Why retreats are important

meditation retreatI remember the first retreat I went on. It’s been some years now, but I remember how nervous I was. Thinking I’d stick out like a sore thumb, maybe judged as a newbie. Could I last 3 days? I really had no idea what was going to happen beyond what I’d read in the brochure, and that was pretty slim.

But I needed a break for myself, and some help figuring some stuff out, so I took a leap of faith.

Yes, some parts were challenging. I chose a silent retreat, which was ambitious. I’d never done one and, well, I talk a lot! Could I even be quiet? Would I go nuts?

After the initial welcome, our group went into silence for the remainder of the retreat.  The teacher spoke of course, and there were opportunities to ask questions, but by and large, we were silent, even during our mindful work sessions in the kitchen. I loved it, especially working side by side, preparing meals, doing dishes, mopping the floors, all in silence. The camaraderie, the communication was so easy, and yet none of the usual banal chatter. We looked into each other’s eyes to understand what needed to be done. Simple gestures, a smile, we just figured it out.

I’ve been to more retreats now and led a few myself as well, and if you’ve never been you really should take a chance and go. Silent or not, every retreat brings some new revelation with it. An epiphany or a simple “AHA!” that brings new light into my life. The people I’ve met have become friends, even if they live across the world, we stay in touch, we share with each other in ways we rarely share with our acquaintances. The connection is safe, honest, open, and deeply gratifying.

Once I started leading my own retreats I began to understand why teachers like them so much. Not only do I get the benefit of dedicated time to pursue my passion for learning and growth, I get to introduce others to a similar experience. Talking to someone who was a first-time guest, or a returning student, I see how this has changed them for the better. How they are just that much more open to discovering the world and understanding themselves. It’s wonderful.

I honestly would be thrilled if I had the opportunity to do retreats more often, and I’m making that happen this fall.

  • In September I’m collaborating with Sophie Beaudry of Corpo Innovation in Quebec, CA at the  Eastman Spa for a 2-day retreat. The dates are September 21-22. Learn all about it and register here.
  • In November I’m hosting a retreat in the redwood forest of  Santa Cruz Mountains of California at The Sequoia Retreat Center. The dates are November 1-3. Learn all about it and register here.

I’m also developing some private corporate retreats for spring, and I’m excited about helping build teams with compassion and awareness. This is powerful stuff. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Have you been on retreats before? How was it for you? What did you enjoy and what didn’t go so well? I’d love to hear your story!

Have questions about retreats? I’m here to help. Leave a comment!

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

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Suzanne

Retreats have literally changed my life. My first silent retreat was over new year’s in 2012 and i have spent the new year’s in silence every year since. I’m also thinking about hosting my own, but different kinds of retreats. Love this, janet!

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fouts

Thanks Suzanne, I’m enjoying being on both sides of the retreats. Always learning…

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