Imagine this: waking up to the sounds of the jungle, a sound which your body recognises as peace and joy. Each morning, you arise as if you are awakening out of meditation, bringing awareness and feeling back into the parts of your body that you have forgotten about. Now picture this, you are surrounded by a group of women, no, soul-sisters, who are there for the exact same reason as you: to feel alive. What connects each sister is a knowing that they can’t explain exactly why they are there but they know that they are there and that it is divinely right. Each day is accompanied by a fresh and welcomed insight to self, a peeling of another layer to truth and a connection that can only be described as life.
We all go on adventures for various reasons. Maybe we feel lost in our life, maybe we have lost something (person, job, identity, home), or maybe we are looking for more balance and vitality. The thing that remains to be true is that by the end of the week, you realise that you were all brought together for the same reason. To connect to your inner light. Our stories can take us to many places some painful and some filled with joy- what happens when we share them and connect through them is what retreat dreams are made of.
Retreats are the new holiday. Instead of spending your vacation days (and money) on a beach or at a pool bar, sucking down sugary margaritas and eating fake and processed cheese nachos, the desire to connect with something deeper is growing. Our desire for something more is becoming a real reality. So what is so special about a retreat and why is it so great to go on one? Let’s talk about it.
1. The chances of you building a community of real (soul) friends is high
Something happens when you go on a retreat adventure. A big piece of it is facing fears and going into the unknown. When you arrive, share and meet through your sharing with others- a connection takes place that is much deeper and more profound than a regular meeting. Not only have all of the people in your group been called on the same adventure at the same time- you learn to carry and support each other throughout and the community that is built upon that, is one of truth and vulnerability. Plus, you have a whole lot of unfiltered and uninhibited fun together (yoga, dance, surfing, eating, exploring, crying, laughing, journaling and more!)
2. You will leave feeling lighter (physically, spiritually and emotionally)
It just so happens that when you eat three beautifully and mindfully prepared, conscious plant-based meals a day- something happens in your body. It’s as if your body begins to sing and praise the deliciousness of the food that you are offering it. When you accompany this experience with beautiful conversations, yoga and loving movement and all of the retreat activities, you find that you body slowly moves into alignment. Physically- you have nourished your body from the inside out. Spiritually, you have connected with a deeper part of yourself. Emotionally, you have purged old and limited stories and released trapped emotion. You are lighter.
3. You will discover fears, face fears and create a healthy and open relationship with them
Whether you have a fear of fitting in, a fear of being accepted, a fear of bugs or a fear of the dark- going on a retreat will move you to face these fears, in a safe space. When you are guided to face fears with the support and structure of a group (who are also facing their fears at the same time) something magical happens! All of our fears are perceived and a lot of the time not real, so once you begin facing fears that you might have been carrying around your whole life, in a way that you can allow them to be there- your entire relationship to fear can change.
4. You will return home feeling refreshed, renewed and relaxed (and not like you need a holiday from your holiday)
You know that feeling when you return home from an all-inclusive weekend in Mexico or a travel adventure weekend in Europe- and just want to sleep and have another week off? Yes, that one. You will not feel that after a retreat. When you spend a week in full-blown self love and self care and are not compromising on these practices because of social pressure, fear of judgement and all of the other lovely parts of our social beahviours- a deeper connection with self is created which is all around nurturing and caring for you. After doing this for a full week, you will return home feeling renewed and armed with many new self-care practices.
5. You will experience what it feels like to let it all go, have fun and just be (who you are)
One of the biggest pieces of a retreat is the transformation that takes place from day 1 to day 7 or even day 3. When you first arrive, you are filled with stories and judgments of yourself and others. You have created an assumption of what the experience will be and whether or not you will fit in. As you peel the layers and connect deeper, you also become more accepting and loving of yourself. By the end of the retreat, dancing and singing will be mere expressions of experience and of your body, rather than ways to impress or hide from a group.
This article was written by Chloe Elgar of Chloe’s Countertop.