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How to BE on Retreat

What do you imagine when you picture a retreat in Italy?





Slow food





Long walks

Welcome to the magic of a Radiant Jane Retreat in Italy!

Yes to all of the above and yet sometimes I find that it can be difficult to shift into the energy of a retreat. Transitions are not always automatic. There are many contributing factors. Leaving home can be stressful. In addition to getting yourself ready to travel, maybe you have to make arrangements for the folks that depend on you back home, for pets who need care and for yards that require tending. Also, international travel is not exactly a known recipe for chilling out. Cramming yourself into a tiny space, depriving yourself of sleep and eating substandard food can make for a rough start.

Often when you arrive on retreat, the last 48 hours of your life have been quite stressful. You might be feeling unsure about leaving behind your comfy bed and your high speed wifi. You might be tired and grouchy from the trip. All perfectly normal. Accepting the challenges of travel can make it so much easier and we can practice being tender with ourselves.

I have a few tips for helping you ease into retreat mode that I want to share with you. I hope you find them helpful for going on retreat or useful if you are headed out on your own personal retreat.

1. Hit the pause button!

Learn to pause. A retreat is meant to be like the intermission of your life. It is the moment for resetting the stage between Act I and Act II. It’s also a chance to take care of snacks and bathroom breaks. (The pause is for both the grandiose and the practical resets!)

In honor of the bigger pause that this retreat is meant to be for you, learn to insert lots of little pauses throughout the retreat.

Pause before you get out of bed to offer gratitude for each new day.

Pause before you leave your room to take 5-10 restorative deep breaths. This is a way to remember that you don’t have to be in a hurry this week.

Pause before you speak. Maybe ask yourself if what you are going to say will bring light and joy to the conversation.

When your plate of food arrives, pause to admire the beauty and consider the hands that worked so that this plate of food could appear before you in this moment.

Pause to write in your journal.

Pause to stand outside under the Tuscan sun.

Pause to BE.

Creating simple rituals like these can be your superpower while retreating.

2. Focus on BEING rather than DOING.

Our retreats have many different themes. We offer retreats on tarot, art, writing, body work, meditation, food and wine, and we’re always expanding. So it’s possible that you will have arrived on retreat with some goals, ideas or projects. But let me suggest that all of the retreat themes are different avenues towards the same goal: for you to have space to just BE who you are.

One of the ways I like to explore BEING me is to relax my attachment to the image I have of myself. Travel is a time to try on new ways of being in the world, to eat new foods and open our minds to new ideas. Let your consciousness expand.

Look for ways to practice detachment. Can you go a whole day without your phone? Can you relax your preferences a bit?

Maybe this will be a time you find new ways of being that you bring back to your life at home!

3. Mind your business.

Reflect on the words of the great Byron Katie:

I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. For me, the word God means "reality." Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control -- I call that God’s business.

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, "You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself," I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.

Your retreat is a time to go deep within yourself, into your own inward journey. You don’t need to take care of anyone except for you. One of the easiest ways to de-rail your retreat energy is to focus on someone else. But when you find yourself doing this, you don't have to be hard on yourself. You can always circle back to you and your own retreat work, which (remember #2) is just being more of who you are!

4. Stay present.

Practice grounding into your physical body in order to remain in the present moment.

Walk barefoot on the grass or sit on the floor of your room.

Be still and focus on your breath.

When you space out or find yourself in a state of worry, gently bring yourself back to now with your senses. What noises can you hear? What do you smell and taste? Do you feel sun or breeze on your skin?

Show up for sessions a few minutes early so you have a chance to ground into the space.

Practice surrendering to and accepting what is occurring in the moment.

Practice listening more and speaking less.

5. Have fun!

I find that it can be easy to take everything a bit too seriously in life, but on retreat I want you to be able to take it easy. Even in the midst of deep discovery and learning, you can be light-hearted.

Take time to write down what makes you smile and laugh while you're on retreat. Allow yourself permission to tap into deep joy. The heavier things of life can be set aside for a moment. You might discover that there are things you are ready to totally release.

Let go a bit. Dance and laugh and enjoy these sacred days. Soak them up!


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