Like most of us, you probably find yourself scrambling to catch up to your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s with your job, the kids and all of their activities or even the laundry. There never seems to be enough time in any given day to feel somewhat accomplished. And then I realized the importance of self-care and, for me, the importance of retreating from my daily grind everyone once and a while.
Over the years, I’ve softened my approach to my own life and my own “to do list.” As I’ve grown spiritually as well as emotionally and matured some, I’ve realized that while of course some of those things are a necessary part of our lives and responsibilities, I can find better ways to manage the expectations others have of me but more importantly, the expectations I have of myself.
With this freedom, came the understanding that taking care of myself, my needs and my own life had to come first and foremost. And part of that meant that I had to literally “shove myself into my own life.”
What this evolved into over the years was the gentle release of my grip on what I thought was expected of me, my self-inflicted and self-created shoulds about life. When I set about exploring what was really underneath these beliefs, I saw that my perceptions were not only self-made but they were simply unrealistic and in some ways, completely unnecessary. Underneath these beliefs were feelings of inadequacy, not measuring up, an old internal dialog that went something like “you need to do this in order to be accepted, validated, loved, honored - you plug in what it sounds like from your end.
I embarked on my spiritual journey over 14 years ago when my kids were very little. I found that I was at some sort of a crossroads in my life that I couldn’t make sense of. I knew that the shift had to come from within and at the time, I wasn’t sure how or where to look. I hadn't yet realized the importance of retreating.
It was at that turning point when I decided to enroll myself into my first spiritual retreat. At the time, I was hyperventilating through my life literally waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop each and every day. I was anxious, I was short-tempered, I was impatient and I was beyond stressed trying to manage and raise two little kids.
Signing up for that retreat took a leap of faith. I’d never done anything like that before and I had no way of knowing what to expect. All I knew at the time was that I couldn’t keep living my life the way I had been and that the change had to come from within. It took a lot for me to leave home for a week and leave the kids in another set of capable hands too!
Inside of that week-long retreat, I discovered a sense of peace and tranquility that I hadn’t ever experienced before. Previous to that, I had literally no knowledge that such peace was even attainable nor possible.
I spent the week eating healthily, sleeping more hours per night than I had in years, getting some exercise on my own timeline, and most importantly, learning how to meditate. All of these experiences combined left me feeling like a completely new person. It wasn't that I somehow returned to a calm, centered person because I had actually never before experienced myself in that way. It was that I was literally meeting and getting to know a new calm, centered and relaxed woman who I didn’t recognize.
No Turning Back
I didn’t want to go back to the chaotic life I had created at home. I also knew that I now had been given the skills to recreate this sort of peace and tranquility at home. As long I had the commitment and dedication to set aside 20 minutes a day to meditate and other parts of my day to check in with myself, my stress levels, my eating and exercise habits and my emotional self, there would be a very good chance I could actually maintain a daily level of peace and tranquility.
Here it is, over 14 years later, and I still schedule a weekly solo retreat each and every year without fail. It’s what I know I need to stay emotionally and spiritually sound and calm. The importance of retreating is now engrained in who I am as a person.
We owe it to ourselves to create a time out within our busy lives. We owe it to our mental, physical and spiritual well-being to do so. We owe it to our families, our co-workers, our friends to show up grounded, present and whole.
It’s paramount to our health and well-being to continually find ways to restore ourselves to wholeness.
If you are ready to take that step for yourself, consider joining me for a one-of-a-kind retreat experience. You deserve to settle into peace and serenity as your learn the importance of retreating.