I just found out that my closest neighbor, Donna, is a bit of a retreat fanatic. Throughout her six decades she has attended dozens of group and personal retreats, and just last month she completed an eight-day silent retreat!
Donna learned early in her life that she was a better wife, mother and member of our community when she carved out time every year to feed her mind, body and spirit.
Her favorite retreat project - the one that brought a big beautiful smile to her face as she explained it - was the mandala she created. By unskilled hand, Donna drew a mandala that represented her life's intention. The center revealed what was deepest in her heart.
She later told me that her mandala was the first thing her dear husband brought to her hospital room during an extended stay due to a sudden and scary illness. He knew how important it was to her. He knew it would help.
Perhaps you, too want to create a mandala. Here's a resource that can help, and don't worry; I already have colored pencils and a compass ready for the retreats!
Donna shared with me her best tips for planning a perfect retreat, and I want to share them with you.
Donna's No.1 Tip: Get Outside
You'll have the opportunity to participate in guided forest bathing as part of your retreat package. I recommend preparing for your experience by reading The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. But if nature is not your thing, no worries. At Lafayette Flats you will be walking distance to cafes, antique shops, the town park and even the public library.
Donna's No 2 Tip: Nourish to Flourish
Feed all five of your senses for a holistic approach to nourishment. Explore the art collection, listen to music, feel a warm bath, smell the hibiscus bath bomb and taste the soothing herbal tea. For actual sustenance, you may consider the 4 Day Hormone Detox from Woman Code by Alisaa Vitti. This simple, healthy meal plan helps get your endocrine system and hormones back on track.
Donna's No.3 Tip: Create an Agenda
At Donna's first solitary retreat, her host explained the importance of creating and keeping to an agenda. Sometimes unstructured days are hard for human minds to experience. The void may cause us to flounder and become unsettled. Use your Retreat Planner to create a general outline of the activities you plan to enjoy while on your personal retreat.
Amy McLaughlin, your personal retreat co-curator at Lafayette Flats Retreats. Find me on Instagram posting about self-care, wellness and mushrooms. Yep, mushrooms.