Why A Retreat?
As we made our way up the slick foothills of the Himalayas, blindly following the sherpas through the mist, skirting treacherous cliffs and precipices, it occurred to me that without their guidance we would probably not survive. We were a diverse group of characters who had come together in order to challenge ourselves, to learn and grow. I guess as a solitary journey it would have had value, but as a shared experience it brought us unexpected gifts and support.
We felt accountable to each other and gave each other great encouragement, even when the tasks at hand seemed impossible: crossing a 10,000 foot abyss through a narrow path on a swayback mule that was cranky at best and not at all sure-footed. Alone, this might have been a misery, but as a shared experience we felt excited to watch each of us step up.
The emotional work was as challenging: we determined to each face the obstacles in our lives standing in the way of getting what we want, and while there was definitely confrontation, there were equal amounts of support. We each had stakes in the others' success and when one broke through we all shared that breakthrough as our own. The learning, the wisdom and the victories were that much sweeter as each of us confronted ourselves and transformed in the work.
On our own, it is easy to avoid what we don't care to see or confront, but as a collective it gave us courage and a real sense that we could do it, that we could make those changes. I remember a particularly timid middle-aged woman who had never taken a stand in her life suddenly rising up as the formidable spirit that she actually is, and the joy this brought to the entire group. She changed before our very eyes, and never went back to that timid being. Because she broke through, we all won, and it encouraged every one of us to face our demons and fight harder to become who we could be.
With caring eyes on each of us, our greatness, our capacity was seen and called out, giving us tremendous permission to step into the "new" selfves we'd longed to be. We celebrated each other and ourselves with every new change. Not only did we transform, but we had witnesses to that transformation, people that we were accountable to, and to help to maintain the changes. We experienced an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this support and vision and encouragement. We looked forward to the changes that each of us asked for and we each gained momentum with every onenew change. We wanted to grow for each other and for ourselves and it became so much easier to confront ourselves with the camaraderie that was formed.
We go to beautiful and exotic places in order to challenge ourselves to become who we most want to be, and this formula has worked beautifully for us. Knowing we are supported and celebrated, knowing that we are accountable to each other and knowing that others' care about our growth has been incredibly encouraging. Take the opportunity to take the time out of your life to focus on you, your goals and your dreams. If not now, when? You'll never regret it and you will make changes that last a lifetime.