Do you know someone who has attended a retreat or you've considered attending one yourself? Not really sure what it is about, what it can do for you or if you really need it?
Before I became a Certified Life & Spiritual Coach, I loved attending retreats and still do. Anything that has to do with diving into personal development sounds like heaven to me (do I sound crazy?) Now as a Coach and owner of Goddess of Wisdom Spiritual Life Coaching, I have the honor of offering a Transformational Spiritual & Personal Development Retreat known as, Eat. Meditate. Love . I do this because I strongly believe in the profound effect retreats can have in changing one's life.
I have experienced profound change in myself as a retreat participant and witnessed it in others, multiple times as a retreat facilitator. I love experiencing rapid change and enlightenment so I am even commit to attending at least one retreat a year for my own well-being. There is absolutely a "magic" or science behind what makes retreats such a powerful agent to change.
Top 3 Reasons Why Retreats Work:
#1 Environment - No doubt you live in a sweet little pad or feel comfortable in your space at home but there is something to say about extracting yourself from the environment you're in and placing yourself in the unfamiliar.
We often associate our home with comfort, safety and serenity. But when we think about it, when it comes to fostering change or taking things the next level sometimes our environment doesn't always support that or push us to greater possibilities.
Like W. Clement Stone points out, you are a product of your environment. It holds the people, habits, routines, energy and beliefs that have no choice but influence you and vice versa - your environment is a product of your thoughts/beliefs you hold. Catch 22. So how do you create change if you feel stuck in a cycle or not being pushed outside your comfort zone?
If you want to change your life, start by changing your environment, even for a moment, a weekend, a week or maybe even longer. Different retreats offer different time lengths.
By doing this, you are pulling yourself out of your regular environment that holds:
Same energy (Becomes stagnant and needs some "clearing out")
Same people (Whoever you dwell with, Hubby, parents, roommate or maybe you live alone and therefore isolate and deal with just yourself)
Same routine (Do you say you will journal or meditate today but never get around to it? Easy to fall into your same routine and not be held accountable)
Same habits (You come home, put your feet up, binge watch netflix or scroll social media for hours when you could have read that self-help book or treated yourself to a nice long bath?)
Sometimes our environment doesn't support or challenge us to greater heights. I get it, after all we do need a place that feels safe, secure and familiar, but we also do need a space that inspires change - we are meant to grow, we are meant to evolve, otherwise we get stagnant and stuck.
Pulling yourself out of your regular environment into one that is new and different, can be a powerful catalyst towards change and help you see more clearly what is serving and what is not.
What I find an important aspect to any retreat is where they are held. The location needs to be high vibrating - located in nature, outside the busy city life, free of distractions and feel safe for participants to "let loose" and dive deep within.
My intention behind creating Eat. Meditate. Love Retreats is to help others experience heaven on earth. Every little detail, especially the location, must align to that. I found a beautiful country retreat in Prince Edward County, Ontario with a modern cottage located directly on the lake with plenty of trees, greenery and beautiful views of the sunset and sunrises. What do you think- doesn't this look like a little piece of heaven?
# 2 The People - By retreating to a new location and taking part in a program that meets your needs you naturally align with people who are on the same or similar path as you. One retreat I attended several years ago offered the option to do the retreat completely private with no other participant - sole focus on me or within a small group of women. To be honest, I was really resistant to joining others because I was afraid of revealing my deepest darkest secrets, being judged or being distracted from getting down to business with my own 'ish. Due to timing I opted in for the small group, and boy am I glad I did!
What I learned from being in a group setting:
I wasn't the only one - sometimes we stew in our own sorrows and worries and think we are the only ones on earth going through things but sharing and hearing other stories allowed me to recognize I was not alone, feel connected to others and see myself in other people and learn from other's experiences - it helped me in my own healing. The people who show up to these retreats are never by accident. They are all there playing a part in your soul healing, learning and growing.
I got called out on my 'ish - There was no hiding. Although the Coach created a safe space to get honest and real with myself, I was in a supportive and productive environment where the Coach lovely guided me to the truth and revealed some things about myself I didn't recognize before. Even the other people there helped show me who I really was or what I was doing that wasn't serving me but in a safe and supportive environment.
