As explored in the previous two posts*, we need regular reminders in order to remain on track with the life we prefer to lead and the person we wish to be. Those reminders can be simple instructions; or they can take the form of retreats, where we immerse ourselves in our lifestyle of choice and gain some momentum to take back with us into our regular lives.
This summer, together with a good friend of mine, Marcus Nelson, I will be running a weekend retreat called Outside & Inside. The overarching theme of the retreat is about equipping yourself to be strong on the outside and the inside. Resilience helps when life gets challenging; and there is a lot we can do for ourselves without wearing ourselves out. There is physical strength, of course, but also mental and emotional strength – all of which can be fortified with a collection of effective procedures which allow us to deal with situations that might otherwise knock us off balance.
The key is incremental progress. Therefore, patience and discipline are both necessary, but there are other aspects such as clarity and intention, as well as non-attachment, which are perhaps easier to practise and will make an equally big difference to the process.
It is billed as an intensive weekend because we will fill the time we have with as much learning and insight as we can so that you can maximise the opportunity to take as much as possible from the experience. There will be early mornings, but the idea is to foster a sense of appreciation rather than dread, and to demonstrate what is possible with a little more focus on yourself.
It will be a wholesome weekend; one where you get the right amount of rest, fresh air, and nourishment, because those, too, are strength-giving elements of a healthy lifestyle. We will also have fun along the way. Laughter is the best medicine, and the best way to learn is to have fun; so our aim is that you enjoy yourself, whilst also finding the inspiration to forge new paths through life.
You may well leave at the end with the feeling that you have a lot to think about and a number of changes to implement in your life. That is an understandable aspect of such retreats because of their intensity, but that does not mean that you should dive in headfirst and implement everything all at once. Which is where two other important aspects of the work come in: observation and the ability to relax.
As you will learn during the weekend, the act of observation alone has the power to change everything. That means that even if you ‘only’ observe yourself repeating old habits, you will nonetheless be making progress. And the ability to relax when you really need to is vital to an effective life. Therefore, even though the retreat may be an intensive few days, you will leave with fresh motivation and commitment, some simple routines and procedures to help you each day, and you will know a little more about how you can relax with yourself, your world, and your life.