Currently I’m on a journey with my 13 year old grandson to Plum Village, south of Bordeaux, France. A monastic home and retreat centre under the toutlege of one of the world’s greatest mindfulness teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s been a dream to share a retreat with this special soul for many years. A dream unrealized by financial limitation and/or time. As he enters high school next year I could see the window is closing. What greater time to learn mindful tools than when you’re entering high school and your hormones are going to spike up and confuse you. I bit the bullet, made it happen and am so excited. I really do see taking retreats as powerful medicine.
The most important thing in retreating is allowing yourself to reset. Wipe the slate, clear your calendar, disconnect from everyday demands. Take time in that place to breathe as the unique soul that you are born to be and allow whatever arises to just show up. No problem, no expectations, no demands. Just a magnet for your compassion. Compassion for every aspect of this journey.
Often just having space to be creates an alignment and a healing of imbalances between our mind and our heart.
My father use to always say “when in doubt, be the more generous of the two.” I engraved it on a ring. It was one of my favourite life teachings from him. It led me to also believe that when we are also confused or stuck, give the issue to the heart.
The breath definitely functions deeper there. Wherever the breath flows deeper and more fluid so does an ease in life, the chi or life force.
If you want to know more about mindfulness retreats at Plum Village or other of Thich Nhat Hahn’s monasteries or mindfulness practice centres: visit https://plumvillage.org/