Is now the time? There are several reasons to go on retreat this year.
The almost universal teaching of spiritual retreats, and even many luxurious destination resorts, is to come into the present moment—to come into the now. One of the goals of the retreat is to bring that present home. And that’s all good. We all get it.
But between the here and now is the big question: Do we actually go now? Does our current present involve a retreat, or is coming into the now something that we plan to do someday? Is now the time? No one can answer that question for you. But here is some fodder for your consideration.
1. You’re a caregiver, and you truly believe you can’t go anywhere. Breathe into that thought and consider that it may be killing you and ultimately doing no good for the person you care for. We all need balance—and you need a break. Spread the word for help that will allow you time and space to nourish yourself so that you can continue to do the good you are doing. It’s time for you to put your wellness first.
2. You’re feeling so stiff and lethargic that you dread your weekly yoga class. If touching your toes requires crouching down and lifting one of them toward your fingers, it’s time to stretch your body and mind. Think on the bright side: You’ll have no problem cramming yourself into a tiny airplane seat. At the end of a good yoga retreat, you’ll be limber enough to make the return trip unharmed.
3. Are the photographs of your last retreat or vacation on an earlier cell phone? If you had to update your photos to have them on your current device, chances are you need a personal upgrade—now.
4. You are fully convinced that whatever pole you inhabit on the political sphere is the place of the righteous. You need to go … now. A truly great retreat will open you to nonjudgmental thinking, by force if necessary. Think of a deep-tissue massage as breaking the boundaries for more fluid and open thinking. You’ll also be more fun at dinner parties.
5. You’ve forgotten the world is actually a place of hope and beauty. No matter how lovely or forlorn your own living situation, sometimes you need to be reawakened to beauty through someone else’s eyes. That’s often what retreats do best—a group of slightly lost souls come together and realize, once again, that life is in fact wonderful—and that we are all agents of change for a better world.
6. Your diet is stuck in a rut, and you can’t imagine cooking and/or eating the same old, same old. The goal of a great retreat should not be direct weight loss—even if you believe that’s what you truly need. Contemporary retreat cuisine is often as delicious as it is healthy. And better than any restaurant, the retreat is likely to help you take that cooking home. There are typically cooking classes, nutrition classes, and even gardens on-site. What a retreat can do is shift your relationship toward food and teach you new skills.
7. You’ve never been on one. There are myriad choices to choose from, and with infinite teachers, practices, and promises. Just choosing one may be a step outside your comfort zone—but take a bigger step and choose a curriculum that suggests a challenge for you. Let your best self make the call.
+ 7 Reasons Not to Go
1. You’ve already achieved enlightenment and want to share.
2. You enjoy wallowing in your misery and want to share.
3. You plan to buy the retreat center for corporate wellness and shut down the hot springs.
4. You believe that expressing and preserving your personal rights is more important than protecting the safety of those around you.
5. Your previous retreat relationships are already legendary among the staff.
6. Your retreat is an escape to avoid therapy.
7. You really don’t want to change.