At the beginning of this year many of us gathered together as we’ve been doing for years, at our annual Mindfulness and Compassion Silent Retreat at the historic and beautiful-Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Sixty people from all over the world practiced together – sitting, walking, doing mindful-movement, mindful eating and being unplugged from our devices. Whether we had been sitting retreats for years or this was our first one, we arrived with some wishes and expectations. These extended periods of practicing in community, in silence, with very few distractions we often find that we come home to our true selves; we often find clarity around places of distress or confusion. We may find truth and compassion with things we’ve been struggling with, we appreciate the simple things in life, like feeling the sun on your face, your feet on the earth, the flavor of a tangerine, we glimpse the wildlife around us and have a moment of joy and magic.
Since that time, the world as we knew it changed, our day to day life changed, our plans vanished and we were thrust into calling on our Mindfulness Skills as never before. Since ten Hugh and I ave offered 6 virtual retreats ad continue to be astounded by the way these support people during challenging times, including the election.. So we are happy to say that our annual January Retreat is very much still on still on! If you’re feeling skeptical or curious please read more here https://www.mindful-way.com/2020/11/the-benefits-of-on-line-retreats/
We know that retreat practice has many benefits, one of which is living outside of our comfort zone willingly; when it is voluntary, with many fewer choices than we have at home. When discomfort arises, we can’t just flip on a device to avoid it, instead we stay with the intention of practice with becoming comfortable within the discomfort. This skill is so vital as in our lives there are many things that make us suffer that we can’t just simply walk away form and avoid. The container of retreat creates a safe place to let go of our habitual ways of being that may not be serving our well-being, health and peace of mind. The continuity of practice with the support of the teachers and the group, offers skills to stay strong in the face of challenges and to find wiser ways to take refuge. After sitting retreat for many years and then teaching them, realized that retreat practice or “voluntary simplicity” is one of the best disaster preparedness trainings one could do.
What we didn’t know as another beautiful week came to a close, was how much we would need these skills in the months ahead.
As news of the pandemic swept through the entire globe and our lives , Hugh and Cayce and I received many messages of gratitude for the opportunity to deepen mindfulness skills to navigate this historic unknown territory, during a high stakes election to boot.
Since then we’ve led 6 virtual retreat, after years of live residential retreat, we are amazed by the powerful transformations people experienced right in their own homes. We’re delighted to offer our longest running annual New Years retreat virtually in 2021!
Best wishes for your well-being and Safety,
Beth and Hugh