Now Project retreats are not about running from the world; in fact they are the very opposite. On retreat we engage fully with the world in the present moment and it is from this place of presence that we open ourselves up for insights arise.
We start our retreats getting to know one another and getting an understanding of what has brought our guests to our cosy retreat home in the Suffolk countryside. Each weekend brings us a diverse group from all walks of life. Some arrive with real struggles that they are looking to overcome, others are simply curious to know more about Mindfulness and meditation and then we have a good few who really don’t know why they find themselves in a room of strangers on retreat!
And this is the great thing about our retreats, there is no tick list of reasons as to why you might benefit from a weekend in the woods with us! But by the end of the weekend there’s a good chance you’ll know why you came.
Let me share with you my personal experience of going on my first retreat. Back in early 2013 I met Adrian and he was working with me on a 1 to 1 basis, helping me overcome an addiction and the underlying causes of my destructive behaviour. He mentioned that I might enjoy coming on retreat and since the work we were doing was having such a profound affect on my life I didn’t have cause to doubt his recommendation. So I booked myself on a retreat for later that Summer. As the weekend approached I was excited and nervous; this was the first time I’d done anything like this and I didn’t know anyone apart from Adrian (and I’d only ever met him via Skype!) so this was me stepping well out of my comfort zone… and doing so clean and sober!
I arrived on the Friday feeling a little like a lost child to be honest, however it took hardly any time at all for me to feel ok about being there. The warmth of the team, including Jason’s beaming smile, Paul’s calming presence and the sense of safety within their care settled me so that I could start to really open up. Not once did I feel vulnerable in letting my mask drop. It was so refreshing to be able to just be truly authentic. Every talk Adrian gave spoke volumes, every interaction with the team and the other guests had something to offer me. I think over the course of the weekend I experienced every emotion going as I was given the space and safety to explore what is within me. I cried like a wailing banshee and laughed like laughing buddha! It challenged me, it softened me, it stirred the very essence of my being and by the time I left on Sunday I felt so much love for life and it was to be the first of many retreats!
Now I work on our retreats as part of our fantastic team and I get to witness first hand the power of Mindfulness and meditation. When someone arrives on Friday nervous, scared even, and in a place of real suffering and then over the course of the weekend I watch the weight of the world being lifted from their shoulders it is a real honour. In the same way it is to see those guests who arrive simply because they are curious leave on Sunday learning something far more profound than they could ever have anticipated.
Our retreats give you a chance to learn a better way of living, to take home Mindfulness ‘tools’ to help you along the way. They aren’t about intellectual understanding but are experiential – we hold a mindful space for you to explore what living mindfully can offer.
So part from the fact that the food is great, the location is idyllic and the company is pretty good too I would say that going on retreat can be truly life changing and we have hundred’s of guests that would agree.
All that’s required to get the most out of a retreat is an open mind (although a good dollop of a sense of humour and fun will help too!).