“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked,
it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
– Franz Kafka
Austrian (Czechoslovakian-born) author (1883–1924)
What is a Retreat?
Definition of Retreat: A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security; a period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
Are you someone that takes retreat? Whether that’s time out to visit an amazing health or wellness spa, a long hike in the mountains (think Reese Witherspoon in the “Wild”) or something more spiritual like a retreat to a convent or temple. Perhaps you’re someone who wants to really experience the real deal and are considering an overseas holiday to live like a “monk for a month” at a temple stay in Thailand – check out http://www.monkforamonth.com/
OK, OK, I know there are many of you rolling your eyes thinking “yeah right, like I’ve got time to go and contemplate my naval” or“how on earth could I escape the daily grind?” And yes, you can come up with all the excuses under the sun, however the fact remains, that taking time out, whether that’s a macro-break (eg, a 10 day retreat), a micro-break (eg, a a half-day, whole day or weekend retreat) or a micro-break (that could be as little as a 15 minute meditation at work or home) is one of the best things you can do for your own and your loved one’s well-being. Yes, your loved ones will also benefit from you returning from retreat, refreshed and reinspired, as the human being they once knew and loved!
Many of my clients have used retreats to gain greater clarity on their values, vision and purpose, discovering that taking time out, particularly in nature, seems to allow them to really hear their “authentic voice” with intuitive insights rising to the surface, to which they were mostly deaf in the busyness of their day-to-day lives.
Other clients, seeking a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, often look to attend a spiritual retreat (for those in NSW, check out the Nan Tien Temple – http://www.nantien.org.au/en/retreats-classes – or the Vipassana Meditation Centre in the Blue Mountains – http://www.bhumi.dhamma.org/about.htm). There are so many options available with various retreats offered by various religious and spiritual orders – so there really is something for everyone!
Many people I meet who work in schools, the health sector and the corporate sector are just plain burnt out from all the “doing”. They’ve hit the wall with an illness or realise that if they don’t take time out for “being” they are going to get sick in the very near future. Gone are the days when we would have been “prescribed” a holiday by the sea to recuperate rather than a whole host of medications and vitamins and just managed to soldier on!
Finally for those that are thinking there’s just no way I can even contemplate time away right now, the best gift you can give yourself is to schedule in a 2 hour micro break. Take a long walk on the beach or a bushwalk. And you can stop the guilt right now, as that’s often the only thing standing between you and your retreat, and your health and well-being.
Remember also, as the opening quote suggests, “there is no need to leave the room”, so if a beach walk is just too hard right now, close your bedroom or office door, light a candle or some incense, put on some relaxing music, and do some deep breathing for five minutes, let your thoughts settle, and then ask yourself “what do I really need right now?”. Try to let the answer rise from your heart, bypassing your critical mind, and just be curious. It’s also helpful to use a journal, using an “automatic writing” process, to allow yourself to tap into your unconscious desires. More often than not, we know what we need, we just don't create the time and space to listen to our wise selves.
Lots of love, PI & I (Suzy)
PS If you’re looking for a mini-retreat, why not join my colleague Dr William DeJean and myself at one of our upcoming half-day retreats? For more information go to – http://www.williamdejean.com and check out our “Flourishing in 2015” Retreats.