And just like that my retreat has ended. Looking back from about one month ago, I can say that it has been one of the most profound experiences I have had in my life, next to walking on burning hot goals at Tony Robbin’s UPW event. Despite a few distractions. I’d say my biggest take aways was learning to enjoy the solitude and hearing my true self more clearly and letting things unfold the way they did. I went with a very structured approach which ended up not lasting long and going with the flow. It is within the small shifts that matter.
I began my retreat Friday evening on my last day of work. I decided to check into a boutique hotel. I really love the beach and so I chose the place I got married at – The Shade Hotel, Manhattan Beach CA. It was a last minute trip so I decided to keep it local. It’s a small hotel with 38 rooms. What I didn’t anticipate though was the noise level that can get pretty high as the lounge turns to a club at night, and the hotel joins a busy shopping plaza. I don’t know how I forgot all about that. Anyways, I made the best of it. With journals, books, posters and markers, and IPad in hand it was going to be awesome not matter what. I didn’t do any work that evening. I just relaxed. I’m not going to lie, not being on my phone or turning the TV on gave me a bit of anxiety. But slowly I eased into reading the beautiful fashion magazines the hotel provided and a book I brought. I started off with an Epsom salt bath which followed with a 2.5hr massage. I ordered room service for dinner and called it a night.
It is expected to feel a bit groggy and a bit sore the day after a deep massage. I slept in a bit. I ate a light breakfast and sipped my decaf coffee down by the beach. I returned to my hotel room and then got to work. I quarantined myself in my hotel room for the first half of the day. My coach gave me a few guidelines on how to run your own self retreat. I went with “The Life Planning Retreat Guide” by Ron Davis. It was split up in 5 modules that was designed to be completed in about 8 hours. Everyone is different and you may go over as you process all the questions, reflect and journal. It was not at all what I expected when I first read- Module one: Your Eulogy. My first thoughts were,” Holy crap, that was grim! Seriously? Attend my own funeral!?”. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue because it was making me uncomfortable. But hey, I expected that a self-retreat of this kind will stir up some kind of discomfort within me. So I just went with it. This section was the most eye opening and emotional. I felt that it was the most needed because it is how you connect to your mortality. I’ve done a version of this assignment but it didn’t take you that deep. I was so exhausted after this first module. Probably from all the crying and releasing that went on. I needed a nap! And so I napped and just rested.
The following modules that followed were not as intense. For me anyways. These are the kind of questions that racked your brain and allowed you to DREAM:
Module 2: Your Groundhog Day – What if you were to live just one day over and over again?
Module 3: Your Bucket List – What do you want to do before you die?
Module 4: Your Contribution – How do you want to be of impact to the world?
Module 5: Your Goals – Goal setting strategies
I averaged about 1.5 hour for each module. With 10 minute breaks for every 1hr time block. Those breaks were so needed to help clear my mind and process my emotions. I took about 45min for lunch after Module 2 and escaped for some fresh air and sunshine at the Sky Deck Lounge – the hotel rooftop pool area. Luckily I had the lounge all to myself and it was beautiful out because It had just rained in the morning. Sunny and clear skies. When I completed the work I celebrated with a walk down the beach, just in time to savour the sunset. It has been one of my rituals to witness a sunset each night when possible. I schedule time for either a meditative walk or run.
Time stood still. I just sat there, thinking, and reflecting of how beautiful my life is and reaffirms to me how I create it moment to moment. Feelings of gratitude washed over me. And I smiled in content for I know where I am and I know where I am going. I know my truth. I picked up some sushi for dinner. Ate in my room and finished off with some goal setting exercises. I wrote all of my goals on a large poster board. I still have to break it down further but that will be for another day.
As I checked out on my last day, I was feeling at peace and incredibly tired. I had brunch with my husband, went home and vegged out the rest of the day. The next few days that followed I was still coming down from the highs and lows of my self retreat as well as the excitement and anticipation of launching my running group on the weekend after. This retreat was so needed and quite the experience into looking within my own self. I look forward to the next one! I’ll be shooting for a private residence, in a small quiet beach town for at least 4 days. I plan to do annually if not bi-annually. If anyone is curious about doing a self retreat, I encourage you to give it a go. There’s nothing more eye opening than listening to your own divine wisdom. I promise you will learn something new about yourself if not discover what has always been nudging you all along. For me it was starting my mindfulness running program for women. It wrapped up last week. I am feeling honored and blessed to hold space for these women. This is my gift. I am excited to grow more and be more for others.