I was triggered and had no choice but to deal with it right then and there - There was one girl there who pointed out that my "airy-fairy ways" wasn't going to get me far in life (Boy was she wrong! Funny how I ended up creating an amazing career and business based around spirituality, inner wisdom and intuition :) More on that later. But the point is, in the moment when I received, what I perceived, criticism, I went to the wrong of me and felt so insecure. In hindsight, I am so grateful to her because it made me deal with my trigger right there, not wait until I was home and faced with it on my own when a loved one says something to me to the same effect and then all hell breaks loose! In that safe space and with other people there, I received the gift of recognizing my triggers and learned how to effectively deal or deactivate them. This helped me to better handle situations at home in real life.
Overall, by engaging in a retreat the people who are there play an active role in your change. You see yourself in them, you empathize with them, you connect with them or better yet get triggered by them and then know you have something within you that needs cleaning up, which only makes you walk away more enlightened and stronger. Afterall, we are stronger together.
# 3 The Coach - By participating in a retreat, you receive the opportunity to work with a new coach or perhaps one you are already familiar with, in a new and innovative way.
For my retreats, I draw in past, current and brand new clients. The interesting thing about this is even though some of the attendees are private coaching clients they get to experience something completely new, experiential and out of the box that private coaching does not offer. I get to support the participants in a new, refreshing way with my latest and greatest tools to help them release the past, reprogram their mindset, behaviour and energy and help them develop new healthier patterns in a shorter amount of time. I believe this profound change happens so quickly for a few reasons:
We create momentum - Once when we dive deep we don't stop and keep going within 3-days at Eat. Meditate. Love
I offer new experiential techniques and processes that is more effective in a group setting - Last year I presented an exercise that helped reprogram limiting beliefs. The basis of this exercise was to bring awareness to how our thoughts/beliefs become our reality. To make it really tangible each participant was given a seed to plant in their own clay pot. The seed represents their thought.The flower it blooms represents the reality. In order to bloom a beautiful vibrant flower, one must nurture it with water, sun and soil. When it doesn't produce a beautiful healthy flower it's because they neglected it or nurtured it with negative energy and behaviors that doesn't serve them. All the participants seemed to love this exercise because it made them fully aware of the thoughts they think and how they contribute to the results in their life. They got to plant the seed there, bless the seed, and take it home to continue "watering the thought". Now do you see how that could have been a tad weird planting seeds in a private coaching session? Participants were sending me reports and pictures for weeks after showing how their seed bloomed into a beautiful flower and more so shared the exciting details of other wonderful things that unfolded in their life from planting and nurturing new high vibrating thoughts.
Maharishi Effect - Another reason I find profound change takes place in a retreat setting is because of the Maharishi Effect. This came to be, after an experiement was done where 1% of the population practiced Transcendental Meditation, the crime rate was lowered by 16%.This proved that when a group comes together to meditate and get on the same energy wavelength, the effect it so powerful it creates significant improvements in the quality of life for self and others. There is definitely a palpable energy I experience when I run my retreats. Whether it's beginner or experienced meditators at my retreat, I see, feel and sense the energy so densely and see the energetic shift the participants feel and leave on a totally different vibration. And I always receive updates of how their life has changed in some shape or form, and many keep referring to their learnings from their retreat to this day.
I hope these 3 points shed some light on how powerful attending a retreat can have on you and your life.
My wish for everyone would be to commit to lifelong learning and find a coach and retreat(s) that best resonates with you and supports you on your journey to expansion.
We are meant for greatness. We are meant to experience joy. We are meant to live in happiness. Along the way we may have forgotten how to get there but thank goodness there are people and programs to help you achieve that with more ease and effortlessness.
I hope you give yourself the gift of a retreat one day.
If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming Eat. Meditate. Love Retreat please visit our site for more details
Love & Light to you,
Minerva Maharajh is a Certified Life & Spiritual Coach, Reiki Practitioner, Retreat Facilitator, Speaker and founder of Goddess of Wisdom Spiritual Life Coaching. She is passionate about helping dreamers and doers live heaven on earth. With her integrated approach of aligning the human and spirit self, she provides real and lasting transformations over a shorter period of time through her signature private coaching programs, Unleashed and her popular weekend retreats, Eat. Meditate. Love. She is often sought out for speaking engagements and workshops. To learn more, please visit: www.goddessofwisdom.ca