If you’ve committed to the significant investment of time and resources to attend an HPI retreat, you most likely believed that the time away would offer you perspective on how to make desired shifts in your life. Knowing that you have some tools to take home with you, after the retreat, to stay in the momentum of living new shifts and habits will be just as important as the retreat itself. Below are a few helpful tips.
It is easy to find motivation and inspiration when you are surrounded by like-minded and like-hearted, supportive people at a retreat. However, the getting home and actually living the new insights is where the hard work comes in. The temptation when returning home is to “get caught” up and then start with the new practices. This is a sure way to loose momentum and motivation.
Whatever it is that you are shifting in your life, be sure that the moment you arrive home you begin some aspect of that. If it’s movement, get out for a walk immediately after arriving home - even if only for 10-15 minutes. If it’s a new eating lifestyle you are working toward, start the transition of your pantry and fridge right away. If it’s finding new ways to work, start shifting your office space and time as soon as you walk into that room. If it’s interacting with someone differently, try that out the moment you see them.
Whatever it is that you want to live differently, start the moment you arrive home to signal to your body and mind that this will be your new normal, that you have already started with the creation of new habits at the retreat. You’re not “going” to start, you already have started. Remember, though, to be easy on yourself. This is a practice that will take practice.
Write As Your Own Guide
If you’ve kept a journal during your retreat, be sure to continue that practice at home and reflect on the coming-home transition. If you’ve not journaled, or don’t like to journal, no problem. The point of this exercise is simply to write out ideas once you are home that you can look at “from above.” This doesn’t have to be in a journal, per se. You are writing to yourself, as if you are floating above the situation, looking down to observe what’s happening. From that perspective, write and offer yourself a look at the bigger picture, sharing guidance on how you can begin to choose differently in your every day. Looking at any situation from above can afford life-changing perspective.
Stay Connected To Community
As humans, we live in community for a reason - survival. We are not built for isolation. Sure, you may read about the odd hermit from time-to-time, but a human who is a true and real hermit is rare. And yes, we often need solitude. However, solitude and isolation are two very different things.
Regardless of the circumstances you are walking back into when you return home, especially if they are such that will not offer you support to live the newness you want, you don’t have to isolate and become lonely. This will be a most crucial time to reach out, connect with your fellow retreat participants, find like-minded and like hearted people in your community, and do whatever it takes to make sure that you don’t slip into unnecessary isolation and loneliness and thus lose sight of your resolve and inspiration.
The mere sharing of experiences, challenges and success, will help you stay grounded. As your retreat experiences become further away from your current reality, it becomes more and more important to stay connected to those and that which fill you up and help you stay grounded and clear about what you want and don't want. It doesn’t mean that all things and people outside of the retreat have to go away. No. It means that you must work to bring things that add to and nurture the new shifts are brought in.
Practice is just that, “practice.” As stated above, be easy on yourself and remember that practice means ongoing trying. You won’t get it all exactly the ways in which you want, all of the time, and that is o.k. Would you expect yourself to sit at a piano as a new player and suddenly play Chopin? No. You would practice. Slow, steady, and consistent is a sure way to make something sustainable in your day-to-day. When you need assistance, reach out. Even the act of reaching out for support may take practice! Remember that moving at your own pace and in your own timing is exactly the right thing.
Have you found meaningful ways in which to continue the momentum, inspiration, and motivation of a retreat once you return home?
We’d love to read your comments below and have you share with the HPI community!