Enjoy a more successful retreat by planning for change before you go!

If you are planning a retreat this year or even a mini-vacation, it is wise to plan ahead for a potential shift in your mindset.  Most of us have been stuck in the same routine and environment for so long that even a slight change in our surroundings can create a powerful internal shift.  Now consider traveling overseas or attending a week-long retreat and you may blow your circuitry wide open…and that’s a good thing!


We go on retreats to get away from it all and collect our energy again. All of the energy that is otherwise spread out in multiple directions gets refocused for inner growth. All the noise, stress, responsibilities and distractions of everyday life melt away and we are able to get back in touch with who we are and what is important to us. 


We leave our retreat with clarity, an open heart and mind, and renewed energy.  We return home rested and reinvigorated. We can’t help but want to bring these qualities home with us and perhaps share our experience with those we love. Unfortunately, for most of us, the daily environment we left behind is right there waiting for us. Our old habits and well-worn routines swallow up our best intentions to bring our retreat experience home.  



  1. Plan that you will be changed by your retreat especially if your current lifestyle does not match your core values and essential self. Often we underestimate the shifts that have happened inside — physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically. Schedule pockets of quiet time for a few weeks post-retreat to check in with what is showing up for you as your retreat experience continues to unfold. 
  2. Stay healthy in your current environment. Begin healthy routines and self-care before you go on your retreat. Just as we tend to eat poorly before starting a diet, we can let our health go in the days and weeks leading up to our retreat. Creating a strong and healthy foundation in your life before you retreat will support your changes when you return.


  1. Identify the key take-aways and create intentions. What is important to take home and bring into action? Once you identify what you would like to bring home, you can ground the experience in your body which creates a more powerful connection to the retreat. One way is to ground the experience in your belly center; your center of power and intuition. In Japanese martial arts this is the reservoir of vital energy as well as the center of gravity called the Hara. You can visualize the change you wish to make or the insight you gained living in this center of the body located in your abdomen just below your belly button.


  1. Create a pause moment to honor and incubate your retreat experience. Avoid using your phone (if possible) and stay away from social media. Consider holding your insights in your own heart for a while instead of sharing everything that happened. Spend some time alone; either for several hours after a short event or several days or a week after longer ones.
  2. Get curious about your internal experience. Once you expand your awareness of self at a retreat it becomes very clear what is in alignment and what is not when you return home. Instead of judging or reacting, stay in an observer role and just notice the changes unfolding when you are in your home environment. Cultivate a practice of getting in tune with yourself for a few moments each day.
  3. Implement one take-away within 48 hours of returning home. Write down the new learning, knowing, or list the growth points you have gained from the experience. These insights begin deep inside of you and feel that they have been around (however uncovered) for a long time. Choose one new practice, idea or behavior to try within the first few hours back home and take action!
  4. When you’re ready, confide in your loved ones. Choose a time to talk about what is going on inside of you those you trust most when they are present and grounded. Exercise the power of discernment —avoid oversharing with those who will be skeptical, critical or otherwise diminish the value of your inner work. 


I understand that none of these steps are easy. Integrating change requires us to overcome stabilizing forces and inhibitors within our everyday environment. The daily environment can easily swallow up our best efforts with work, family, friends, stress, pressures and responsibilities. Fortunately, I am here to help. If you have a recent aha moment that you would like to integrate at any stage, I would love to help you brainstorm ideas, create strategies and keep you on track to fully realize your vision.

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