Wisdom Garden Institute
Here is an article by Ken Reed from Spring Issue of New Consciousness Review

Retreats; some points on how to get the most out of a retreat

It is not very long ago that I wondered what makes a successful retreat.

Let me explain.

After having both attended dozens and dozens of retreats over the years, and more recently conducted retreats, I wondered what is the lasting effect and what is the take away which can be counted in terms of gaining a toolset for a new way of being and something that can be embedded and applied to everyday life.

If there was and is a value, what is it? And more importantly, what is the make up of such a life redeeming break-a-way that can be a compelling reason to do them at all?

After allowing these questions to float in and out of scrutiny and observation for some time with the goal of dissecting and coming to an honest conclusion, I offer the following:

The observation which stands out for me is: for the most part we wonder and weigh the value of what it will give me, especially for the time and cost. And we have to consider those things of course. However, the value in take away really amounts to what we bring to the event. I recognized that memorable retreats were those I was committed to with intention to bring my whole self in to the experience and to be open to the grace of such an event. So, the mindset of intention and to be available and open would be number one.


Next comes: giving yourself permission. This conclusion has to do with giving your self the permission to take this kind of break. In other words, coming to a place of feeling deserving for an interval; a punctuation in the life you now pursue. Simply allowing oneself a time out to reflect, renew, reset priorities and even if we have to make up an excuse to take the step its ok.


The third has to do more with post-retreat commitment, than content of the retreat. Often when we ponder commitment to change, we think of what we will have to give up rather than what we gain. It is the nature of mind to fear change, and yet this growth, this opportunity to release the bonds we imposed on our selves is now a very real possibility if we take the challenge. To have this renewed stamina to recognize old patterns and habits and to say good-bye to them as they arise. So the third conclusion is: taking the challenge of commitment.


Now, when considering such a break to reflect and reset priorities to begin anew, what can we expect from such an event?

Certainly, the location should be free of distracting elements and one emphasizing leaving your usual devices and routines alone. It should also be a place where you immediately sense surrounding peace and tranquility; a sanctuary where all of you can expand freely. A time with others who have come for the same reasons and to share about challenges openly knowing that all are here with a commitment of change; a place, which has been thoughtfully designed with every feature and aesthetic to nourish the soul. Both, in accommodations, food, amenities and a staff who is fully in support of your being here in this place.

In reflecting deeply on retreats and now being part of this retreat that Jodi Thomas and I are offering, our 5 Day Mindfully Dancing with Life Retreat in Costa Rica, I can say that we are fully committed as guides to give you our promise, that getting to spend this special time together will be an enduring and meaningful part of our lives no matter where our lives take us.


Ken Reed