I Went To My First Urban Retreat And Here’s What Happened.

This past Saturday I participated in my first ever Urban Retreat hosted by Samara Zelniker (@MindfulnessMatters) and Marlie Cohen (@kale_and_crunches).  I’ve never done anything like this before.  I mean sure, I practice yoga, have taken my fair share of Epsom slat baths to unwind, and when I’m really stressed I’ll pull out my MUSE and practice meditation.  But I’ve never taken a full day, a day dedicated to my own self-care.  It just sounds so overly indulgent, right?  It was a described as a day to “reboot, reawaken, reset, re-inspire, and revitalize”, all of which sounded so appealing for a whole host of reasons that I’ll spare you the details of.  The day included yoga, a couple of coaching sessions, a sound bath (totally worth checking out if you’ve never heard of it), and a toning session that left my abs screaming.  Read on to find out what really happened.

 

I’m Good Company

I learned it was nice, even refreshing, to be alone.  This wasn’t intentional, more the result of friends having their own lives and not being available.  Normally, going solo into an unfamiliar group setting would be rather anxiety provoking for me, but it was probably one of the best things that could have happened.  It allowed me to completely immerse myself in the experience without being distracted by anyone else.  There was no one to entertain or worry about them having a good time.  This in turn allowed for deeper reflection and thoughts, and overall quieter moments.

 

Listen to Your Body - Don’t Put Self-Care Off

I learned that I needed this time more then I realized.  Generally, physical activity, like lifting weights or getting a good sweat on through a CrossFit class is my typical go to for stress relief.  But there was something about forcing myself to be still, reflecting, and mentally detoxing uninterrupted in a way that I don’t often have time for (more like, I don’t often MAKE time for) that was so rejuvenating.  It allowed me the opportunity to better organize my thoughts and plan.

The Freedom of Disconnecting

I learned that disconnecting and going ‘off the grid’ for a day was easier than I thought it would be.  I hate to admit it, but my phone is my lifeline.  I use it to stay organized, make lists, stay in touch with family, plan with friends, connect with my clients, it’s my navigator (thank goodness for google maps, right?!), calendar, and even my alarm clock.  Okay, when I list it all out like this my insides kinda clench!  We’re so tied to our devices, so enmeshed in this society of instant responses and 24/7 availability that we rarely turn off.  My phone was in a locker all day, except to take a few photos at the end, and you know what?  I survived!  In fact, it felt downright freeing!  I took the time to disconnect in order to reconnect with myself, and it was worth every second.

 

Community Is Important

I learned that connecting within a community of like-minded individuals is powerful.  I went to this retreat feeling somewhat burned out, like I’d been running on empty for more than an few weeks now.  Life is full and I know it’s not just my life that’s full.  I hear it time and time again from so many of my clients but we all just push through, sometimes right up to the point where our bodies begin to breakdown and we’re stopped in our tracks.  Been there, done that, don’t ever want to do it again.  Sitting among all these brave and courageous women, I listened as each and every woman in the room, twenty in all, echoed exactly what I’d been feeling or some version close to it.  It was somehow such a relief to know that it wasn’t just me!  In this space we were able to validate and support one another, and that was worth it’s weight in gold.  I was again reminded that you don’t have to look far; there are so many inspiring women out there and we need to continue to encourage and uplift one another.

 

Mindfulness Meditation Take Practice but It’s Oh So Worth It!

I learned that fueling the mind and nourishing the soul are equally as important as fueling our bodies.  We started the day with an hour mediation.  I know, I know.  How do you even sit still for that long, let alone quietly with your thoughts, right?!  Let me tell you, it wasn’t always easy.  Although the amazing vegan leather meditation seats provided by the Mindset Brain Gym certainly kept my backside comfy, I found myself multiple times having to gently bring my thoughts back to the present.  Prior to this, the longest meditation I’d ever completed was 15 minutes, and that was an incredible feat in my books.  But mindfulness meditation takes practice.  That’s sort of the point.  I was reminded of the need to be patient and understanding with myself throughout this exercise.  And you know what?  I must admit; the hour flew by, I felt a greater sense of calm, focus and energy by the time we finished.  So much so that I’ve committed to practicing daily.

 

I’d Do It All Over Again!

Overall this day reminded me that genuine connection and relationship building is what life is all about.  I was reminded again that living life from behind our screens, worrying about the number of followers or likes we receive, pales in comparison to the human connection made when we’re fully present and in the moment with those around us.  There are some incredible people out there and at the heart of it, they’re all just wanting to connect with others in someway.  I was also again reminded that when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and past our (often irrational) fears, that’s usually where the magic happens!  I would encourage you all to do one small thing today that scares you.  You might just be pleasantly surprised by the result 🙂

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