What is Your Journey?

“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But, what is Your journey and where is it taking YOU? “Life is a Journey” says yet another historic quote. Is it meant to be a literal journey with physical travel or a figurative search through the experience we call life?

We have named our spiritual support community, “Masters of the Journey,” and there have been attempts to help create awareness regarding the concept that YOU are a Master of your life and YOU have much to share from the challenges you have overcome or are struggling to learn from. But, again, what is this Journey?

Each one of us is on a path through this life. In the sense of time, we can conceive that this journey begins with (or maybe before) our birth and travels life until we transition out of this life. For some of us this journey in “time” takes many years of living, for other of us less time, and sometimes only a brief amount of time, if we die at an early age. Viewing the Journey in this context, we consider the early years of learning, the transitioning into adulthood, the work and family building stage, then the slowing down and aging until we call it quits, for this life.

So is this Journey just about physical progression and the learning of life skills? Or, is there something more to our “Purpose” following our path through this incarnation? Have we come into this body and this “life” with an agenda and with specific lessons to learn??? Many people think that we have come “here” (this life) to participate in a purposeful quest for specific experience to gain wisdom or share in other people’s lessons. I think that we arrive in this life with an agenda and it is not just about my learning. It includes lessons for me but it is also for the “greater good” and to assist fellow “pilgrims” to accomplish their learnings and to gain wisdom which helps us all (all of the other children of God.)

If this resonates with your beliefs, then the “Journey” is a sacred voyage. It is a holy pilgrimage which is more about the journey than it is about the destination. What we learn, experience, AND share along the way is the value and the “purpose” of this life. Our “Journey” is Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. It may look like we benefit from what we see, or hear, or feel, or “Do,” but it may be even more about what we “Remember” on our search for the perfection and the divine that is within each of us. To remember our Divinity and to find it within each fellow pilgrim we bump into along the way, may be the most important of learnings AND the true “Purpose” of our “Journey.”

Blessings to you on your path. Be as “present” as possible and pay attention to honoring the details which may present themselves to you. A single step may start a thousand mile trip, but small interaction may pose the most important learning you have come to experience in this life. Embrace the efforts of all your fellow travelers, you may have incarnated to assist them in their most important lesson. (And, be OK that YOU may never know the outcome of your interactions.)

If you find that you wish to share your story and your Mastery, consider participation in Masters of the Journey. If you know someone who may benefit from support in the development of spirit but who may not need or respond well to religion share this community with them. Thank you, in advance.

Connections: Reaching Out

In this blog I am drawn to writing about our innate need for connections. We are NOT solitary beings. Often times in our modern world, our connections are lacking. Lacking in depth, in emotional value, in the support which is required, and in the basic instinctual desire to know that we are all “one” and part of a much greater Divine. So two perspectives.

First, we were born into this world as helpless, dependent beings. There is no chance to survive without basic nurturing care. We can not feed ourselves. We can not bathe ourselves. We have parents who love us and take good care of us, if we are lucky, or we survive an existence with emotional and maybe physical scars. We learn from the people around us and the environment that we are born into. We do better when we are loved and we do not thrive when love is lacking. (I have read research conducted on children raised in an Eastern European, sterile, orphanage where the babies/children were fed and changed but not held or loved. These children grew up deprived and with serious physical and emotional challenges, different from children who were held and loved.)

We can not thrive without love and connection as an infant. This does NOT disappear as we age. Most people require human interaction, to varying degrees, and the “connections” that go along with these relationships. We continue to learn and gain perspective by communicating with other people and lifeforms (pets, plants, nature.) People often strive for “Deeper Connections” and more intimate relationships. We do not thrive when we feel alone or lonely or separated from the nurturing of friends and family, our “tribe.”

But in our culture, in our modern world, we are often separated by technology and “Judgements” from the people we live around and work around. Have you ever seen people out to dinner with both people on their smart phones, texting, or checking social media, or posting pictures of their meal?… What is this really about? We are not encouraged to put down our technology and be truly “present” with our partner. Many of us have lost the basic skills of verbal and non-verbal communication that were so essential when we were in tribes (and family groups) where our survival was based on interaction and support from the group. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to go back to live in a primitive, life and death struggle to survive but we have lost some of our fundamental skills (and are paying the price.)

Today, we may want to join a community to find human contact. Maybe we wear jerseys of our favorite sports franchise and root for them on Sunday with other fans. Or, we think about going to a “MeetUp” group to hang out with people of similar interests. Or, we go on a “dating” website to find a perfect partner. (Though we still have to meet and do the “Mating Dance” which includes communication and hopefully honesty…) This pursuit is desperate, often unfulfilling, and generally superficial. If so, then it does not satisfy the need to connect deeply. (Our egos and our judgements of the mind are constantly comparing and keeping us separate from other people who are searching for the emotional and spiritual exchanges which form the best connections.)

Secondly, our most important purpose is to support and assist the people we meet on our path through life. Most people floating around unhappily, or at least unsatisfied, are people thinking that their success is defined by how much money they have, or how many toys they have acquired, or how many trips they have taken, or how many MeetUp groups they have joined (but not attended.) People, today, feel that the number of friends they have and how many people respond to their social media posts (about themselves) are important and valued as levels of success. Maybe, it is NOT about “me.”

