There is something very special about the experience of being on retreat with a group of women. For the past several years, I have been both leading and going on a variety of retreats. The ones solely for women have always been the most moving and fruitful. When I look back on my experiences, there are six benefits that immediately come to mind. Sisterhood: “A sister is one who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.” (unknown) Women intuitively understand each other. We share so many similar experiences that we naturally empathize with one another. No explanation is necessary. When on retreat together, this bond becomes so clear and its richness so healing. We come as strangers and leave as sisters. Self-care: “Those who don’t love themselves don’t know what love is.” (Unknown) Women are the primary nurturers of the world. Our ultimate challenge is to direct all that loving, nurturing, compassionate qualities upon ourselves. Going on a retreat is a declaration that self care is no longer perceived as selfish but is instead a necessity. Our well being is a pre-requisite for the well being of all those around us. Solitude: “Be the ever alert guardian of your inner space.” (Unknown) The word alone’ comes from the Greek “All One.” To know your true self, you must spend quality time with your self. This requires stepping away from familiar relationships and environments. Going on retreat creates the space to reconnect with your core being. Spirituality: “Be the environmentalist of your own soul conserve and reclaim the innate capacities with which you were born.” (Unknown) To me this is the ongoing process of life and the very essence of a retreat. To heal one’s self from the inside out is a spiritual journey. A group of women retreating together create a safe harbor to rest, replenish, and renew their commitment to this path. Silence: “Your life is always talking to you – are you listening?” (Unknown) A woman needs to step away from the outer cacophony of voices to hear her own innate wisdom. She needs the time and space to know the sound of her own voice, to speak it, and then choose to honor it. Taking the time on retreat to sit quietly in nature and write in your journal is a wonderful way to listen to your heart.
Senses: “A bird knows the sky without knowledge.” (Unknown) We all perceive the world differently. By retreating to a beautiful location and feasting on the senses, we can rediscover our unique way of interacting with the universe. A retreat is about nurturing all the senses and allowing the sixth sense of intuition to gain strength in this fertile environment.
Sisterhood, self care, solitude, spirituality, silence, and feasting on your senses, doesn’t is sound glorious! You deserve all of it! Gift yourself with 1/2 hour a day to immerse yourself in just one of these essential benefits of a woman’s retreat. Commit to spend one day a month in one of your favorite places. Join or create a women’s circle that focuses on self nurturance and growth. Sign up for a retreat this year. You will be a better woman for it. And the more fulfilled women there are in the world, the better place it will be for all of humanity.
Copyright (c) 2007 Karin Marcus