Some may think going on a retreat in a beautiful natural environment sounds like an indulgence.
But even thousands of years ago, people understood spas can play a vital role in maintaining wellness.
In our lives today, the pace can be very stressful making us feel constantly worn out and emotionally flat.
Dr Libby Weaver, in her book ‘Exhausted to Energised’ talks about how we should think of our precious energy as a treasured bank account. If we are constantly withdrawing and living in the overdraft, we will ultimately pay the interest on that overdraft in terms of health consequences1.
Taking time out can be an important way of refilling your energy bank account.
A retreat is a time to put everyday concerns on hold and reconnect with our inner self.
Some of the many benefits to be found in retreats are they can re-energise our bodies, clear and calm our minds, reset our emotions and refresh our spirits.
This is valuable at any age, from the stress experienced in our teenage years to big life changes we have to face later in life.
In my own life, I’ve found it incredibly valuable to have time away from routine and demands.
Since my first retreat in my late 20s, I have tried many different types. Here’s some of my favourites:
- McGregor Arts Retreat held in Toowoomba (Australia) and Goldsmiths Guild Summer School held in London (UK) – where I’ve learnt new creative skills
- the Satyananda Ashram, Mangrove Mountain (Australia) and the Wat Buddha Dharma, nestled in Dahrug National Park, north of Sydney (Australia) – where I’ve deepened my meditation and yoga practice
- The Spirit of Woman Retreat, at High Spirits, Kin Kin (Australia) – where, in the company of other women, I’ve focused on healthy eating, moving and being.
In the past, I have also ‘taken myself on retreat’ – not to an organised program, but for a period of time when life changes have been big and difficult to deal with in amongst everyday demands.
In 2003, after a big shift in my personal life, I spent three months in Barcelona and studied Spanish language and culture at a local college.
Earlier this year, after another big life passage of change, I spent four months away from my business and visited The Kimberleys fulfilling a life-long dream2. While traveling, I soaked up the different landscapes, learnt about the local Aboriginal communities, their art and stories and focused on my photography.
In both cases, while not an organised ‘retreat’, they had all the hallmarks of the catalyst and benefits.
My belief is our modern life means we need more time out
to recharge and rejuvenate than we allow.
That’s why I began offering The Life is Your Canvas Retreat as an opportunity for women I work with to do just that…
… a chance to reflect on life as it is now…
… things that have gone well…
… the areas that need attention… and
… time to open to our inner dreams for the future.
In the Retreat program, you have the opportunity to focus on your career or business, or life as a whole.
It’s up to you and what will serve you best.
Spend time in a different (and beautiful!) environment, with a group of like-minded people… to take a break from your routine and open up the space for reflection and new ideas to emerge… to breathe in deeply and exhale slowly.
I run workshops that help you identify your core energies and focus, areas of stress and resistance, strategies for managing your stress as well as uncover your dreams for the future and plan the steps to get you there.
The practical workshop stuff will be balanced with some real pampering too, to make sure you go home on the Sunday feeling rested, nourished and energised.
You get an hour-long KaHuna massage, opportunity to sleep in, take naps, go for walks, and have time to read and write. We’ll do some simple meditations together that will settle us in to doing the important reflection work.
All this, in the beautiful rammed earth home nestled in the hinterland of Byron Bay, surrounded by the fragrances and sounds of nature.
I’ll be available throughout the Retreat to have some one-to-one time where it’s needed, and I’m confident you’ll be leaving with plenty of ideas and tools to take into 2016 and beyond.
So ask yourself…
Do you feel that your life is too busy to allow you to take time off?
Are your obligations such that it feels impossible to go on a retreat?
Consider this: you can make your retreat whatever you need it to be.
You don’t HAVE to fly to an exotic location for a long break. For most busy people though, a long weekend get away is within reach, and it can result in a rejuvenating experience.
Interested in learning MORE about the Life is Your Canvas RETREAT? Dates of my next Retreat are 25-28 February 2016. Read more…
1 From an interview with Dr Libby Weaver on Health podcast, ABC Radio National
2 Read my article on Becoming a Wanderer where I identify the need to step away from my business and busy-ness to regain balance, health and sense of wellbeing.