There are many meditation & spiritual retreats out there – offered in different places around the world, by different coaches with different levels of experience. So it’s very important to take the time to do your due diligence as often they require a monetary investment you want to ensure you get a good return.
Before I discovered my purpose as a Spiritual Life Coach, I use to (and still do) love attending spiritual and personal development retreats. Some were great and some had been itching to get the heck out of there. So I have compiled some important questions to consider before investing your time, money and energy in what could be a very transformational experience.
5 Questions to Consider When Joining a Meditation Retreat
1. Is it okay to be a novice or is this for experienced meditators only? Some retreats do appeal to more seasoned meditators. Many moons ago, I attended a 1-day meditation retreat and little did I know it was silence retreat for the entire day, I didn’t make it past 2 pm. To be honest, it wasn’t described to me this way. Regardless, I should have done my homework. I was just a beginner meditator at the time and I wasn’t prepared for this. I dove straight into the deep end. Looking back, the website it didn’t mention beginner meditators welcome – it wasn’t very clear.
So it’s definitely worth asking this question before registering for any retreat. For Eat. Meditate. Love, I lead daily guided meditations, which is favorable to novice meditators. Although it may be challenging at first to shut off the mind or sit still, I offer gentle guidance and tactics to silence the mind and have a more productive meditation (By the way – there is no such thing as a bad meditation).
Also, I teach how to be very gentle and forgiving with yourself because even though I have been meditating for over 10 years I still have days where my mind races and I get antsy, but it’s all a-okay! By the end of our 3-day retreat the newbies feel like they have cultivated a practice they can continue on their own and experienced meditators have profound insights. All meditators are supported here!
2. What type of people is attending this retreat? There are some retreats that will accept just about anybody. Why is this wrong? In my opinion, if a business states they cater to everyone they will get just about anyone – meaning they will get people who are not aligned to the purpose, who may be disrespectful to the program and others; and therefore you may not have a pleasant experience, and most importantly, you may not get what it is you are looking for.
Every coach specializes in something and resonates best with a certain type of person. For me, I resonate best with people who are open-minded, already exploring or willing to explore their spiritual side and into some form of personal development. Whether they have already engaged in therapy, counseling or private coaching with me or into self-help books, Ted Talks or other motivational videos – they are open and eager to learn more – those are my peeps!
Very early on in my coaching career, I was “one of those people” who were eager to work with just about anyone willing to work with me. One day, I held a talk at my home office which attracted about 10 people and one of them happened to be a male. From the get-go, I was feeling off about this guy but I thought it was just my nerves from hosting my first talk. Later in the evening, this guy started blurting out rude comments and challenging everything I was saying as well as other participants who were sharing their experiences. It got to the point where he was interrupting everyone telling them they were “wrong” or they “should think (this) way”, eventually he walked out. To be honest, we were all relieved. Another participant ended up saying at the end of the night that she was so glad he left because she started feeling uneasy and after he left she noticed how much lighter the energy in the room felt and had a better experience.
The moral of the story is, do your best to ensure the retreat attracts people who are just as serious and respectful as you and somewhat on the same journey in order to have a more profound experience. After all, everyone who attends my retreats end up making a special impact on each other – whether that be learning from others experiences or connecting on a unique level, many of them leave with having created new friendships or feeling like family. This happens because I have a strict screening process in place where I must speak to each participant to make sure I am the right fit for them and they are the right fit for Eat. Meditate. Love (Is Eat. Meditate. Love right for you? Am I the best to serve you ? Is this what you need/looking for? ) I don’t just let anyone in.
Therefore, those who end up attending walk away feeling like “Wow! This is exactly what I needed, It’s so crazy I met other people going through the same thing as me, and/or this retreat wouldn’t have been the same without these people here!” (Hehe….all part of my master plan 😉
3. What will the daily itinerary entail? Some meditation retreats may just be all about meditation and some may include other activities such as personal and spiritual development aspects like Eat. Meditate. Love. It’s important to find out what the full weekend or week entails. Is it just meditation or does it include other activities? Is it guided meditation or silent meditation? Does it require any physical activity? Indoor or outdoors? Any downtime? etc; This is important so you have the right expectations going in.
