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News from the Retreat

Vulnerability as a Journey to Growth and Change

Yoga Retreat May 2011

Margaret in Heart Opening Meditation

Vulnerability is frightening, but I’ve found a life lived with vulnerability is a life worth living. I view my vulnerability as a journey to growth and change. And my growth game is strong, even though I’ve been afraid. Afraid to be hurt or to be taken advantage of, but I believe the risk is well worth the payoff.

Many guests who come to a retreat on their own. I know they feel out of their comfort zone and especially vulnerable. The safe and sacred space of our Retreat is a perfect place to dip your toe into vulnerability. View our upcoming retreats here

For an inspiring (and funny) talk on vulnerability, see Brene Brown’s Netflix Special. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I had the honor of seeing Brene a couple years ago in person – what incredible energy. And she’s an introvert too! Here’s also her Ted Talk which is a great watch.

I believe we are fearful to be found defenseless, so we keep our guards up and our hearts closed down. It’s terrifying to let someone see us as we truly are, where our desperate needs and raw emotions lie exposed. But to live a deeply connected life, our vulnerability must come out into the open where we can grow and change; finding a place where we allow ourselves to breathe deeply and open up to the joy of endless possibilities that surround us in each passing moment. And though it may be scary, as with anything else, you can start with baby steps.

We asked you what you thought about vulnerability, about what it meant to you. Thank you for opening up your hearts to us! Here’s some of what you shared:

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Lemon Basil Hummus

Lemon Basil Hummus

Made from Scratch Lemon Basil Hummus

When guests arrive on Friday, they are greeted with a bowl of our seasonal hummus with an assortment of fresh veggies and crackers, olives, an assortment of cheeses and fresh fruit. What a way to start a weekend! We prepare ours from scratch because most of the brands you buy in store are loaded with extra fat and sometimes even sugar!

I love this recipe because it’s so easy. In the past I had attempted to make hummus without the tahini paste (a paste made from sesame seeds), its crucial to the taste, don’t leave it out.  You can find it at most grocery stores. In case you make too much, you can also pop it in the freezer in a freezer bag or container. I can’t wait for you to make this at home and let me know how much you love it!

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Lemons (juiced)
  • 2 Cans Garbanzo Beans (drained and reserve 3/4 cup of the liquid)
  • 2 TBSP Tahini Paste
  • 1 TBSP Cumin
  • 1 TBSP Italian Season
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ¼ cup Basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil + an additional drizzle for serving

Prepare

  • Add one can of garbanzo beans and ¾ cup of liquid to the food processor.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Add the second can of beans and the olive oil.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice, tahini paste and the seasonings.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and basil leaves if desired.

Spring Menu

Retreat Menu

Snack: Homemade Hummus with Assorted Crackers, Veggies, Olives and Cheese

Friday Dinner

Roasted Lemon Basil Chicken
Mushroom Risotto
White Wine Sauteed Asparagus with Mushrooms & Onions
Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread or Bruschetta
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan and Slivered Almonds

Saturday Breakfast

Fresh Berries and Homemade Granola

Fresh Berries and Homemade Granola

Breakfast Bowl: Steel Cut Oatmeal, Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and Fresh Berries
Rosemary Blueberry Scones
Organic Hard Boiled Eggs
Coconut Milk/Organic Whole Milk
Coffee/Tea/OJ

Saturday Lunch

Tomato Basil Soup
Egg Salad
Homemade Rustic Rosemary Bread or Bruschetta
Fresh Veggies, Crackers and Hummus
Exotic Veggie Chips
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan and Slivered Almonds

Saturday Dinner

Spring Roll Bowls: Asian Sesame Chicken, Brown Rice, Sauteed Veggies and Peanut Sauce
Spring Mix, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, Parmesan, Slivered Almonds, Chow Mein Noodles

Sunday Brunch

Avocado Toast
Breakfast Potatoes
Cilantro Scrambled Eggs
Greek Yogurt, Homemade Granola and Fresh Berries
Coconut Milk/Organic Whole Milk
Coffee/Tea/OJ

All of our meals are freshly prepared using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Meals are served buffet style.

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
  • Directions
    • 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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