As I am putting the finishing touches on my upcoming fall retreat, I am constantly reminded that there are many ways to experience the peace that comes from stepping away from your daily routine and into the space of your heart and soul. You can go to a spa and pamper yourself with massages, body wraps, yoga classes, healthy food, meditation and endless hours of doing nothing. (Sounds like heaven to me!) There are specialty retreats – biking, mountain climbing, spiritual, writing, cooking. You can go on a silent retreat – no talking or interacting with anyone. You can go for one day or one week or one month or…
No matter what you choose to do or how long you decide to stay, they all have one thing in common:
The power behind the pause.
You think you don’t have time. Honey, that’s just a story you tell yourself. You see, taking time for yourself, away from all the usual trappings and busyness of your work and life is what will enable you to be, do and have more in your life. More of what you want. More success. More fun. More balance. More love. More meaning. And yes, more time.
Here’s a peek into what The Exhale Retreat™ experience will do for you:
This is the first thing most people experience when they allow themselves to get away. Whether you drive or fly to your destination, once you arrive, you‘ll begin to unwind; your shoulders will lower and melt down your back, your breathing will slow and so will your mind. Your body will benefit greatly from all this relaxation, too. The cortisol levels – the hormone that is present when you feel stress – will decrease, which will increase your ability to fall and stay asleep at night. Your body will utilize the food you give it more effectively as high levels of cortisol hamper digestion and actually slow your metabolism. You will notice your monkey-mind has taken a sabbatical from bouncing from one thought to the next and instead focus on the present moment. You will find yourself not thinking about work or deadlines and the need for electronics will fade away.
Ahhhhh, this is one of my favorite parts of getting away. You drink lots of water after a good workout to replenish the lost fluids in your body. Plants replenish the soil with nutrients. When you entertain guests you replenish appetizers so the serving tray looks full and inviting.
Retreats replenish your soul.
It’s a time to fill yourself up, to build back your reserves. I love the idea so much that I named my company Fill Your Cup Coach because I believe everyone needs to fill their own cup first, before going out into the world to tackle life’s challenges and share their gifts and talents. You will be inspired and filled with a new sense of personal power.
Once you’ve experienced a few hours of peacefulness, you may find yourself pausing to reflect on the happenings in your life. Is there a big decision you are faced with making? Have you come through a difficult time and are just relieved to be past it? Have you experienced a few successes and haven’t taken the time until now to savor them? This is the perfect opportunity to allow your thoughts to flow without judgment and see what comes up. I encourage you to use a journal to write down your innermost thoughts and feelings. Just let your hand move along the paper (no laptops or iPads please), let whatever comes into your mind land on the page. You just might find the answer to a question you’ve been asking for some time. Or you may discover you’re right where you supposed to be.
Many beautiful things will happen during your time away and one of the most powerful experiences you will have is reconnecting with yourself. You will start to have glimpses of the “you” you remember and begin to allow her to speak to you from her heart. She will gain strength in her ability to guide you and her voice will be heard above the din of the outside world – above the noise of your Inner Critic’s voice. This connection is the most potent one you can have, because it is really between you and Spirit. Compelling and humbling at the same time. This is where gratitude and grace reside.
You have a big job – either you lead a team or run a business or have responsibilities that keep expanding. You may feel tired, overworked and overwhelmed. Investing in yourself and your career is a must for every professional woman, but there is only so much a ½-day workshop can fix. Taking time to get out of your work environment to connect with other successful women in business is the best way to get energized for what you do. You’ll experience amazing conversations and find yourself wanting to reengage with your career and approach it with fresh eyes and a new vision. Your co-workers will definitely notice the difference on Monday morning.
Toward the end of your stay, you will feel a new strength and energy that wasn’t there at the beginning. You may recommit yourself to a regular practice of self-care or vow to use language that is kind when you refer to your body or skills or intelligence. You may set an intention to do less and set boundaries around your time. You may decide it’s time to lean into the idea of being enough; try it on for size. I’m hoping you decide that getting away is something you will commit to doing on a regular basis.
Whatever you choose, I guarantee you will be revitalized and so happy you chose to spend time away.
You will have experienced first-hand the power behind the pause that comes with a The Exhale Retreat™