Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why Do I Lead Retreats?

Driving back from a yoga class this morning, Stephen Cope’s quote flitted across my mind:  “Retreats don’t change our lives as much as they change where we stand in relationship to our lives—and our capacity to see the hidden possibilities there.”  (Stephen Cope, MSW, is the director of Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living)

As I prepare to head to Esalen—the mystical, infamous, world-renowned retreat center in Big Sur where my mom used to hang out in the 70's when we lived in Northern California (read more)-- I reflected on why I lead retreats. Really. Honestly. What is my drive for dropping everything and heading off to hard-to-reach spots on the east and west coast to help others reconnect with themselves and hear what their lives—and inner teachers—have been trying to tell them for weeks, months or sometimes years?

There are a lot of reasons I do this work, but one of the biggest is because I believe taking retreats should be as essential to our life as breathing. Or getting our car’s oil changed. Or going to the eye doctor. (Read more.)

I loved sitting with this question and as I reflected, I got clear that I lead retreats because:
  • they provide attendees with a 30,000 foot perspective—and the opportunity to see their life through a fresh lens
  • for many, slowing down enough to hear their inner wisdom can be—and often is-- life changing
  • they validate, affirm and remind the participants that they’re not alone, we’re wired to be interdependent and receiving support is essential to our emotional health
  • it is inspiring and moving to see how blown away women are when they engage in and observe the power of women’s circles
  • I love holding “space” for participants in way that makes it possible for them to hear what they MOST need to hear
  • I love experiential teaching (I recently discovered that this is how I learn best) and when I’m doing this, I'm in flow, in my zone and doing what I'm truly here to do
  • I get the chance to deeply connect to and follow my intuition—so much so that I’m prepared to scrap my whole retreat schedule and take a totally different route-- if guided to do so in the moment
  • I get to share the powerful, life-changing practice of self-care—a spiritual path that has radically and profoundly affected me, my family, my relationships and my career on every level
This evening while visiting with my neighbor over dinner, I told her I have a strong hunch that this upcoming retreat may bring many revelations and unexpected gifts that could impact my life for years to come.

I believe there are no mistakes—-particularly when you gather a group that has traveled from far away spots to be together--and I’m relishing this opportunity to venture into the unknown and to see what awaits me. And what awaits the women who will be joining me.

Invitation: I'd love to have you join me April 27-29 at Esalen in Big Sur, CA or June 22-24 at Kripalu in the MA Berkshire mountains. The retreats are almost full; learn more here.

P.S. In honor of Mother's Day, we're giving away a Yummy Mummy Year-of-Self-Care package, which includes an all expenses paid trip to my Kripalu retreat (a $2500 value). Learn more.

I love to hear from, connect with and meet The Journey readers at our events. I invite you to:
  • Find Your Tribe: Join or become trained to lead Personal Renewal Groups for women
  • Attend a retreat/event including my April 27-29 Esalen, June 8th Empowered Entrepreneur and June 22-24 Kripalu retreat;check out all upcoming events
  • Learn about Live Inside Out and receive weekly inspiration on our Live Inside Out Facebook Community
  • Pick up my life balance title The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal from the library or buy it here
  • Read past issues of my Life Balance newsletter
  • Take Action: Contact one of our career or life balance coaches for 1-on-1 support; receive an initial complimentary consultation
  • Empower Others: Schedule Renee for a private workshop or retreat for your company or organization
  • I Choose Love PSA: a reminder that when we come from love--one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet--we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we're really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more.
Subscribe to The Journey, a weekly blog about coach/author/entrepreneur ReneeTrudeau’s personal journey to creating balance from the inside out. 

Photo: (above, by Sara Bogan) A beautiful mother and daughter who attended one of our Kripalu retreats last year. (Below): the view from the front lawn at Kripalu Yoga & Wellness Center in June.

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