Women are taking MORE RETREATS!
Ask a girlfriend what they are doing for vacation, and you are likely to be immediately corrected. They are not going on vacation this year! This year they are off to take a retreat – and often it is an all women’s retreat. This is especially likely if your girlfriend is close to, or over 40 years old. Perhaps women in this age group are particularly attracted to retreat experiences because they are finally in a place where they can re-examine their lives. And many of them are wanting a change.
It could be that they are considering what is next in their career, or be complete with having or not having children. In early mid-life, relationships and jobs can shift and now, a retreat can be a path to something new during a time of transition.
The reality is that our world can be very challenging for women. With feminism under our belt, we are determined to be educated, professionally and personally successful, sexy, and available to everyone in our lives. I don’t know a single woman who has taken herself off the hook for “doing it all”. If we ever stop to catch our breath and look around, we may find ourselves in a place where we can question it all. And that is often when we become women who retreat into retreats.
Most people consider a vacation a luxury a time for mindless play. Perhaps that is why the retreat is becoming fashionable among women. While they want to some play and relaxation, these women are on a mission to find something bigger in their own lives. And though retreats can be pricy, for many women, taking a retreat is not considered a luxury item. Instead retreat taking has become a part of their ritual self care; carefully scheduled into their yearly calender.
When I have asked women why they are choosing retreats over traditional vacations, they tell me that they are feeling a need to step out of their everyday lives and come to a place where they can learn to feel free to expand their bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits. Some want to taking chances and move out of their comfort zone in a safe, guided enviroment. Many women are seeking the Divine within themselves and often each other. They are using their vacation time to explore some aspect of themselves that may have remained unexplored before coming to an understanding of what a women’s retreat can do for them.
Retreats are about going deeper, and creates an opportunity for us to explore new ways of being and to consider changes we might want to bring into our lives. When women go on retreat they are often seeking a new perspective.
Sure, we can get some of this while on vacation, perhaps even at Disneyland, but the intentional questing retreat holds a different purpose in the lives of women. When women go on retreat they are making a statement about investing in themselves. Women are retreating to places that often support them in places of questioning their life’s purpose, or an aspect of their life – like their sexuality, spirituality or wellness. Some go on retreat to get a fresh view on their career paths, let go of habits or self limiting beliefs or even seeking answers to heal life’s challenges.
Women are retreating for so many reasons, but the upswing in women taking retreats is certainly a sign that we are finally learning to give back to ourselves in real and meaningful ways. – Psychology Today
As women, we’re still trying to do it all. We’re focused on getting an education, being successful in our chosen occupations, and staying healthy while doing it. We want to be good moms and good wives, and we want to continue helping take care of our parents. All of this can leave us feeling spent and drained, to the point where we need more than just a few days off—we need a way to recharge.
Many of us at midlife are also looking for answers. We’re not sure we want to continue in the same way as we have for the last twenty years. We may want to make some changes, but we’re not sure exactly what to change.
“A woman’s spiritual retreat is a type of pilgrimage,” a sacred journey that you take when you need to get away from daily stresses, and at the same time, have a deep yearning of self discovery and desire for greater awareness and connection to our Source.”
Here are a few reasons why you may need a retreat, and soon.
- Self Care: We’re slowly getting the message that when we’re spent and burned out, we’re no good to anyone. A retreat can be very restorative, and leave you ready to be your old self again—which may be a great blessing to those around you!
- Healing: Many people had a rough year in 2012. Natural disasters, economical difficulties, crime, illnesses, and more were part of our lives, and most of us didn’t have time to step back and process it all. A retreat can help you do this. Particularly if you’ve come through a difficult personal experience like a death or divorce, a retreat may be just what you need to process those difficult feelings.
- Spiritual Renewal: Women, particularly, like feeling connected to something beyond themselves. Exploring and deepening your relationship to nature and God (or your chosen spiritual source) can bring you some much-needed peace.
- Finding Purpose: There may be times in your life when you feel like you’re out of step with your purpose. Maybe you thought you were fulfilling it for the last decade, but now you’re feeling the nagging intuition that it’s time for something to change. A retreat gives you the peace and quiet you need to really explore your feelings and get to the core of the changes you need to make.
- Female Connections: Even if you regularly spend time with your girlfriends, a retreat offers a unique opportunity to connect with other like-minded women. The activities are different from the norm, which I find encourages deeper conversations and faster bonding. The connections you make at retreats can sustain you in a unique way.
- Experience Something New: A retreat gives you the excuse to try something different, to step out of your comfort zone and experience yourself in a new way. You see new things, experience new ways of living, and give yourself options for how you may want to make changes when you get back home. Maybe you want to incorporate more medication into your daily life, for example, or schedule a regular massage a couple times a month? In other words, a retreat can get you out of a rut.
- Connect to What We Love: When was the last time you really felt an inner sense of joy? When did you delight to wake up just because you loved being alive? A retreat where you spend time in a beautiful outdoor setting, use your body in new and refreshing ways, and please your senses in ways you usually don’t have time for, can open your heart up to the joy in your life once again.
If you’re reading this blog and nodding your head in agreement you might be in need of a retreat!