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News from the Retreat

Choose Compassion

Compassion

Live with Compassion

I believe the practice of compassion is life changing. It may seem like the path of least resistance to get irritated at people for their poor driving skills or their rudeness and unpleasantness. When you become angry in those situations, your anger is more damaging to you than to the object of your irritation.

Our compassion practice must begin with ourselves. When you join us for a retreat, your weekend of self care leads to self-compassion.

Flipping someone the bird or muttering cuss words under our breath, certainly doesn’t affect the offending party, but it does affect us. I believe when we allow ourselves to get caught up in bitterness and irritation, we begin to spread the toxic energy, even without meaning to.

So instead of irritation, allow yourself a moment of compassion. The offending person may be experiencing a challenging situation. A loss of a job, a pet, a loved one or something even more challenging. Find compassion for this fellow traveler, offer a smile, a kind word, let them go in front of you in traffic or in line. They may not wave or nod in appreciation but let that go too.

  • Compassion begins with forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive loved ones, strangers. We are all in this together – we are all connected – let’s not let our small mindedness and selfishness stand in the way of a beautiful shared experience.
  • A lovingkindness meditation cultivates compassion. When I first began my lovingkindness meditation, I struggled with finding love, compassion or kindness for those in my life who I felt had wronged me. After a consistent practice, I let that go and now my it’s easier to find compassion towards myself and others. We practice Lovingkindness Meditations at our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats.
  • Find compassion for yourself. Find gratitude for your journey and the steps along the way. Forgive yourself for the steps in the wrong direction and congratulate yourself for the steps in the right direction. Compassion for self is the first step in self-love and self-acceptance.
  • Begin a gratitude practice. Focusing on gratitude for what you have, what you’ve survived and what you’ve let go, encourages a whole new perspective. Your new perspective will allow you to see you’re not alone in struggles and challenges. Let that turn into compassion for others and what they may be struggling with.
  • Remember everyone is doing the best they can. Before judging someone for a perceived slight, take a moment to see them as a kindred spirit on a similar path to yours. Complete with ups and downs, and sometimes unimaginable struggles.

When we recognize we’re all in this together and connected to each other – despite our differences – compassion is the only choice.

Overcome Fear and Live Confidently

Women's Yoga Retreat

Release Fear and Build Confidence with Yoga

One of my favorite parts of a retreat is watching our guests transform. Most arrive on Friday looking tired and stressed. By Sunday morning, not only do guests look 10 years younger, they have a big smile on their face and their energy is lighter. I call it the Yoga Retreat makeover! Get your Yoga Retreat Makeover when you join us for a retreat

I’ve noticed change is most evident for guests who show up as their authentic selves and actively engage with other guests including guests they’ve met for the first time. I’ve struggled with being my authentic self because of fear. Maybe you can relate. I’ve found my confidence in myself is strongest when I deliberately venture out of my comfort zone. When I get uncomfortable, survive and even flourish, I feel more confident. 

Steps to Overcome Your Fears

Accept Yourself

For who you are. Not who someone in your life tells you, you SHOULD be. You are beautifully and uniquely you. If you struggle with connecting with the real you. Try the following exercises.

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Finding Balance

Let’s face it, at times life can be overwhelming. Finding balance may be a constant struggle as our life changes and the demands upon us increase. Sometimes a weekend away is needed to find perspective.

Join us for a retreat and find perspective and more. Our retreats are the perfect place to take a break from the everyday commitments and renew your mind and body. Click here to find your balance and book a retreat.

The projects and commitments women undertake on a daily basis are impressive. There is work, yoga practice or workout, grocery shopping and preparing meals, keeping up the home – cleaning, repairing, etc.  For moms, the list is even longer, phone conferences, doctor appointments, sports and other activities…and the list goes on. Is it possible to even find balance?

Realistically there may never be a perfect balance. However, here are a few ideas to make the juggling of all our obligations a little easier.

1. Set priorities.

You don’t have to do it all. Sometimes, something has to give. Choose what you are willing to sacrifice. Identify what is a necessity and what is not. What commitment is mandatory, and which commitment can wait? The truth is, there is only so much time in the day and sometimes getting it all done is impossible. And that is okay.

