Welcome! I'm guessing you are here because you are looking to build your own time of retreat and reflection!
Not everyone has the time/money/means to go on a 2 week long retreat somewhere exotic (although I did have the pleasure of going on my own 2 week long retreat in Hawaii recently!) but I believe everyone has and needs times of retreat to get re-centered and recalibrated, ready for advancement.
As an outdoorsy and active person my mind straight away went to sporting illustrations to describe the 3 circumstances in which a retreat is absolutely necessary, and they are as follows:
When a runner is preparing for a race, 1-2 weeks before said race they stop all intense training. It's called a 'taper', and it is to ensure your body is ready to give 100% on the day.
If you break your arm, or your leg during sport or exercise, the worst thing you could do is ignore it and pretend it isn't broken. What do you immediately do? You seek out help and support. You get it in a splint, in position and environment for healing. You rest and let time have its perfect process.
Seconds before their big event, at the starting line, olympic athletes use a tool called "priming". This is a technique using your breath to ensure your oxygen levels within your body are calibrated to improve alertness, reaction time and ability to perform. Essentially getting your body in a place where it is 'primed' to compete at its best.
Within those 3 analogies you can see the 3 circumstances in which a retreat is necessary.
The first one is when you are preparing for a big race in the context of 'life'. A career change, a location change, a health routine change, or a relationship change. These big shifts, changes, or 'level-ups' as I like to call them bring with them a need to retreat to ensure you are ready for that new, big, race.
The second is when there has been a break. You've suffered a shock in life, be it in the form of a broken relationship, being laid off/fired/ made redundant, you've lost a loved one, or suffered an actual physical break in health. You need time to heal, to recover, to get back into yourself and rebuild who you are in this new normal.
And the third is when you are in need of "priming" before a big event that you have been preparing for. It is getting your body and soul in a place where you are prepared, and 'primed' to show up as your best self. This could be a risky business move, a promotion talk with your boss, or having 'the talk' with someone you like!
Retreating in these examples is clearly preparation, a recalibration for advancement. It is not resignation. It is not moping in bed feeling sorry for yourself. It is not escaping mentally with Netflix, weekends out, or swiping on Tinder. For all of you 'holier than thou 's' (…me…) it is also not escaping physically (running away…) by booking a flight somewhere exotic! Because the situation will be waiting for you when you return. Retreating is taking a time of pause, with clear intention followed up with action, to remove any obstacles that could be standing in the way of you and your next step.
Retreating will be instrumental to your growth, as it will allow you to gain perspective, remember your value and vision, and build your routines of success to move forward at speed. What you will build, bring and attract in this world is less about your moments of 'hustle', and more about your moments of retreat.
There is a 'secret sauce' of such to retreating, and I talk about the 5 keys extensively in Episode 1 of the Bee Corner. But in summary, to ensure your retreat is in fact, a retreat and not an escape, these are the 5 things you must address:
Recalibrate to your vision
Review your beliefs about yourself and the world to see if they are helping or harming you
Build a routine that will help you get closer to your vision
Check your circle, and remove toxicity within and externally
Heal those wounds that you've stuffed down and suppressed, that are resulting in your current 'stuckness'
You can get more information on each of these steps on my podcast Episode "Retreat to Advance", where I go into detail about each of these points, and on Episode 2, where Karmen Tang, founder of Another Startup Story goes into detail about her own journey of retreat, and advancement.
"Get to the point Bee- how do I build my own" I can hear you say! Now I wouldn't be a good coach if I didn't give you the founding building blocks of the retreat before giving you the mechanics of it! So #sorrynotsorry for the pre-amble. But let's get into the "How" of building your own retreat. Again, I have outlined 5 steps that will help you build the retreat of your dreams, your needs, and your means!
Decide retreat length Whether you have a morning to spare or a week, you can create a time of retreat. You can find deeper connection to yourself in 4 hours if you are intentional about it. And I know everybody has at least 4 hours on the weekend where they can swap Netflix for inner nurturing! So decide the length of your retreat, and stick to that. If you have a weekend, then perfect. If you have a week, even better! But if all you have is a Sunday afternoon, then trust me this will still work with the right elements.
