Saturday, July 28, 2012

8 Tips For Going On Retreat

What does the idea of going on retreat evoke for you?

A sense of stillness? Being? Growth? Laughter? Learning? Time? Silence? Connecting? Fun? Awe? Gratitude?

For the retreat I went to recently it was all of the above!

When Kimberly Wilson announced a year ago that she was running an Art & Yoga retreat in Paris & Provence, I was in.

She had me at "I'm.....Paris". So much so that I was the first one to book in (Eager much Arienne?!).

I had a year to plan and organise the trip and I had so many ideas about what I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to connect with Kimberly after following her blog for years and doing a couple of ecourses, I wanted to have inspiration, soak up the French atmosphere and meet some wonderful people.

Going on retreat can be daunting. You don't really know what to expect, you are in an unfamiliar place and you don't know who you'll be going through the experience with. Hopefully you'll have picked something you resonate with so you'll be with like-minded people!

Here is a list of 8 things that will help you to prepare for and on on retreat. Enjoy :)

1. Set an intention

I had numerous intentions, so to make sure I captured them all and infused them with a greater chance of happening, I sat down in a sunny spot and wrote down everything that came to mind. I jotted down what I wanted to have, do and be during the 10 days. Then I took it one stage further and visualised the situations and feelings I wanted to have.

Voila! Intentions set. I did this about a week before I left and it made me even more excited to get there.

2. Let go and have an open mind

Once you've set your intentions let your pre-conceived notions fly away during the retreat. The intentions will be manifesting themselves in your subconscious so trust them to happen.  You could miss some amazing unexpected opportunities and situations if you are holding on too tight to how things 'should' be. Having an open mind will help you absorb and experience all that you need to.

3. Take pictures of the memories

So many things are happening - the people, the activities, the new surroundings - what can you do to help you remember them? Take pictures! You don't want to be constantly snapping away in lieu of actually experiencing the moments, but it is soooooo nice to have pictures of the little and big things that left an imprint. You'll be happy you did later.

4. Engage with others and connect

You will be surrounded by an array of amazing people who on some level are just like you because the retreat resonated enough for them to make the effort to come too. Engage, interact and ask questions. You might find a new friend, business partner or mentor. People are magic.

5. Time for self

Don't forget that this retreat is for you. There may be a lot of sessions going on or people you would like to engage with, but don't forget to take some time for yourself as well. Peace and solitude can go a long way. You need time to digest and absorb your new experiences and learning so make sure you have some alone time each day.

6. Note your Lessons/AHAs each day

Listen up Savvy Shes! This is especially important. Write down 1-3 of your insights, lessons and AHAs at the end of each day. This helps to compound learning and bring it further in your life. It is also a way to share with others what you got out of the retreat when they ask.

7. Be present. Let go of everything else

You are at the retreat, not at the office or at home. Be here. Let go of all those normal distractions of what needs to be done 'back in real life'. If you have to, write it down and then forget about it until you go home.

8. After the retreat

Stay connected with those you connected with. They've had a memorable shared experience with you. I handed around a sheet that everyone put their details on which I collated and emailed to everyone.

One of the wonderful retreaters (Thank you Ms C!) handed this quote out to the rest of us:
On returning from retreat...
Be gentle with yourself as you return to your life after retreat. Accept the people, the problems, the joy and discomfort. Also, accept your annoyance, impatience and judgment (about yourself and others). To bring the spirit of your retreat to your life means to accept whatever comes up, not that each moment of your life will or should be henceforth serene. Welcome back to the world! Marc Lesser, Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less
Above all enjoy the experience!

Kimberly is running another French retreat in 2013. Check it out here

Have you been on a retreat SSS? What was the experience like? What tips would you have for others?

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

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