2. Delegate when possible.

There is nothing to lose in asking for help. If you can solicit the help of a willing friend, neighbor or family member…by all means, do it. It is okay to accept help from others, and there is a chance you will have an opportunity to return the favor. Afterall, we are all in this together!

3. Take the easy route!

Yep, that’s right! Sometimes we just have to do what is easy in order to get it all done. Save the Pinterest worthy Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe for another evening and tonight make a simple baked chicken and a side salad. At the end of the day, the goal was achieved…there was food on the table and all is well.

4. Give Yourself Permission

If you find yourself pushing yourself harder and harder to get it all done and instead of getting it all done, you’re exhausted and stressed, it may be time to do things differently. Give yourself permission to delegate and take the easy way out. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself and enjoy an hour, an evening or even a weekend of self care.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of finding balance is managing the stresses of everyday life the best we can. In the midst of our busy schedules, we must take care of ourselves, first and foremost. It is essential to take a moment to refuel and recharge. Make time for the things that rejuvenate your spirit. Only when you take care of you, will you be able to accomplish all that you need to do.

 

Celebrating Women: Claiming Our Power

Taking back our power

Strong and Empowered Women – We Can Do Anything

February seems to be all about love, I like the reminder to focus on self love. But what if we take that a step further: empowerment. Empower – to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. Yes! 

If you need a weekend of empowerment, join us for a retreat. You’ll meet amazing women who will inspire and encourage you.

Let’s lift each other up. In words and actions, in public and in private, online and in person. We must refuse to allow ourselves to be treated as anything less than the incredible and talented women that we are. I believe by lifting each other up, we lift ourselves up as well.

This is one of the “whys” behind Retreat in the Pines – to give women a safe space while creating a community of women who inspire and encourage each other. I’ve heard from guests that’s how Retreat in the Pines is different – there is none of the BS that’s so often present in real life situations; guests LOVE that aspect of our retreats. There’s no reason why we can’t bring that same dynamic into our lives.

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Warm Spiced Fruit

Apples for Warm Spiced Fruit

Green Apples add a Little Bit of Tart

This simple recipe is perfect for a variety of dishes. The cinnamon and nutmeg combined with the apples and pears makes for the ideal warm and tasty treat.  This dish is great served at breakfast or as the perfect compliment to your favorite dinner entree. It could also be served as a dessert, spooned over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. So easy and delicious.

We serve it with our Ayurvedic Steel Cut Oatmeal for a warm and filling breakfast at the retreat.  Use your choice of apples. I recommend going organic if you leave the skins on. For extra deliciousness and health benefits, add a cup of chopped nuts of your choice. I top my Oatmeal and Fruit with East Texas pecans.

  • Ingredients
    • 10 apples or 5 apples and 5 pears
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 TBSP cinnamon
    • 1 TBSP nutmeg
  • Instructions
    • Dice apples/pears into medium pieces.
    • Saute over low heat in one TBSP coconut oil.
    • Stir in dried cranberries.
    • Cook on medium low for 20 minutes.
    • Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.

New Friends…New Perspective

I personally believe true friends are precious, and it’s especially challenging to find new friends in the age of social media. I love my lifelong friends, but I’m always open to meeting and making new friends.

Our retreats encourage sharing and connecting. If you’d like to expand your circle of friends, join us for a retreat. Allow yourself to be open, and you may find a new best friend.

A lifelong friend REALLY knows you. They understand your personality and all its nuances. They’ve been there through your ups and downs, supporting you in the valleys and celebrating you at the peaks. Old friends know details of your history as it relates to career, relationships and everything in between. While having a lifelong friend can be exactly the support you need, new friendships offer many benefits.

Sometimes when calling my lifelong friend to get her honest opinion, I hesitate, knowing I’ve been discussing this exact thing with her for years, time and time again. I assume I know exactly what her response will be. I wonder if she will judge me…thinking I should have figured out the issue years ago! Or now I’ve changed my mind and did exactly what I said I would never do!

