How Going on a Retreat Reinvigorates Your Life After 60
Women our age have grown up to believe it can be selfish to make time just for us. A lot of us have lived 50 years or more with the mindset that we’re the glue that holds everyone together; that, without us, things would literally fall apart.
But is that true?
There’s also something about being in our 60s that whispers to us, “Maybe, just maybe, I can finally make time for myself!” But what would that time look like? Is it another vacation? Is that really what’s calling?
Maybe. But would you believe that, when you focus on yourself to the exclusion of all else, magic happens?
It did for me when I went on a retreat. That one-week experience created a noticeable shift in my life. I discovered that the gifts a retreat offers are life enhancing, if you fully open up to them.
No television, no electronic devices, no conversation at times. Maybe not even an alarm clock. Less is more.
Your mental and physical states deserve a chance to calm down. Your nervous system will thank you for the quiet. The longer we remain unplugged, the more we reap these rewards.
And fewer distractions mean you turn your attention to other matters, perhaps to a few long-forgotten spaces in your heart and dreams.
Journey from the Inside Out
A retreat reminds us how to honor our true nature, our natural rhythms. Eliminating day-to-day stimulation creates space for us to look within and to listen deeply, becoming clearer about what we truly desire.
We can gain a deeper appreciation of how far we’ve come in this lifetime. We can change our focus from feeling at the mercy of our circumstances to understanding that we do have a lot of choices in our lives. We might clear away some emotional debris or remove roadblocks that have held us back.
We may find the courage to try something new. Sometimes we stumble on surprising realizations – maybe that a relationship no longer serves us or that an idea we have might be our What’s Next.
Going within makes room for more.
Taking the time we truly need alters our outlook. And time as we know it changes on a retreat. It expands, can almost stop.
Within that expanded time, we have permission to linger, to sit in gratitude. We might deepen a practice we already have, like yoga, meditation or writing. We can heal a trauma, come to terms with loss. Move, rest, and nourish our bodies.
Retreat time is sacred time, a channel for healing, for growth, for stepping forward. Dive into it. Your outside life will be fine without you for a while.
Accept the Support
Whatever we may face, we don’t have to do it alone. The Divine, a tribe of caring fellow human travelers, or both can prop us up.
And when we accept support, we open further to all possibilities. The people that are on retreat with us create a container for us to examine what it is we yearn for, what’s still worth exploring. They form a like-minded community, either spoken or unspoken.
As we grow in appreciation for how others hold space for us, we let go of feeling pulled in many directions. Self-direction becomes a safe, sure path. Fellow retreat participants can also offer different viewpoints. Often they become new friends.
But whether we’re solo or with a group, the retreat experience makes it clearer that the Universe has our backs. And when we feel supported, we feel less isolated.
Back to Life
Taking the gifts of a retreat back into our daily lives can be tricky. It involves a little discipline, a dash of commitment, and a dose of mindfulness.
It’s important to re-enter as gently as possible and with intention. Clear your schedule a bit for the first few days back. Make a list of the things you’ll do to make the adjustment easier – like focusing on the people you’re coming home to or spending time in the most comfortable areas of your home.
We need to bring the gifts of a retreat into our everyday lives. Doing that, after all, is the point of going on a retreat in the first place.
Otherwise, we’d simply be on holiday.
Have you ever been on a retreat? What gifts did you receive? How did you bring the “retreat mindset” back into your daily life? Join the conversation and share your insights with the community.
Marcia Smalley is a certified life coach, writer and teacher. She delights in inspiring mid-life women to step confidently into their next act and loves helping them design a joyous, expanded life. Marcia firmly believes that you are not too old, and it’s not too late, to create the life you love. Please visit her website here.