As I write this we are coming to the end of our very popular summer retreats (don't worry if you missed them, we are looking at doing some winter ones too and we do have 1 left - see our Retreats page)
It's always amazed me the different types of people that turn up, a real broad spectrum of personalities that you wouldn't think would be in the same place, let alone at a Mindfulness retreat. Now that alone is fascinating, but these brave souls also don't really understand why they're here either, sure they'll tell you that it's for stress or anxiety or some problem they think they have, but what normally happens is that by the second day once their mind has had a break from all that stuff it begins to quieten down - they start to see the bigger picture and that perhaps it isn't the current story going on in their heads that's the problem. That is the beauty of retreats, it gives us the space to see what's really happening in our lives and our own mind; that coupled with the trust we build together over the weekend allows people to have some amazing realisations that can be the catalyst for real change.
Now this is the thing about retreats that some people may misunderstand, it's not about retreating from the world it's about fully engaging in the world. It's now good if you have some realisations on the weekend but fall apart as soon as you get home, this is about lasting change. Of course it's easy when you're in that environment, just being held in that space is healing, but to have had that experience for 3 days or more you can't really ever go back. Sure you'll get lost again and that's perfectly normal but something deep inside you has been awoken, you couldn't stay in that intense embrace if you weren't ready. The funny thing is the people who are struggling the most Friday night are generally the ones who, when Sunday comes around, don't want to leave. More than once I've had them come up to me and ask if we can make it a week long retreat!
I believe we are in a crucial part of earths history because if we don't wake up and take our power back I don't think the human race can survive for long the way it's going. I for one, and all of us here at The Now Project, have been seeing real change in the people we have met in the last few years; especially the young people who are waking up to themselves – they are going to be the change that this world needs. So these kinds of vehicles for transformation are extremely important and every year we hold our retreats the energy just keeps getting stronger and the people more aware and mindful, even though some of them don't even know what mindfulness is about!
So please if you are thinking about a retreat or similar just go with it, you won't be disappointed to have invested the time in yourself it may even change your life, it did mine.