Sometimes stepping back and taking a moment to reflect can be a healthy tactic in discovering a new perspective. But sometimes one or two steps back isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s good to physically remove yourself from your normal, everyday surroundings and go on retreat.
I have taken myself on a few retreats in the last 15 or so years (certainly not often enough) and I can tell you that each time I have come back feeling an enormous amount of appreciation and acceptance for myself and others and the Planet. I smile genuinely and often. I feel lighter; relaxed but extremely energized. I’m a better listener to my loved ones, clients and co-workers. I feel purposeful and that feels really good.
But it’s a very different experience to go on vacation versus going on retreat. For me, the difference is in the intention of “break”. A retreat for me includes some solitude to write and read and learn about myself and the choices I’ve made that have brought me here to this point in my life. A retreat to me is a safe space to cry and let go of some unhealthy things I’ve been clinging to (many of them aren’t mine to hold). It’s a space to meet new people who are also on a path of healing intentions and know that I’m not alone. It’s a chance to connect back with the real me (whomever “me” is) before I got really busy covering me up with piles of stuff that isn’t me at all.
Vacations are great too- but if I’m feeling brave, retreats are the best. 🙂
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center – Santa Rosa, CA
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
Kripalu, Berkshires, MA
New York Open Center, NYC, NY
Esalen Institute, Marin, CA
Shambala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO
-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger