You are curious about retreats otherwise you did not come to this blog. Maybe you are already considering going on a retreat or wondering again and again what everyone is talking about. A retreat is withdrawing or isolating yourself. In this blog I will take you through what a retreat can do for you. What you can get there or maybe bring.
Real attention to yourself
Let me get straight to the point: a retreat is a good dose of attention ... for yourself!
In our current society, this attention to yourself is no longer self-evident. You run all day. In the morning, skip breakfast to catch an earlier train to work to prepare something. After a busy day, rush to that fun group class at the gym. From the gym to dinner. In the meantime, you keep track of your social contacts all day long via telephone and social media. On the way from here to there, you should also pay attention to an environment that is full of busy people rushing somewhere like you. And if you have children or a dog, it might even be a bit busier. No wonder that after all the 'obligatory' things you sit down on the couch and turn on Netflix again. And then hope you reach the end of the episode!
At some point, the energy is really gone. You decide it's time to unwind. A retreat offers a solution. That is why you go all alone, without your family, friends or colleagues. You leave your habits and daily rhythm at home as much as possible. And you leave your phone and e-mail for a week. You become completely detached from all your daily activities. Actually you just put your life on pause, because they can do without you for a week.
By leaving that life behind and even letting it go for a while, you give yourself the opportunity to shift gears. You can catch your breath, calm down, release the stress and even calm down. Just do 'nothing' for a week. Well, except for some walks. What a relief such a break. What a great rest. The outside world seems to come to a standstill, which means that you can reflect on the world and reflect on your role in it. The peace gives space in your head for new inspiration, insights and ideas. And of course you reflect on this with professional guidance, so that you dare to step outside your comfort zone and see yourself in another mirror.
During a retreat you have time and space for real attention for yourself.
Real contact with others
The tranquility of a retreat also gives you the opportunity to take the time for a good conversation. You spend eight days with a group of strangers. With a different background and from a different world, they all have perspectives that differ from yours. Everyone has valuable experiences to share. Stories that can surprise, inspire and perhaps even move you. The reason to go on a retreat and the insights you gain during the day quickly give rise to a leap of faith. As the days go by and you get to know each other more, the conversations become more interesting. If you dare to expose yourself, of course. Because only if you dare to step out of your comfort zone can you really learn from the other person.
Real contact with the environment
Walk for hours on a deserted hiking trail on an impressive mountain slope or through a quiet valley. Take in everything without any distraction. You marvel at the wide view and the rugged nature. You can hear the water rustling in a river and the leaves rustling on the tree. A lizard shoots away. Your senses are running at full speed to absorb everything. To enjoy the moment, without having to do anything with all those impressions. That is different in your daily life, where you have to respond all day to stimuli that come at you. Adapting to traffic on the road, responding to a message on facebook, answering the phone, etc. Not enjoying the moment and certainly not taking in the environment to experience life as it is without doing anything with it.
That does the peace of a retreat with you. Again with both feet on the ground, appreciating the world around you as it is. Of course it helps that walking has a very beneficial effect on your brain, I wrote this blog about it.
My own experience
"Yes," I hear you think, "that all sounds nice, but you are also trying to sell your retreat." Right, you are absolutely right! But the only reason I organize retreats is because I have experienced the effects of a retreat. I will tell you about my own experience.
Almost two years ago I was no longer happy at all. As a manager, I had barely endured an intensive merger. And within that new organization full of uncertainties, homesickness and tensions, I took on too much work in an attempt to steer change into the right direction. An energy-consuming situation that also had an impact on the rest of my life. I was drawn into the flow of a life that I did not want, but which I could not - and did not want to escape at the time. Until i shut down.
After climbing out of the deepest valley and climbing up again, it started to itch. The question How should it proceed? slowly came up. I came to the conclusion that self-examination on your own is too difficult a task. I had the luxury that I had time because I was not yet back to work and my former employer took care of the costs. Together with a coach, I investigated myself and my qualities, dreams and passions. She helped me to look at myself and my life in a different way.
About the same time I started hiking trails for the first time. I experienced the healing effect of walking during day trips in my own country. Not much later I went into the mountains of Gran Canaria for the first time. O man, what peace that brought me. And with peace came insight.
The coaching and the lonely walks regularly caused confrontations with myself and that was not always fun. But I learned a lot about myself in a short time. About who I am. What and who are important to me. Where I want to go in my life. What my strengths and weaknesses are. And especially where my real passion lies. I sometimes joke that a burnout is the best thing that can happen to anyone. But then of course you have to make the most of the recovery process.
And those confrontations with myself? I never stopped doing that. I have gathered a number of positively critical people around me who regularly hold up a mirror to me, both solicited and unsolicited. Moreover, I still go into the mountains for a few weeks a year to find peace, insight and inspiration. And I keep learning something new about myself and what is important to me. That's why I never regret those investments in real attention to myself. It always brings me more than it costs.
If I hadn't given myself that time and effort, I probably would have been a manager somewhere again. A job with a good salary, but where the challenge and satisfaction would, as always, be finished within a few years. I sincerely believe that I would then be locked into a system of acceptable jobs that would not make me happy in the end. Simply because that is not my passion.
And now, now I am an independent entrepreneur with all the risks and uncertainties that go with it. But I don't doubt for a moment, this is what I have to do. Just for myself!
Of course I can now easily conclude with a commercial message including a link to the website. Because of course I want you to do your retreat with me. My walking shoes are already ready. But I don't do that. Instead I ask you a curious question!
When was the last time you really took the time for yourself?