Retreats 101 – Why You Need to Take One
Who doesn’t love the idea of retreats? The very word “retreat” can fill you with a deep form of longing, especially if you have neglected your own needs for too long.
To retreat is take a step back and reevaluate your life as it is in this moment, or revisit a time in your past, or dream about what you want in the future. Many of the words beginning with re- reawaken, rejuvenate, revive, rewire can happen when you go on one. (A form of magic, maybe?)
What is a retreat?
According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a retreat is a place of privacy or safety (refuge). You can actually go to a place for a retreat, or you can take a retreat out in the world. More than anything, a retreat is a state of mind that can be achieved almost anywhere as long as you have the right mindset.
To prepare for your retreat, you will want to set an intention for the retreat. As in “on this retreat, I intend to ask myself x”.
There should be a signal to yourself that you are withdrawing from your normal, everyday life. You can do this through a ritual of some sort – like lighting a candle, saying a particular word as a mantra, or ringing a bell or chimes. There are some resources at the bottom of this article to help you with this aspect.
And, when you are finished with the retreat, you can signal this by performing a closing ceremony (blowing out the candle, or repeating a different word, playing a different sound, etc.). In the time between the beginning and ending rituals, you have formed a space for you to work on your intention or question and then come back to your world revived.
How much time does it take to do a retreat?
A retreat can be as long or as short as you want it to be. It can be as short as a few minutes or it can be a week affair. I once went on a Writer’s Retreat to Taos, New Mexico that was a week long (it was wonderful!).
You can retreat by yourself or with like-minded individuals like my Writer’s Retreat. You can retreat in your head out in the world, or retreat to a particular place (my Writer’s Retreat was held at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House).
What will I need to prepare for the retreat?
If you want to hold your retreat outside your home, you will need to research places for retreats. CNN.com had an article recently on the Best Wellness Retreats for 2019. And, if you looking for more ideas on great retreats to take in 2019 to focus on your self-care, check out these retreat recommendations from CarRentals.com. They cover wellness retreats for 2019 all around the globe. If money were no object, wouldn’t you love to sample them all?
You might also check out sacred spaces to pray in a church or you can meditate in your own home.
There are items you can use to enhance your retreat and suggestions are listed below. Of course, you will need to bring an open heart and mind. And, a little courage to ask the hard questions and hear the truth might be wise as well.
What can I expect during the retreat?
That you will experience various emotions from joy to feeling unsettled or sad. You are going within and asking questions of yourself, so who knows what you will find.
What should I expect after the retreat?
Hopefully, you will have greater clarity around your question(s). You might be full of energy or you could feel drained, depending on what you unearth. Either way, you should feel a sense of release similar to the way you feel after a good cry.
Interested in learning more?
Check out these books and resources and plan your own retreat today! If you would like to create your own retreat space in your house or create a she-shed, please see “Your Retreat, A Room of One’s Own“.
Woman’s Retreat Book: A Guide to Restoring, Rediscovering and Reawakening Your True Self –In a Moment, An Hour, Or a Weekend by Jennifer Louden
20-Minute Retreats by Rachel Harris
Resources to Use for a Retreat at Home:
These aren’t strictly necessary, but they can enhance your time and set your retreat time apart from everyday life.
TreeWorks Chimes TRE420 Made in USA Three Tone Energy Chime for MeditationOhm Store Tibetan Singing Bowl Set – Helpful for Meditation, Yoga & Relaxation
Far West 12 Piece Chakra Crystals Healing & Balancing Energy Set & eBook for beginners – Stones for Meditation, Increase productivity, Vibrations, Set Intentions, Achieve goals, Quartz, AmethystLarge White Meditation Pillow Cushion by Mindful and Modern – Buckwheat Hull Filled Round Cushion with Removable Cover and Carry Handle
The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment
MozArt Supplies Neon Komorebi Watercolor Paint Set, with 6 Vivid Colors, Portable and Lightweight, Perfect for Artists, Students & HobbyistsTibetan Meditation Music: Tibetan Music Therapy, Lama Meditation Oriental Music Background, Tibetan Song and Sounds of Nature, Relaxation Meditation Buddhist Music and Lullaby Relaxing Songs
If you decide to retreat, please let us know how it went in the comments below.