The word ‘retreat’ has become the new event buzzword. It seems every second event is labelled ‘Retreat’ no matter what the focus and format. I’ve seen ‘retreats’ lasting from a single afternoon through to a couple of weeks. I’ve even seen online retreats! So you may be wondering exactly what makes a retreat different from other events. You may also be asking yourself “why would I want to go on a retreat?”
Let me help…
In common event-speak, retreats are now any event where you’re removed from of your day-to-day activity. Which basically could apply to pretty well every event! The dictionary defines them as “an organised group withdrawal from regular activities, as for religious contemplation, the development of closer relationships, etc.”. But neither really defines the nitty-gritty of a retreat.
Retreats generally have a theme. These vary from self-development, through skill development, creative refinement, business skills, religious practice, intuitive development, self-care pampering, finding your purpose, and many more. Many retreats also offer a deeper, non-religious spiritual experience to nourish your soul. You can always find a retreat with a theme that matches what you need in your life.
But here’s where things get confusing, as the format and structure of a retreat experience is not clear-cut.
What Makes An Event A Retreat
Retreats generally have an element of coaching, as do many events. But events and retreats differ in that a retreat’s generally a journey of discovery – of yourself and others. Whether it’s about skill development, personal development or one of self-nurturing, retreats always take you to deeper levels of understanding and wisdom.
Retreats are usually live-in which disconnects you from the responsibilities of your daily life. This separation form the everyday world allows complete immersion in the retreat experience and journey. When you’re not being constantly pulled back into routine you receive new insights to make new conscious intentional choices with clarity.
And this is where the magic happens.
By completely withdrawing from daily life and not returning home (or to an outside hotel) in the evening to cook dinner, do laundry or check social media, you’re able to completely immerse yourself in the retreat.
When you don’t downgrade your focus into mindless activity like social media or TV you stay completely connected to the energy of the closed group and the process.
When you don’t become distracted by the outside world, you can remain totally with the insights and challenges that arise as you journey through the workshops and experiences provided on the retreat. You can stay completely focused and allow the unfolding to occur fully, and in it’s natural progression and time.
If you shift outside the retreat, either physically or mentally by going online, you interrupt or shut down the process and halt the unfolding.
It is this complete immersion that defines an event as a retreat.
It’s also what makes a retreat such a powerful tool for catalysing big shifts in perspectives, skills, knowledge and results.
4 Reasons To Go On A Retreat
There are so many benefits that you’ll gain on a retreat. Here are four reasons why you should opt for a retreat over a regular vacation:
- There’s usually lots of quiet-time for reflection scheduled
- A retreat can give the opportunity to discover gift of silence which can be impossible to discover in the normal switched-on world.
- With distraction free thinking time you can work through problems or ideas you are incubating
- If you choose to be alone you won’t be interrupted
- You can enjoy the magic ‘pause’ and just observe, for as long as you want
- It’s a time to rediscover yourself, those around you and a new culture or location
- You will be challenged and through that you’ll uncover qualities within yourself
- Suddenly you’re not alone – you’ll find others who share your experiences and challenges
- You will share your own and others experiences
- As you uncover aspects of yourself you were unaware of, or avoid – your fears and challenges – you’re taken through processes to integrate the gifts within
- You will gain clarity so you can prioritise and discard
- You are empowered as you’re taken through processes to integrate your fears as you come face-to-face with them
- You’re confronted with your truth as you’re faced with your shortcomings, as you see the flaws of those around you. But through this you can choose to be more authentic
- You discover your qualities and the possibilities within yourself and who you can become
- Try out things you wouldn’t normally, from food to challenging activities, to coaching sessions
- A chance to step out of your comfort zone within a safe and supportive space
- Practical hands-on tools and exercises that you’ll be able to continue to use when you return home
- Retreats often include meditation, yoga, or some other form of contemplative exercise
- Sharing meals without any technology interruptions leads to stimulating and thought-provoking discussion
- Most retreats include creative, or sporting, or thought stimulating activities that you may have never tried before
- Some exercises may bring up deep and intense stuff – both light and dark – for you to work through. However, you do that in a safe space where you are held and totally supported.
- Time-out just for YOU, to reflect and rejuvenate
- Loads of new ideas, new insights, new perspectives, new priorities
- You return home feeling uplifted, energised, inspired and renewed
- Tools and take-aways for your personal development and growth
- You come away more balanced, calmer, and full of wisdom, energy, and purpose
- Fun, sleep, you’ll loosen up, create joy in your life
Live-in retreats give you a safe and supportive space to delve deep into yourself, examine your beliefs, weigh your priorities and create new direction and purpose.
Now you know all about retreats is it time to take the plunge and sign on?
Have you ever gone on a retreat that changed your life?
Have you always wanted to go on a retreat, but hesitated?
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Work With Me On Retreat…
Would you love to develop deep Self-Care practices to keep you grounded and energised, and your heart singing?
Join me on the Indochine Queen Women’s Retreat in Vietnam in March 2019.
Find all the details here
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