April 21, 2019

Why I Go on Retreat

This week, I’m delighted to have my memoir coach and friend as a guest blogger on Thymewood. Once a month, for the next three months, Kathleen Hamilton will have a featured spot on my blog. Now, over to Kathleen…

If you’re like most women I know, you understand the value of a vacation. Who doesn’t want a change and a rest? But have you ever returned from a vacation exhausted?

I have, and rightly so. I think of vacations as adventures, a chance to explore the world. To see and do. To be wowed by what’s out there. After which I return home and need a few days to recover.

When you go on retreat, though, you actually get restored. To yourself. Sure, you get important work done, almost by magic. (The truly important work that your inner muse guides you to do, mind, which may not be the ho-hum to-do list your ego wanted you to push through.)

On retreat, you gather all the parts of yourself that have been scattered to the winds. You coax out the parts that have taken deep cover. Even if you travel to the retreat locale, the journey is an inward adventure. A chance to explore your inner landscape. Yes, the terrain has changed since the last time you visited.

Retreats are an opportunity to be fully you and become the next version of yourself.

At least, that’s the way I design my retreats.

I like a transformational retreat. A feminine experience in which we create a beautiful, safe, nurturing space, in the company of a few fabulous like-minded women, to connect with your inner muse and discover what wants to come through you.

On an intimate group retreat, you are invited to share your deeper truths and get witnessed, validated, healed.

About 30 years ago, when I was new to personal writing, I went on my first retreat. The leaders didn’t design the experience for transformation; they just wanted to give women time to write. But being the transformational leader I am, I saw the opportunity. I let myself go deep and I felt my life change. I’ve been hooked on retreats ever since.

In their purest form, retreats get you out of your usual environment to a space free of distraction, free of interruption, free of responsibilities.

Your retreat leader is a trusted and expert facilitator who gracefully holds space for your deep work and that of the other women. She makes it safe and comfortable for you to be in both solitude and community.

You rest into the container of support created by the retreat. You find your own rhythm. The question of each moment is, “What would feel good to me now?”

You might:

•Go for a walk.
•Take a bath.
•Consult your oracle cards.
•Use all your new skin care products.
•Listen to the wind.
•Watch the clouds.

•Doodle with a fresh pack of coloured pens.
•Eat delicious food.
•Have a conversation with that courageous woman who read aloud in the circle last night. Find out she thinks you are cool times ten.
•Feel inspired.
•Write some more.

These days, I help women to write memoir, and one of the most powerful supports I can offer is to bring them with me on retreat. As a mentor who is committed to women’s empowerment, I’d like “going on retreat” to become as normal for women as going on vacation.

So where are you going for your next retreat?

Truth and Beauty (especially yours),

P.S. Heather is coming with me on retreat this spring. Want to join us? Want to sink into the bliss of connection, creativity, and support? Email me at kathleenhamilton@eastlink.ca and I’ll send you the details.

Heather here: Seriously consider getting in touch with Kathleen about her upcoming retreat even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “writer.” You could use this time to focus on yourself. Let’s have some fun!

Besides being Heather’s memoir coach, Kathleen Hamilton is an accomplished author, actor, director and award-winning poet, screenwriter and playwright. She is the editor of Deep Water Pearls: A Collection of Women’s Memoir.

Kathleen is the creator of Deeper Truth Memoir programs where she mentors women to write their own book in a 9-month write-your-first-draft program and a year-long, publisher-ready program.

Kathleen also works with private clients and leads intimate writing retreats in Europe and Canada. Her clients become empowered, win awards and get published. Contact her at www.kathleenhamiltonmemoir.com.