7 Reasons Why Retreats Work
Perhaps I am slightly biased as I love leading wellbeing retreats, but from what I witness they really are special experiences for everyone. We focus on wellbeing retreats because this is what Molly and I, along with our community are passionate about. We wanted to share with you what we have witnessed on retreat that makes us know that they work!
1. Gives Space for You
If you come alone or with a friend, a retreat provides a space for you to be alone. The space is away from your daily life and duties. A break from the routine for rest and recovery of your body, mind and spirit. We often see people using the time alone to read, stare into space, journal, move around, observe nature or learn new skills.
Mums treasure this time. One woman with a 5 year old felt anxiety about leaving her daughter with the father alone. She was an 'at home' mum who never put this much responsibility on her partner for child care. But at our retreat she was full of joy for the experience - immersing fully alone was a key value for her.
If you come as a couple it can be a valuable time to reconnect together. To share a beautiful experience in your relationship. We often have one 'retreat' partner and one partner who is along for support. The non-retreat partner always loves the experience when they realise that it is about connecting to a fulfilled and joyful life.
2. Permission to Go Inward
Sometimes we hide from going inward with other distractions - work, kids, life admin or even fitness regimes. Often we see a client with a large life change coming who hides from conscious and deliberate choices about their future by 'keeping busy'. At retreat we remove these distractions and there is time to reflect. Reflection is useful to make the choice in how we want to change our future choices and life. By the end of a retreat there is always one person who has made a major life decision to change - to leave the job and pursue their own dream.
3. Nurturing & Nourishing Yourself
We had an elderly client who had never attended a retreat before. She had never had someone clean her room, cook all her meals without a choice of dish and design her day for her. The first days were challenging because she felt guilty not 'doing' things for herself. As she accepted that a part of the retreat experience is to allow others to nurture you she flourished. The light came into her eyes and laughter was abundant.
4. Coincidences To Light Your Path
When you connect with someone there is a reason. You may not know it consciously, but they are a part of your path. They may say or do something that gives you that 'ah ha' moment. Often we hear the overlaps of where clients are from or have family that connect our clients, but there may also be a stranger connection such as a simple statement shared.
A coincidence is where our souls align to provide us with what we need at that time. It may be a moment of inspiration, a healing or hug. It does not need to last a lifetime or even a few years, but that does not devalue the connection and why it occurred.
5. Support from a Like-Minded Community
It isn't always hippies on retreats, but a more profound yet subtle support that is created during a retreat. A generalisation could be that the retreat community is an open-minded person who seeks new adventures or direction in their life.
We had two ladies who did not know each other on a retreat who had brought with them two identical outfits. The second morning they both wore the same outfit to class - they were natural twins! The instantly bonded and by the end of the week the younger of the pair had coached the other into Stand Up Paddleboarding in the Mediterranean Sea despite her fear of water. This support was something much deeper than either of them saw consciously, but was important positive love and support that they both needed to see how much they could each achieve.
6. Change of Environment Stimulates Creativity
We all know that when we are in a new place it allows the brain to flow into a more creative state. The stimulation of new scenery and people can prompt the subconscious mind to create something new.
A retreat in nature will further prompt creativity because it permits the mind to flow with natural states. This flow state of the brain connects to the sacral chakra that is our home of creation. As we 'go with the flow' on a retreat we open ourselves up to further creative ideas.
Clients restart drawing or writing on a retreat as the creativity streams out of their mind. Others start new hobbies like dancing.
7. Perspective Shift
A change of environment can change your perspective - when you see the life of the local people or being in a different physical environment. The space alone and connections you make can prompt a new viewpoint, or maybe it's just staring at the floor in class more!
It is important to know how to change your perspective at all times. When we get stuck in negative thinking cycles it can take shifting the perspective to that of another person to help us find gratitude or compassion. A retreat provides an experience for you to 'check back into' when you are home and find that space around your heart to approach yourself with compassion even when you are back in the thick of life.