“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 difficulty 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 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 April 29-May 1 (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 and Esalen at Big Sur in CA.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- April 1-30 Personal Renewal Group Online Facilitator Training Are you a therapist, coach, parent or birth educator, leadership consultant or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Join an international community and facilitate self-renewal groups/retreats for women based on the award-winning The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal. Learn more.
- April 29-May 1, Friday-Sunday: Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: A Women's Self-Renewal Retreat , Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, The Berkshires, MA. Nurture and nourish yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Tap the Transformative Power of Self-Care. Led by nationally-recognized career/life balance expert, coach and author Renee Trudeau at beautiful Kripalu. Ideal for women in career/life transition. Details here.
Our last Kripalu retreat sold out; register today!
- May 14 6:00-9:00 p.m. An Evening of Self-Renewal with Renee Trudeau for “moms who blog.” Austin, TX. Sponsored by the LiveMom community. Learn more.
May 17 Tuesday 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST
Live Inside Out Life Balance Teleclass with Renee Trudeau. Join women from around the world as we reconnect with whowe are, cultivate self-compassion and learn to live more intentionally. Learn more and register here.
May 20 Friday 9:00-1:00 p.m. Envision, Align and Expand: A Business Planning Retreat for Empowered Entrepreneurs. Casa de Artistas, south Austin. Gain clarity and focus on your business goals, receive laser coaching/feedback, tap Renee’s favorite, most powerful exercises and tools, leave inspired, focused and ready to work with renewed passion and clarity. Led by small business strategist Renee Trudeau at a small, quiet, private retreat center in Austin. Limited to 8 people. Cost: $249. Details/register. Email email@example.com to check availability.
- June 7-July 30 Self-Care as a Spiritual Practice: A Women’s Group led by Renee Trudeau. A small, powerful group coaching “mastermind” experience based in Austin. The Group is limited to 8 women and is ideal for those who are birthing a new way of being or wanting to bring forth a creative project or idea. Six meetings, Tuesday evenings, meets in South Austin. Cost: $395. For information and to inquire if there is still space, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Private Customized Retreats: Renee is masterful at creating/facilitating empowering half, full day or weekend workshops or retreats for companies, organizations and groups (her recent Lost Pines Self Renewal Retreat and her Kripalu retreat sold out and had a waiting list!). You can learn more about private retreats here or about her speaking/workshop topics, here. Email Sara Bogan, events manager at email@example.com or call 512-459-6700 to check Renee’s availability.
You may reprint this newsletter in its entirety provided you include at the end: Renee Peterson Trudeau is a life balance coach/speaker and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. You can download free book chapters, receive life balance tips or learn about upcoming events at www.ReneeTrudeau.com. Facebook: LiveInsideOut.