. Not come to terms with a recent shock or change in circumstances
Hitting a wall can happen to any of us at any time – whether through health issues, a loss, relationship problems, a career change – this is life. The difficulty arises when you have little opportunity to process it because you’re preoccupied or sat right in the middle of the situation.
You cannot figure out a way through when you’re knee-deep in. No way! You must step back from the wall in order to come to terms with it and to receive the inner guidance you need to determine the next step… and then the next. This is the extended grace a Retreat offers you; quality processing time.
5. The ‘dream’ that won’t go away.
It keeps nibbling at your ankles to get your attention and you keep pushing it to one side because it’s not convenient.
The truth is that there’s never a perfect time to begin so why not start now. The mind will always come up with very good reasons for you not to pursue the dream or delay its start. By taking yourself off-duty by attending a Retreat, you can find a way to begin. You’ll also gain the support, energy and motivation to keep going. Remember providence can move with you only after you’ve taken the first step.
If any of these 5 reasons resonates with you, a Retreat will serve you well.
There are many types of Retreat depending on whether you want to concentrate on writing a book or sink deeper into your yoga practice, for example. But whatever the focus, its ultimate value is to restore balance, repair your sanity and improve your well-being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When you stop being swept along by the agendas of others and start favouring your own, it is life-promoting.
And you need longer than an hour’s therapy, a coaching session or a Pilates class – valuable though they all are. To make a deeper, sustainable connection to your self and to receive the powerful guidance this can provide, you need to slow down and slip into a more spacious awareness of time and hang out there for a while.
A Retreat isn’t selfish. Returning home feeling good about yourself, empowered and confident, you have more to offer your loved ones, your work, and the world in general. Not only is this a good alternative to a holiday in terms of taking a break. But also with a Retreat, you are making a solid investment in yourself, your happiness and well-being. And this is priceless.
This is why I'm running the SOUL ALIVE Retreat, 21st - 27th September, Tarn Valley in SW France.
You will spend quality time accessing the power of your unconscious intelligence through creativity so that you return home with the breakthrough you deserve.
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