By now you know I’m very passionate about the retreats that I facilitate in Tuscany. For years I had gone on retreats myself and it is a yoga retreat that inevitably altered the direction of my life and brought me to live in Italy. But really why are retreats important?
There are many reasons: they allow you to pull back, get inspired, become spacious, detox, and find your people.
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 just a few reasons I think retreats are important. They help you…
1. Pull Back
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.
Then you put inspiration into action. You bring that thing you love to fruition.
Getting away from it all gives you focus on what it is that inspires you, whether it be writing, doing yoga or coming up with a business plan.
2. Become Spacious
You step out of your structured scheduled day-to-day and step into space and time, space-time.
At the office, at the family dinner table with the kids vying for attention, on the cellphone walking home from the train talking to your friend/lover/spouse about the game/boyfriend/bills, time is taken. All of it.
There is no free time.
Time on retreat is different, fluid. There’s no more rush!
You find a space where you can give yourself time to connect with flow, genius, inspiration.
3. Get Inspired
Inspiration translates as “to breather 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 ol’ 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.
You play with what inspires you, whether it’s yoga, writing, jogging, swimming, cooking or a little bit of everything.
Whether you’re on a writing retreat or a yoga retreat, you get to listen.
Because, depending on where you are, there’s no phone, kids, TV, co-workers, etc…
What do you hear? The birds and the bees in the countryside.
The wind, but more importantly, that quiet inside your own heart.
People sometimes come on retreat and they get a cold, sleep for the first two days, or dream vividly for the first time in years.
It’s astounding to them, but it never surprises me.
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 ready for some sort of confrontation?
Our retreat is a safe space, literally and figuratively.
You don’t have to lock your bedroom door. You don’t have to lock the front door, or the front gate.
You don’t have to worry about people breaking in and literally or figuratively stealing your stuff or taking your peace.
7. Remember Who You Are
Society wants you to be the mother, father, sister, wife, husband, friend, lover.
One mother here on retreat 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 in decades.
8. Find Your People
We’re all the same/different.
You meet other people in the same position.
They came on retreat to do yoga, write a screenplay, a novel, a book about inventions, to crochet, to cook, and they all came from different continents, countries, cultures, age groups.
They’ve all gone through life doing whatever they have to do to keep their creative flame alight, stealing opportunities to get a little word in here, a sketch in there.
Here, no one has to justify their “hobby”- it’s actually taken seriously.
That inspires 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 space-time your spouse gets space-time too.
So do your kids, your co-workers. This brings appreciation.
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 are 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 writing routine or yoga 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 schedule you go on retreat and get encouraged by the example of others.
You go back home and re-establish your life in a new way.
Retreats are important because people leave retreats fitter, rested, happier and clearer.
Who doesn’t want some of that?