As a serial entrepreneur with two school-aged children, I often get asked, “How do you balance it all?” I usually smile and share some examples of how amazing my teams are, how independent and resourceful my children are, and a few tidbits about my daily spiritual practices–which anchor everything I do. What I don’t always share is how I arrived at my current flow with my colleagues and children. One of the pivotal practices that both catalyzes and sustains my sense of flow is…retreating.
Retreating can take many forms. Most of us first think of the literal form which is to attend a spiritual, recreational, or business retreat of some sort to pause in a beautiful and serene place, reconnect with our inner selves, and reflect upon our intentions and goals. I’ve traveled as far as Vienna, Austria and as local to me as Potomac, Maryland to attend 2 - 5 day retreats with the intention of resting and gaining clarity in some aspect of my life. To this day, I use tools, prayers, and insights that I gained during those retreats to ground, inspire, and hold me accountable for the purposes that I have in this life. Taking a step away from day-to-day roles, responsibilities, and environments gives our minds, bodies, and spirits a chance to rest. We’re better able to hear what our True Self, as opposed to our ego, wants and needs. This practice is essential and something I do a few times per year and encourage our clients to do as well.
The retreat can have a structure with a facilitator and a full agenda, it can be a solo trip to a fun place where you do whatever you want as the days unfold, or something in between.
What makes a retreat, a retreat…is the intention.
I’ve had years that present more challenges than others–making it difficult to take as many retreats as I desired. In those years, I learned to embrace retreating right where I am by…
Taking a walk
Doing breathing exercises
Meditating and praying
Taking a nap
Taking a bath
Listening to an inspiring playlist or podcast
I call these activities retreating when I do them with the intent to rest, restore, be present, and gain clarity.
At Lead For Liberation, we internally hold ourselves accountable for embodying liberation by celebrating and making room for our individual practices and by creating space for collective retreating. We developed what we call “Mindful Monthly’s: where our 1-hour agenda is 3-fold:
Open with a guided meditation
Engage in a discussion prompt or activity that allows us to get to know each other as humans
One team member shares what they are deliberately learning about–either personally or professionally
This practice of collective retreating from the tactical nature of other meetings allows us to sustain our transformative relationships and understand how to work and communicate with each other better. We almost always walk away with a new, innovative way to do our work.
I invite other CEO’s, talent executives, performance managers, and school leaders to think about and implement new ways for your staff and teams to retreat more regularly to strengthen relationships, gain clarity about how best to work together, and share ideas about how to deliver your services in more effective ways. We can even get started by retreating together in Sedona, Arizona from April 7-10 2024 at Lead For Liberation's inaugural Regenerate: a Liberatory Retreat. That’s right, you’ll be able to experience a retreat much like the ones that put me on a path to flow–with an incredible lead facilitator, Yolessa Lawrinnce, who led a transformative experience for me about five years ago.
Until then, make room to retreat right where you are.