A ‘strategic’ retreat

A ‘strategic’ retreat
We were blessed with excellent weather over the first weekend of May. I was particularly satisfied – having selected that weekend for a 3 day Mindfulness retreat in nature. The “venue” was 14 acres of woodland just south of Cambridge. It was a collaboration for me  – with two other mindfulness teachers contributing both to the set-up and the facilitation. Participants ranged from people with whom I had worked – 1 to 1, members of previous group trainings – and other well-being professionals interested in developing their mindfulness practice.20160508_102633
I think all who were there would agree that it was an heartful, insightful weekend – much of the time spent simply contemplating nature from our own chosen spot in the woods, and – building, however briefly, a community of fellow travellers for a weekend – all sharing in the novelty of stepping back from the frantic, driven nature of contemporary life. Wordless lessons we gleaned from observing nature: flora and fauna, at this springtime burst of renewal. Other valuable lessons from finding our place amongst a group of relative strangers – greatly assisted, surprisingly perhaps, by our agreement to remain mostly in silence for most of the weekend.
Reflecting on such a warm, positive outcome, (as evidenced by the heartfelt feedback at the end of the retreat), I think we benefited not only from the mindfulness practice, not only from the immersion in natural surroundings, but also from the growing sense of community. We humans are profoundly social animals – as higher primates we are evolutionarily programmed to function in social groups: a troop or a tribe, a clan. With the advancement of our language-ing capacity, came not only greater opportunities for group organisation, but also greater likelihood of schism, separation, in-fighting, scape-goating, mobbing, exclusion. And it’s such issues that people often bring to work-on in counselling & psychotherapy – so not surprising perhaps that we relish ‘time out’ with others when we find out that we CAN briefly co-create harmonious group collaboration, taking sustenance from the experience and perhaps more trust, hope and faith available to sustain us in the rough and tumble of our current life group engagements.
Still a chance this year: We have a 5 day residential (led and silent) August 5-10; see: residential-retreats-mindfulness-in-nature
And if a day retreat is more for you? – click to find out about our midsummer retreat

%d bloggers like this: