Do you ever find yourself wondering “how did I end up here?” You look back at the zigs and zags of your life and wonder should I have stepped left when I stepped right? Should I have skipped a few steps (partners, jobs, ideas) entirely?
Out of necessity we may find ourselves doing things we didn’t plan. Or even losing sight of our hopes and dreams. That’s reality. And it happens to all of us. If you need a break from reality, join us for a retreat. It will change your perspective and maybe even your life.
Perhaps you’ve spent the last 5, 10 or 20 years raising your children. Or working in a career that didn’t suit you. Or in a relationship (with a friend, partner or even co-worker) that was sucking the life out of you. If I’ve learned anything in my life, “It’s never too late… to turn back, start over, press the reset button.” And never say never.
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:
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.
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.