This week I can’t get the idea of running a retreat out of my mind. I’ve always wanted to be running retreats but this week it feels different, less of an ephemeral idea and more of a reality in the making.
In the past the idea of running a retreat was all about offering opportunities for intensive inner work and wellbeing skills development. This week though, perhaps because of where my health is right now, my vision has been much more about creating a place of peace, rest and togetherness.
I thought I’d describe how I see it going as the first step to creating it. If something like this appeals to you, I’d love your input on some of the details so I’ve created a short survey for your views.
I’m thinking about a small intimate group of about 5 or 6 people (max 8 including me). We could stay in a large comfortable house/ cottage/ cabin in a natural setting, (in the UK for now) where everybody could have their own room preferably with ensuite bathrooms (although there could be a sharing option if budget is a consideration).
I’d be happy to cater for 6 people (max 8) with a little help from attendees in the kitchen. I’m a great cook and I love nurturing others with my cooking. We’d eat gluten free, sugar free, lactose free, healthy vegetarian food and I could take any additional food intolerances into consideration. Before each meal, we’d practise a brief ritual to engage our digest response and get the most out of what we’re eating. Meals will be scheduled between the hours of 10 and 7 to offer opportunities for a 15 hour gut rest.
More than anything though I want this retreat to be an opportunity to be really healthy, but not a pressure, so I would want people to feel free to bring their own snacks and eat outside of the meal times if that would suit them better or make it a more enjoyable experience.
If anybody who wanted to attend wasn’t well enough to contribute to helping in the kitchen, we will all employ an attitude of caring and looking after each other.
There will be a lot of quiet time during the retreat. In fact, the general rule will be quiet with only set times for talking, like mealtimes, particular (voluntary) activities or when meeting outside. There will be no rules against any kind of entertainment only that you bring earphones and enjoy it from the comfort of your own room. Although perhaps we could have one movie night and watch an inspiring uplifting film together.
I will start my day with tai chi and invite you to take part in any part of it you feel like. Followed by a guided meditation. I had a cunning plan that I could pre-record all the meditations and transmit them through zoom, so if you wanted to take part from the comfort of your bed you could do so. (You might want to bring a device with a good data allowance just in case the wifi isn’t strong enough.)
There would also be guided meditations to take part in late morning and after dinner, one of which will be a group healing meditation.
Each day we could have a different focus, around the theme of peace, rest and togetherness . We could have a short check in/ support session around the theme scheduled into the day
There may also be opportunities to practise a very gentle yoga routine, and energy exercises.
I’ve had other ideas for healing activities too, all of which would be optional, but the main focus will be on rest and recuperation, rather than personal development. I’m even considering naming it ‘The art of rest and recuperation retreat’. There could also be time to go out and do your own thing if you are well enough to do so.
What do you think? Does this appeal to you? I’m happy to make it happen if enough people are interested. If you’re interested please give me your feedback in this survey. In the future, when my health is better, I have plans of other retreats, perhaps in more exotic locations with perhaps a little more personal development, so if something like that appeals to you more, could you also fill out the questionnaire. Many thanks for your input. I hope to meet you soon to rest and recuperate together.