Some people are looking for a relaxing, spa-like weekend with no mental work involved while others are looking to go deep and do some inner work- all types are okay, just do your research so you don’t get stuck at a retreat you don’t want to be at and walk away feeling satisfied and accomplish what you had set out to do. For our Eat. Meditate. Love Retreat, it is a healthy balance of guided meditations, personal development workshops, downtime, gentle exercise, hiking and personal time with Mother Nature.
4. What other important aspects should I expect? Another reason I do screening calls with every single person interested in my retreats is that sometimes people get so excited and don’t read all the details fully on my site (it is pretty descriptive so it may be easy to overlook some important points).
Some important factors I want to ensure each person is on board with is “unhooking” for the weekend. This is where they hand in ALL technology – no phones, no iPods, Kindles, nada! This is to encourage no distractions to your inner world by disconnecting from the outside world. Another one is serving organic vegan food for the duration of the retreat, which is just 3 days for Eat Meditate Love – this is to create a clear channel for spiritual development. When your body is free of animals fats and energies as well as chemicals you create a supportive environment for the all the processing that is going on mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
I am not vegan and many of my attendees aren’t either, but the majority of them walk away feeling satisfied and loved the fact they gave their body a break from meats and toxins. Of course at Eat Meditate Love we cater to any dietary restrictions or allergies anyone may have. Be sure to mention this upon registration with any retreat you sign up for.
Another important factor I clear with my participants is full participation is required – this is to ensure they get the most out of the program. They must attend all meditations and workshop sessions as everything builds upon the other. This is just for my retreat, other retreats may have different rules and be more lenient but it’s important to clarify if you can opt-out of anything before you get there.
IMPORTANT TIP: Another thing to consider is if the retreat you plan on attending is located in Ontario or out of province or country yet offers accommodations or transportation, it would be in your best interest to ensure they are TICO Certified, working with a TICO Licensed Agent (TICO = Travel Industry Council of Ontario) or regulated by the travel industry of that province or country. This is to ensure you are protected as a traveler and have the option to get travel insurance on your trip. Eat Meditate Love is TICO approved and is working closely with a trusted TICO Travel Agent to ensure our clients are always protected. Please see our retreat page under ‘registration & payment’ for more details.
5. What is my intention? Do not embark on any retreat without asking yourself this question: What do I intend to achieve on this journey? This could be anything from gaining clarity on your next steps, time to honor yourself, relieve anxiety, forgive Mr/Mrs X…there is no right or wrong answer – this is unique to you.
The reason it’s so important to set an intention before embarking on this journey is so it will aid you in choosing the right retreat, you will attract the right players to support you and your answers will actually start unfolding even before you set foot at your chosen retreat. And of course, you walk out of that retreat with the answers or accomplishment of achieving your intention. I promise you, do this simple and important key and you will have such a profound experience. I check in with my participants before every retreat and encourage them to choose an intention for their weekend. At our opening ceremony, we check in to it again and then at the end of our retreat. Every single one of my participants end up fulfilling their intention….and then I cry tears of joy (I can’t help it, I just get so damn proud!)
I even set my own intentions during the planning and faciliating of every retreat. Low and behold, it always unfolds and comes to life.
As you can tell, I am very passionate about retreats. They have changed my life both as an attendee and facilitator. My hope for you is that you get to experience the profound effect of withdrawing from your “regular” world and submerging in a new invigorating environment and discover new and powerful aspects of yourself that you forgot or never knew you had. If Eat. Meditate. Love seems to speak to your soul, I invite you to check out our site for more details –CLICK HERE or if you are ready to dive in let’s book a call to ensure we align- please call me directly at (647) 272-7312.
I hope to have the honor to support you in being one step closer to living heaven on earth or you find these steps helpful in finding the right retreat for you.
In Love & Light,