Lately I've been thinking of why I feel so strongly about curating or attending retreats.
There is nothing like a retreat to give us a focused opportunity to pull back from our life as we know it and all the demands and stresses that limit us.This in itself should be enough. To pull back far enough to be a witness and objective friend to our own lives is added sweet medicine. When we are away from routine and inspired it's easier to live between our heart and our gut (the second brain) and give the mind a vacation of its own for awhile.
Retreats can offer the opportunity of focused attention and practice. When we allow our point of convergence to be the heart of our being, we naturally relax our expectations and demands of our doing selves. Whenever I return home from attending a retreat I feel that there are somehow more hours in the day and it takes much more to ruffle my feathers.
I'm a big supporter of practice in life. Whether it's a meditation practice, a yoga practice, a kindness practice, exercise, music, art or the simple practice of being. It's a commitment to dedication. If you are reading my blogs and emails you probably feel this too. Practice can be a gentle advocate to push us out of our comfort zone, out of our fear zone or complacency.
Practice in groups can be profoundly beneficial and retreats are great for that. As for practice, let's take yoga for example. We can do our own yoga practice in the comfort of home but for most of us, when we do it in a room with others, we are more able to stay present with the process and benefit our alignment, our breath and our state of being.
We may have a very solid meditation practice yet appreciate the nourishment of group meditation. It for certain helps our growth individually and collectively and that energy ripples outward to each other and beyond the group.
When we practice mindfulness in a group, again the gift of presence contributes in tremendous beneficial layers. It gives a different lens to our experiences, those around us, the living earth we share and the teachings of our own reflections.
I personally love to travel alone yet when I travel with a purpose or on retreat, it's easy to see that we cultivate another family that supports our growth and a simple sense of being.
These are some of the benefits of a retreat that come to mind yet the longest lasting benefits don't come from the mind but from spirit of the experience. With total conviction of this process, I love love love our retreats and will continue to curate exploring the beauty of deeper experiential travels. What we share is through the eyes of mindful seeing, mindful listening, mindful speaking, mindful eating. We share meditation, restorative yoga, contemplative art projects, explore sacred sites, and most important, our authentic selves.
If you want to experience what I mean, come to Ireland. There is no greater corner of the earth than the mystical, fertile west coast of Ireland to let go of life's stresses and relax into simply being. There are two Ireland retreats this year: May 12 - 18 has one spot left and the new Haelan retreat with special guest Michele Chaban MSW, RSW, PhD Sept 1 - 7 has a few spots. Visit these links if you want more info.
I hope you consider joining me one year, whether Ireland this year or Italy in 2020. If you don't get to join me, I advocate attending other retreats that work for you and gift yourself the powerful transformations that can unfold.
Committed, inspired, and in service, I remain with love, a lotus and a smile
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