I just returned from a weekend yoga retreat at the rustic, quiet Margaret Austin Retreat Center, two hours east of Austin.
The weekend was led by two beautiful, gifted Vinyasa yoga teachers from Yoga Yoga (my yoga “home”). They did a wonderful job of creating a nourishing experience for all.
I attended the retreat with a dear friend and while I have to admit I had some misgivings about sleeping in a bunk bed in a room with strangers (initially at least), I fully embraced the experience: long, nourishing yoga sessions, time alone in nature, space to quietly meditate, out-of-this-world gourmet vegetarian food, the amazingly stunning full moon, the sounds of the wind/coyotes/owls/tall grass/birds/cows and time for heartfelt sharing with my friend.
I don’t know if it’s the act of unplugging for 48 hours, the immersion in a contemplative natural setting, the opportunity to slow waaay down and not have responsibilities tugging at my sleeve or my willingness to be open to whatever wants to emerge, but I always feel different and somewhat permanently altered after I take a retreat. It’s as if the experience brings me back to the “true” reality of life. My “lens” gets re-adjusted.
Last night I enjoyed a yummy dinner of veggie nachos on homemade corn tostadas and Asian arugula salad with almonds and oranges with my partner and son.
Afterwards I took time to really savor the experience of putting my eight-year old to bed—smelling his sweet,clean,just-washed wet hair, holding him tight and feeling his heartbeat, telling him a story about an adventurous wild boy in the woods (“make it scary mama!”) and kissing his sweet soft cheeks.
Going for a walk last night with a good friend, I shared with her how everything seems brighter, sharper and more vibrant after this weekend. Smells, sounds (the cicadas in the park next to my house sounded like they were preparing to launch into Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) touch, sight—all seemed amplified. I felt and still feel more alive (read more), more attuned to the nuances of my surroundings and more connected to the web of life.
I have always deeply resonated with the quote “Life is not a thing to be managed, it’s a mystery to be lived.” (Read more.)
As someone who has always liked to “get stuff done” and has danced her whole life with finding the balance between doing and being, it’s often easy for me to fall into the pattern of deriving a lot of my sense of accomplishment and worth from how I “manage life.” And, I’m sure like many of you multitaskers—we can do this quite well!
But the deeper invitation I feel called to respond to –at almost 45 years old—is to embrace, revel in and hang out as much possible in life’s mysteries.
Because, as someone who lost three family members early in life, I know that there will never be a time when I’ll lament not having finished a work or household task.
But if I’m not mindful, I might mourn the loss of not fully enjoying a big full moon in a dark night sky, the delicious, unmistakable smell a new baby’s head, moments of quiet stillness in the early morning mist or allowing my heart to fully open to those around me.
If you live in Texas (or are able to fly into Austin), consider joining me Friday, Nov. 5th at Lost Pines Hyatt Resort and Spa (on 400 acres on the Colorado River) at my Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance One Day Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat. It might just change your life. Or at the very least, your perspective on life.
FIND YOUR TRIBE, ATTEND A RETREAT/WORKSHOP OR JOIN THE DIALOGUE: Would you like support for reconnecting with who you are and focusing on your self-care? Join or become trained to facilitate a Personal Renewal Group, visit our calendar to learn more about upcoming events including our November 5th One-Day Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance Women’s One-Day Self-Renewal Retreat (bring a friend and get a discount).
Also, check out our Live Inside Out community and read how people are living more intentionally.
The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.
Photo: Renee Trudeau–the morning mist hanging over the grasses at the Margaret Austin Retreat Center.