“Retreats don’t change our lives as much as they change where we stand in relationship to our lives—and our capacity to see the hidden possibilities there.” --Stephen Cope, MSW, author and director of Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living
Are you having difficult focusing or perhaps you feel out of synch? Are you feeling restless and yearn to experience more peace in your life? Are you being called to explore “what’s next” professionally and personally—but unable to find the time or energy to devote to doing so? Are you craving time to just “be” without a to-do list breathing down your neck?
If yes, you’re in good company. More than ever, many of us are feeling overwhelmed, overscheduled and frankly, exhausted. We’re trying to do too much.
This is a great time to hit the pause button and I encourage you to consider taking a retreat.
A retreat is defined in the dictionary as: A period of withdrawal from the world.
Consider setting aside an entire day or weekend — completely void of all distractions — for a personal retreat. Use this time to rest, reflect, write and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Or, you may want to spend this time getting clear on your life priorities and thinking about how you want to allocate your energy and resources over the next ninety days (much less overwhelming than looking at an entire year).
From Chapter Four in the The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal, I recommend making a list of what activities fuel you (which ones give you energy, nurture you, make you come alive) and what activities drain you (create a physical tightness or discomfort in your back, belly or neck every time they cross your consciousness). Often these drains are things like a financial issue that must be handled, a tough conversation that has been postponed, a disorganized space at work or at home or a project that has been on the back burner for too long.
I like to approach these items with an aggressive housecleaning mindset, giving myself three options to eliminate these drains:
- I can do it—set deadlines for completion of the project
- I can delegate it—ask for help if needed or outsource the task
- I can dump it—make the decision that I’m ready to walk away from this task and release that it just isn’t going to happen (at least not this year!)
During your personal retreat, you can revisit old goals or dreams, enlist books for inspiration (see The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal resource sections at the end of each chapter for recommendations), work on exercises, journal, draw/paint or create a collage from magazine images that represents your vision for how you want to experience the next three months.
You can also find resources and inspiration for your retreat on my blog The Journey (search by topic) and through our monthly Life Balance Teleclasses (listen to our July class on Nurturing Your Spiritual Self here). Do whatever motivates you and helps you gain clarity and focus.
A primary goal of this mini-retreat is to give your analytical thinking a rest and give your creativity and your inner compass the opportunity to have a voice.
Some tips to help you get the most from your retreat:
- Spend at least eight hours away (a weekend--or longer--would be ideal).
- You may want to make this a personal retreat and be alone or you may decide to attend a guided group retreat (see resources below), it depends on your personal needs and life stage. I personally get tremendous benefit from guided retreats.
- Choose a location that is inspiring and conducive to contemplation—a quiet park or natural setting; a friend’s vacant house; a retreat, yoga or spa center or even a quiet coffeehouse are good places to go (but get out of your own house!).
- Focus on what you want to create for the next ninety days of your life.
- Get the time on your calendar NOW! Otherwise it won’t happen.
I recommend taking personal retreats each quarter, if at all possible. These respites are a wonderful, nurturing way for you to invest in yourself and your future. They may just be one of the best gifts you’ll ever receive! Have fun, and make this your own.
I’ll be leading a Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat in the cool Berkshire mountains of MA at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health Aug. 13-15 (see details below) and I’d love to have you join me.
Let me know how your retreat goes and what comes up. I’d love to hear about your experience and favorite retreat spots on our Live Inside Out Community. Warmly--Renee
Renee’s Favorite Retreat Spots
Kripalu in the Berkshires, The Omega Institute in upstate NY, Esalen at Big Sur in CA and The Crossings in Austin.
Upcoming Training, Retreats and Events
August 1-31 DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN NOW: Monthly Live Inside Out Teleclasses. Listen in the comfort of your home or office to Renee’s recent Life Balance Teleclasses. Download these inspiring, interactive calls; themes include: The Power of Self-Care, Owning Your Personal Power and Staying Connected to Your Partner. Join us September 9th for Renee’s FREE class on Strategies for Balanced Living. Register here.
August 1-31 Sign up to be a Personal Renewal Group Facilitator! Are you a coach, parent educator, birthing professional, counselor or women's empowerment advocate who wants to grow their business and loves helping women nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join an international community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
- August 13-15 Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Woman’s Self-Renewal Retreat with Renee Trudeau at
Kripalu Retreat Center - Stockbridge, MA. Come reconnect with who you are and nourish your body, mind and soul in the cool Berkshire Mountains of MA at this world-renowned holistic retreat and yoga center. Packages with lodging/meals/classes start at just $430. Click here for details and to register.
- August 27 9:30 a.m. - noon
The Career Strategy Workshop: Find a Fit, Create a Plan, Love Your Work
A small, dynamic group-coaching workshop focused on helping you strategically map out your next steps and find work that is a “fit” for you. You will also receive support via Renee’s online Career Center and a subscription to the Career Strategist’s job leads service. **BONUS** register by Aug. 10 and receive a free DIY Job Search Toolkit (a $99 value). Class size is limited. CLICK HERE to register online. Contact email@example.com with questions.
- September 9 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., CST.
FREE Live Inside Out Teleclass (via telephone). Theme: Reclaiming Your Life: Strategies for Balanced Living. Join author/life coach Renee Trudeau,
guest Christine Hohlbaum, author of The Power of Slow, and women from around the world in a "virtual living room" as we explore
how to slow down, live more intentionally and be more present.
Register and receive details here.
- Did you know Renee travels around the world speaking to corporations, organizations and at national conferences on life balance, self-renewal (and other related topics)? Learn more about having Renee speak at your next event, workshops or conference. We're scheduling 2010-2011 events now.
- Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events.