How a retreat saved me from complete exhaustion
Last February, I felt lost. There was a great deal of messiness and pain in my personal life and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do or how to cope. I felt as though, in the midst of stress and busy-ness, I was in the process of losing touch with myself.
What I craved was a chance to slow down long enough to figure out what I truly needed to be grounded and purposeful again. I needed a deep breath. An interruption. Not just a few minutes of meditation or an hour of yoga here and there. I needed more than that.
I needed a retreat.
I’d always wanted to go on retreat. I loved the idea of a guided experience, but I am an introvert to my core. Being in a group for an extended period of time can make me feel tired and irritable. My dream retreat would have a balance of quiet, calming guidance from someone else, as well as space for leading myself.
Leaving town felt like too much of a stretch at the time, and I knew I needed a break as soon as possible, so I decided to craft my own daylong, at-home retreat. I spent some time writing down exactly what a made-for-me retreat would entail. Yoga. Journaling. Reflection. Visualization. Stillness. Quiet. Just thinking about it felt really good. I booked a full day on my calendar to make it happen.
When the day of the retreat arrived, I was ready with an itinerary and the knowledge that I always had the option and full permission to veer off the path. If my attention felt scattered I had a list of little things to do to take a break, like sitting on the porch and blowing bubbles or taking a walk around the block.
I held my retreat in our guest bedroom/yoga room. The room is sparsely furnished and the only room in the house that’s always tidy, so there were no distractions. My partner is a very late sleeper on the weekend, so I knew I would have the house to myself for a long time, as long as I got up early enough.
For my 6-hour retreat I focused on slowing down and listening for my own guidance. The quieter and more focused I became, the more clearly I could hear myself. A voice inside me kept chanting, “Be still. Be quiet. Rest.” Over and over, my inner self lovingly voiced its request. I followed.
As I felt ready, I looked inside for answers to more specific questions, and as I listened, the more I understood what I needed to do to stay grounded and nourished during this stressful time. New morning rituals emerged and mantras came to the surface.
After my retreat, I returned to the world refreshed and energized, with clear, self-caring guidance for my daily routine.
Feeling rested and nourished and a little bit wiser, I told a few friends about my experience. One of them said, “I really wish I could do the same. A retreat is exactly what I need right now, but I wouldn’t know where to start.” Clearly I wasn’t the only one who needed to slow down and listen to my inner wisdom.
So I planned a retreat to help others slow down and hear their bodies and hearts more clearly, too. Something to put on your calendar and anticipate. A day to exhale and truly let go.
We can’t continue at a frenetic pace all of the time and still take care of ourselves. We have to rest. That’s what the Self Care Day Retreat is all about.
It’s a day of restoration, reflection, and tuning in. It adds a few pieces that I yearned to include in my retreat, too: outdoor yoga and meditation, walking meditation, time away from home, and more. Oh, and delicious lunch and snacks.
The November 2015 retreat was lovely, and I’m excited to share information on the 2016 retreat:
Sunday, October 16, 2016
New Hope Camp and Conference Center
Chapel Hill, NC
We’ll practice gentle, beginner-friendly yoga to make rest and reflection more comfortable and inviting.
We’ll get comfy with a cup of tea for guided, reflective journaling, as we get curious and compassionate about our needs, our wants, and ourselves.
We’ll practice listening to our wise inner voice, the one that can comfort our self criticism and anxiety. Guided visualization and meditation will be our vehicles.
Take solo time to wander along the trail, walk the mosaic labyrinth, or do absolutely nothing but observe the stillness and quiet by the pond. During unstructured time I’ll also be available if you’d rather spend some time in guided meditation.
We’ll reconvene for a deeply restorative, yogic relaxation practice, and close the day by setting an intention to ease us into our return.
I’ve planned this retreat so that, even during our optional, guided experiences, there is no pressure to be “part of the group.” At the end of the day, this is a time for you to reflect and thoughtfully tune in to your core self.
Space is limited to keep the day extra restful, and early bird registration is now open.
Feel free to get in touch with questions here.
*Space is limited. The early bird price runs through September 25.