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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that it’s November, you’ve probably seen different variations of a “gratitude challenge” or “30 days of gratitude” floating around on social media. Taking a moment each day to state – privately or publicly – what you’re grateful for has proven scientific benefits to the mind, body and spirit.
At Retreat in the Pines gratitude is part of everything we do – from each yoga practice to our outdoor Gratitude Meditation to our Gratitude Brunch (where guests take turns sharing what they’re grateful for) and of course our community of strong women. Discover gratitude as part of our retreat community.
If you’ve ever found yourself at a crossroads in life, wondering if there’s more out there to explore, you’re not alone. Some may argue that if you practice santosha – the yogic philosophy of cultivating a sense of contentment – then there’s nothing else in life that you need. But if you feel the grass could be greener, you can proactively create a life you love. After all, contentment is a choice.
At Retreat in the Pines, we offer weekend retreats so you can step away from the stresses of your life – perhaps even outside your comfort zone – to discover santosha while immersed in our safe and sacred retreat space. View our upcoming retreats here.
Discovering contentment doesn’t need to be a dramatic shift in your life. Making small adjustments in your day-to-day routine will allow you to find change and the greater satisfaction you’re seeking.
We hear the word freedom quite a bit at this time of year. We celebrate our country’s independence on July Fourth, but what about celebrating freedom in our personal lives?
You’ll often hear yoga instructors expressing this idea in class: clear your mind, let go. And in letting go, we can find freedom. This might seem like a very broad concept, so it’s helpful to hone in on what exactly you’re looking to let go of: self-doubt, negative self-talk, attachment to the past, attachment to any ideas of what the future “should” look like, and so on.
For me personally, the journey of letting go is something I must be intentional about. It’s easy to get off track. Here are ideas on how to do just that:
Let go of self-doubt. As women, we play many different roles in our lives: friend, employee, boss, mother, sister, wife; the list goes on. With all the hats we wear, it can be easy to doubt how we are “performing” in any given role. We might wonder if we’re good enough, or if we’re doing enough. The reality is that we are doing the best we can—and that is always enough.
When I began my own digital detox, over a year ago, there was an immediate sense of relief. I started by turning off the notifications on my phone. With that first step, I realized, I’m in charge again! Not my phone! I recently deleted social media apps that were distracting me. At first there was a sense of what do I do now? Then I realized I had much more time in my day to engage with those around me. My dining table has always been a screen-free zone and I have memories of great meals and conversations with loved ones and friends over the years.
Many women come to Retreat in the Pines seeking a way to “unplug” from their daily lives. Often just getting away to a place where the focus is relaxation and the only thing you really have to do is breathe, is enough to get grounded, settle into a clear headspace and calm emotional state. If you’re in need of a get-away, book a retreat with us.
Relaxation is easy to achieve while away at a retreat. But what about unplugging while in the midst of daily life? Modern society is hyperconnected, and the tools that were designed to make our lives easier can, in some ways, make our lives more complicated. The apps on our phones often distract us from being fully present in the moment. While it’s almost impossible to completely unplug, there is a new trend in managing the overwhelming and nearly constant stream of information at our fingertips: a digital detox.