I was so nervous the first time I went to a retreat. I had never done anything like it before…a friend and I had booked together for a weekend away and when we drove up the driveway we both looked at each other like “What are we doing!!??” I don’t know what I thought was going to happen - that I’d have to hug everyone I met, or we’d have to sing by the campfire together, but as soon as we got there I felt at ease straight away. Everyone there was just like me! We had all come away to have a break from our busy lives. Most of the women were mothers, worked full time or part time and just needed to refuel themselves.
Being at the retreat let me think about myself for a change. I hadn’t done that in a long time. I had a whole two days to not worry about kids, my husband, running the household or work. During that time I got to think about myself, and as time went on, that lead to thinking about whether I was happy within myself, what I wanted to achieve for myself and my family in the future and how I was going to do that.
My friend and I got to chat to other women in the same situation as us. We got to support each other with advice, we ate and drunk tea together and together we all made goals to achieve when we got back home.
What I did realise was that I hadn’t been putting enough time into myself. It’s like the safety notice on the airline – “put your own oxygen mask on before you put one on your children” We need to have energy so we can give it to others. My energy levels were low – I was stressed and each day was a replica of the one before, and the one before that. I was always thinking about the past and the future where the real time was Now. I was missing all the small things that were the biggest things. Chatting to my small children about what they did that day, walking and admiring nature. Sitting quietly and not feeling guilty about it.
I came back from that weekend and decided to make small changes that I knew were manageable for me. Those changes have lead to big things. Since then I have studied a lot in the field of Health and Wellness, I have been on a spiritual path that has allowed me to experience a great deal of happiness and gratitude.
I am so grateful to now be able to run retreats of my own – to get people together out of their everyday norms and give them a chance to look outside of themselves, even for a few hours, to share the long term benefits of Mindfulness, Gratitude, Manifesting and Self Care. To give them a space to learn and share with others which can be so uplifting in itself.
So if you are scared to come to a retreat or just don’t even know what to expect….come along and you just might find that investment is the start of something very exciting.