Set an intention It could be something you want more awareness of within, a behaviour or toxic pattern resulting from a wound that you'd like to heal, or just some time to not have to think about everything that is currently cluttering your mind. Whatever it is, set it as the intention for your retreat. It will help you with the next step in this DIY retreat. And if you can't figure out what your intention should be (i.e. don't yet know why you do the things you do, or attract the people/situations you do), then do not suffer in silence but seek help and assistance. But I'll come onto that later in the article.
Do something for the different parts of you. For your retreat to truly be a success, it must allow you to draw in and connect to all different parts of you. Body, soul and spirit. This means it must contain some form of movement, both intense "Yang" movement and resting "Yin" movement, which will allow you to tap into all different parts of you, but most importantly, help you connect to your breath, which is life. It also means it must contain an element of soul healing, and cleansing. This could include inner child healing, or breathwork (which ties in body and soul beautifully). And last but not least, you must engage your spirit. If you're not spiritual or of a religious background this may be a hard concept to understand, but in essence, your spirit is your higher self. It is the purest, realest expression of you. It is above your life wounds and experiences and it operates in ultimate love, in constant faith without fear and a deep knowing of self and purpose. Connecting to this part of you, through guided meditative time or prayer is the best antidote to an overwhelmed, fearful, uncertain or weary heart. There is a part of yourself that is completely at one with divine love, and knows you were created on purpose for a purpose. And you need to hear from that part of you during this retreat. If you'd like more ideas on things you could incorporate into your retreat that will allow you to tap into all the different parts of you then let me know as it could be its own article! But in the first instance I would encourage you to follow me on Instagram @beewhollyliving, as I speak very personally about my own retreating practices, classes, rituals and routines I use that you can make use of.
Get support where needed I mentioned this above already but it needs to be said again. Get support! Give yourself the best fighting chance of success in this retreat by seeking help from teachers, speakers, coaches, and mentors who can help add gravity to the different elements of your retreat. As I said before, if you don't yet follow me on Instagram I encourage you to as my stories show my own forms and methods of retreating that may give you ideas. But beyond me, there are a wealth of podcasts, Youtube videos, online or face to face classes and sessions you can incorporate into your retreat to get the best out of it. For example, if you are a naturally anxious person or an overthinker, do not set yourself up for failure by expecting to do 1 hour of meditation completely unguided! Find a youtube video you resonate with, and schedule it into your retreat. If you're interested in a 'listicle' with my favourite sources of podcasts, meditations, online yoga videos etc… Please let me know, I'll put one together if it is of interest!
Plan your schedule Now to the nitty gritty. Planning your time. Take the time you are giving your retreat… 4 hours, 8 hours, 16 hours … Whatever that looks like put the time at the top of the page. Divide that time by 4. Assign a 1/4 of the time to your Body, Soul, and Spirit activities. So for body, you may plan in a yoga class or a HIIT class. For soul, you may do some inner child guided meditation. For spirit you may listen to a sermon, or do some guided visualisation of your higher self. Now you have planned your activities for the time you have set aside for the 3 areas of you (as well as ample breaks!), we can get on to the 4th area which will take up that last 1/4 of time, and is arguably the most important. Integration. How are you going to make use of these lessons in a practical way in your day to day life? This is where many people get retreating wrong. They feel great during the retreat, but they forget that they will have to return to their former situation. This integration piece prevents backsliding. It prevents going back to what is comfortable and gives you a plan of action moving forward.
And a bonus as I always like to give more than what is expected…
BONUS: Implement one thing into your daily routine Now you may have a long list of things you want to change and integrate into your "new you" life, but I will urge you to pick JUST ONE. One thing that you can consistently do in the next 30 days to ingrain into your new way of living, or thinking. It might be journaling, or spending some time daily with your inner child. It might be doing some exercise every day. Or it might be that visualisation of connecting to your higher self, or meditation. Whatever it is, pick one and ONLY ONE. I know the temptation is to do everything, but think about it. Doing 1 new thing every month and incorporating 1 thing with intention every month will mean you will have built 12 new life improving habits in 1 year. And 60 in 5 years. That 60 opportunities to change your body, to build a 6 figure income, to nurture a healthy relationship! Imagine how different your life would look with those 60 opportunities for change!
That's my 5 tips! I've also put together an infographic that you can print, or save for when you are ready to create your retreat.
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