The refreshing “newness” of new friendships may be exactly what we need. There’s no judgement based on past mistakes. It’s a fresh perspective to an old problem. New friends don’t know about ALL your baggage and history. They know the current you and, possibly, the “new and improved you.”

New friends can expand our horizons and introduce us to a new way of thinking that may enrich our life in ways we never imagined. They offer new experiences, new hobbies and may even lead to more friends.

At our retreats, we often witness new connections leading to true friendships. There is something so beautiful about connecting with a stranger, whom we may have assumed we had nothing in common with, only to discover shared interests, joys and even shared pain…and now a friendship.

Old friends are our constants, supporting us through good times and bad, sharing joys and sorrows and knowing our strengths and weaknesses. New friends bring freshness. And sometimes a new friend is just what we need as we change and grow.

For the New Year, Set Intentions, Not Resolutions

Intention

What will Your Intention Be?

Maybe you’ve been here before: you set a resolution for the new year, stick with it for a few days or weeks, and by the time spring rolls around you have already “failed” at keeping your resolution.

Why does this happen? When setting resolutions, it’s natural to fixate on something we consider problematic or negative about ourselves. We want to eat less of something (sugar, carbs, meat, etc.), do more of something (exercise, sleep, socialize), be more or less of something (more outgoing, less chatty, the list can go on); and all of these resolutions seem to indicate that who we are isn’t enough. And when those resolutions fall by the wayside, which research has proven that they do, we’re left feeling a little bit like we failed…and that we’re still, somehow, not good enough

Intention setting, on the other hand, is different. In the practice of yoga, we set an intention at the start of class. Sometimes this is guided by the instructor, but we are always free to choose one thing to focus on to help keep us present in the moment. In a class, that can be anything from letting go of self judgement to cultivating gratitude to sending energy to a specific person in our life who needs a little extra.

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Winter Solstice – A Time for Reflection

Winter Solstice

Self Reflection and Journaling

Winter solstice signifies a time to find stillness in ourselves where we can reflect on the year behind us. For me, Winter Solstice represents the beginning of a season of going within – a time of journaling and self reflection. I look over my journals from the past year or years to see how far I’ve come. This is when I  discover the challenges I’v overcome AND the moments of joy. My favorite part? Staying in, usually in my PJs or sweats (no bra!) – warm and cozy, while the weather outside is cold and dreary.

If you need to get away to spend time in self reflection, join us for one of our January retreats. I love the silence and beauty of nature on the retreat grounds at this time of year. Things are quiet around here, as our staff stays home for the holidays, and for me personally, it’s a time to reflect on all the lives that have been touched over the last 12 months at Retreat in the Pines. I’m grateful to be able to offer women a place to find stillness and sanctuary where they can get away for a weekend of rejuvenation and self-care.

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Stillness. In thoughts. In life. In movement.

Yoga Retreat

Take a Moment to Pause

I recently discovered the power of stillness. When I take a moment to pause, I create a shift in my perspective and everything else in my life shifts. I find my to do list is less daunting. And by stepping away from the thought “everything must get done right now,” I find peace.

If you need to pause, join us for a retreat – the physical, mental and emotional benefits of taking a time out are phenomenal.

Maybe you’re familiar with the evening routine of cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, answering emails plus a few other chores.  Then falling into bed exhausted – maybe even falling asleep while reading or watching TV. That was the OLD me. Let me introduce you to the NEW me. I pick one thing to get done – not everything. And I absolutely do not answer emails past 7 pm. With all of that extra time, I take a bath, read, listen to a podcast or watch Netflix. Freedom!

When I stopped the constant “busyness” I had subjected myself to for years, I found, not only more peace, but more energy.

By giving myself permission to pause, I stopped the cycle of depletion and never enough time or energy. I found stillness allowed me to refill my cup.

 

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Roasted Veggies

Roasted Fall Veggies

Getting Ready to Put the Veggies in the Oven

I love the season of Fall: the cooler weather, the changing colors of the trees and especially Fall Dishes – soups, stews and and any recipe that uses the produce of the season.

These roasted veggies are heavenly. And so simple to make. When I make these at home, I add sweet potatoes or red potatoes.

At the retreat, this is part of our Friday dinner – served with Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and of course our Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread.

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