I recently went on a seven day retreat in the south of England. Going on retreat is one of my favourite things to do. In fact, most registered Mindfulness teachers are required to attend at least one week-long retreat per year in order to deepen their own practice and become better teachers.

It occurred to me that sometimes we need to retreat in order to move forward. This is a little bit like what has happened for many of us during the pandemic. We’ve had an enforced time of quiet and reflection. For some this has been more comfortable than for others.

Going on a retreat isn’t always a comfortable experience. Spending several hours a day in meditation throws up all sorts of thoughts and feelings, including sometimes highlighting deeply engrained patterns of behaviours that we don’t always feel best proud of. However, it also gives us space to work towards changing some of those stuck behaviours should we choose to. And (thankfully!) it also tends to highlight the things that bring us the most joy in our lives – which we can also choose to spend more time on after the retreat is over.

Similarly, our mindfulness practice can help us to ‘retreat’ in a small way each day. It’s not always a comfortable experience, but those few moments of stillness are a way for us to gain some perspective and move forward into our day in a slightly calmer, more reflective state of mind. Overall, I have always found that retreating for a while – whether that be for a week or just for a few minutes, helps me to come out the other side feeling slightly lighter and more refreshed.

Caroline x