Last weekend I had the privilege of taking my 15th group away on a weekend retreat to the beautiful Boghill Centre in Kilfenora in Co. Clare. Returning to the centre is like coming home for me, it is a place of warmth, comfort, peace and we are always welcomed with a warm embrace and nurtured by the surroundings and fabulous food all weekend.
The theme for the retreat was deepening your connection to self and spirit, a theme that I was inspired to create seeing the amount of people who attend my client clinics or meditation groups and workshops who seem to have lost a sense of connection not only to themselves, but also to their surroundings and that includes the people they share it with. This also includes myself. We believe we are deeply connected as we move through life as such a fast pace, but it is only when we stop and listen, do we realise how far removed we are from truly understanding all that we are thinking and feeling. When you become more self-aware, you start to realise that you are not truly connected at all. We may have lost our sense of purpose, unable to feel a passion for what we are doing and life just seems to carry us along with no feeling of us being the creators of our destinies.
I feel that we are being guided more and more to reconnecting to our true selves, who we are now and learning to accept the present moment without judgement and learning to change the things we do not like one step at a time. But first we must sit and listen to our inner voice and what it is trying to tell us. This weekend allowed space and time for myself and the group to do just that, through meditation, mindful practices and also support work in the group.
When we allow ourselves to be immersed in the richness of the energy of any group, we start to open up and resonate with what others are feeling, it brings out so many feelings that when in a safe environment, that vulnerability is a strength in connection between our hearts and minds. Together we find solace in knowing that we are not alone in our fears and worries, our past traumas are familiar to others too, there is no shame in speaking your truth. In fact once you open up to your own truth, there is a freedom in energy that is palpable, others respond to you and a healing takes place that there are no words for, it is felt and seen by each person on a deeper level than ever before. Tears fall slowly down the cheeks, your breathing changes and you feel within the pit of your stomach a stirring that is rising to the surface, you are finally allowing yourself to break free from the restraints you had bound yourself to for far too long. It may have felt like you were keeping yourself safe and protecting yourself from what you most feared, but in fact you were only keeping it locked inside to grow bigger and stronger, believing that if you didn't look at it, feel it or understand it, it would just disappear. Only when we face our biggest fear, learn to befriend it and learn from it will be free of it. This is our truth, to reveal ourselves flaws and all, this is where our power lies in creating change within ourselves and others. When we truly connect to life, we connect to the wholeness of our spirit.
This is when the true transformation takes place. You may think that one weekend couldn't possible help anyone with a life filled with pain and hurt but I have seen the biggest changes to people's mindsets within one single session of deep connection to self. Sometimes we are unaware of what the root cause of our issues may be and with support, you can get to the bottom of anything, but it has to be a choice made by the individual in that they want to create a change in their own life as they know there is so much else they have to offer the world. They want to be part of it, to live it and to feel that they are too valued and accepted for who they are. We all deserve this but first you must commit to giving yourself the space and time to do so. It is not just for people that consider themselves spiritual, it is for everyone, a longing within your heart that calls out from the depths of your soul that you are more than your pain and sorrows that are buried deep within the caverns of your heart. It is a heavy weight to carry all by yourself, so in sharing and supporting each other through the process, we find ways to understand and accept how it all feels right now, we are not our past, we don't live there anymore, we can't change anything, only how we respond to our memories of it now. We transform how we react to the thoughts and beliefs that we once believed as our truth, we start to remember that we are more than our past and we can become whomever we choose to be, but that starts with the acceptance of who we are now. In time we will be able to come out of our past cocoons and start to gently spread our wings, to be seen for who we truly are and take flight beyond where we once believed we could never go, past our own limitations.
To me, connecting to self and others in the vital ingredient to our well being. This weekend like many of my weekends, I have seen people transform in front of my eyes, I have seen them grow into their own hearts and allow themselves to be filled with hope and joy, to believe that they are stronger than they believed and that no matter what challenges they face in life, they now realise they have the inner strength and courage to face it. Retreats are not just to get away from reality, but to understand what your reality is and find ways in which you learn to cope with the many daily struggles we all face. In doing so, you allow yourself time to reconnect to that deeper part of you that wants to break out into the world and be seen.
I am deeply grateful for my journey and in sharing it with others, I have learned that I am growing stronger each and every day, in turn I am helping others to find their strength which allows us all to shine our light in this world. If you only do one thing for yourself each day, let it be the most important thing in taking time to connect to you, you are so worth it. Keep things simple and find peace even in the midst of chaos, smile and know that this too will pass.
With love & blessings to you all
My next weekend retreat dates are in 2018 all to be held in the Boghill centre
February 23rd to 25th
June 15th to 17th
September 28th to 30th