Think back when you did something “good” for someone else. It probably allowed you to feel good and connected. Get out of your head and back into your heart. Feel good by doing good things for other people! If you want to be loved, you have to go out and give love, unconditionally. If you are giving anything with an expectation that it comes back, then you will be disappointed.

Connections with value are based upon people caring, truly caring, about others and finding the best ways (you can) to support and assist these other souls on their journey. Even the simplest smile or kind word can show the love and respect for the person in front of you who “showed up” to have a place in your world (and your journey.) Yes, you need to work and support yourself, but you can do so with the feeling of loving acceptance for the other pilgrims in life whom you meet along the way. (Easier said than done, but work on this.) Your happiness and joy will come more frequently when you realize that we are “ONE” with all lifeforms and in this life together to grow, to learn from our challenges, and to love the connections which we can create.

Connections, healthy connections, are the most important thing to work on. Your success in life comes not from how much money is in the bank but how many people call you a friend.

Namaste. Your are a Master and it is a great blessing to find these few moments to connect with you. Your sharing of your time and attention as a “witness” is a blessing… Know that you have done good in our world just by being you, even with imperfections and flaws…

Masters of the Journey is a community that supports everyone who are on their path through life and would like to find supportive, hopefully, non-judgemental connections.

New Beginnings? Yup, Happy New Year!

We are a week into the New Year. 2017 is going to be a “Barn Burner” of a year. It is a start to a new 9 year cycle. The arbitrary date on the calendar says a new cycle – a new year – begins. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we have made it through the shortest day of the yearly cycle and are now, slowly, heading back into the “light.” The ritual of the New Year can be a time of reflection, to take stock of our lives and of our lessons to determine how far along we are. How far have we come and how far we must still travel in this pilgrimage through this life?

Some of us make “New Years Resolutions” which, by their nature, are designed to be disregarded almost as quickly as they are declared. However, the awareness of your progress and the affirmation of what still needs to be done (or experienced) has great relevance! What still needs to be done can become the “focus” and the direction which points the way to your travels through this life. Running in Circles does not serve us, in the long run. Steering out into the current, to move us down stream through the rapids and experiencing the eddies we must encounter, and transcend, is our life’s path. (In case you are unclear, we are all souls traveling in the “River of Life” and we are all “One” with our fellow souls….)

It is worth remembering… You are NOT alone! You have support. You are a blessing! You are an important part of the whole of divinity!

Your purpose is to Grow in Wisdom & Joy! As a Master, your purpose includes sharing and connecting with other pilgrims because we must all work to get THERE (higher consciousness, Heaven, Grace, the Divine) Together! (We are in Human Form to “Communicate” our lessons and to Serve!)

Blessings to You on the journey… Take one step at a time and focus upward on the path before you.

Namaste… (The Perfect Divine Spirit in me Sees, Knows, and Loves the Perfect Divine Spirit in YOU!)
(And, this is MY lesson in this life… Not an uncommon one, we share.)

Consider sharing your Mastery and wisdom with the community: Masters of the Journey!

Happy New Year: 2017

Happy New Year: 2017 OR Any New Year

I am preparing for the start of the New Year. There have been massive shifts and changes in this past year and the dawn of this new year will bring an increased need for vigilance, acceptance, and action in form of sharing LOVE to confront the “Dark Forces.”

First let me say: You Are a Blessing! Yes, you are an important part of a much greater Universe and YOUR Divine Spirit plays a pivotal role. You may not believe this because your ego and mind have created limits in your thinking but your soul/spirit are a cornerstone to all divinity!

Second: YOU are a Master! You live with the challenges of survival in your current “Meat-suit” (life) and YOU have wisdom (from life experience) to share. You can serve all consciousness by telling your story! Your struggles are lessons for all of us! Your challenges are part of OUR pilgrimage to higher consciousness! Even your pain is important as a tool for all of us to learn from in this “Human experience.”

Now with that said, what are you going do in this New Year? How are you going to share your story for the benefit of all? We are all in this together. We are all “One” in the Divine Universe. No one crosses the “Finish line” alone. We must all do this together.

Our Earth is at a cross-roads. Life, as we know it, may not survive much longer on this planet because humans have NOT learned from our own violent history as “Takers” and we have “soiled the nest” in ways that may be irreparable. Mankind may have to stop being, so our world can regenerate itself… This is the nature of life. This is neither “right” or “wrong,” it just is… Humans have not evolved fast enough to keep up with our new technologies. Just look back since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s to realize that we do not know how to live with an overpopulated world, with limited resources, and an internet communication that is so easily manipulated by small minded angry, immature people. Is this a “Judgement” or just a fact…??? (I am serious in asking this question!)

So, how can you make the very best out of the limited time we have on this Earth (World)? Suggestion: Look into the eyes of everyone you encounter and know that they are there for a reason. They are part of YOUR lesson. If you “like” them or if you are challenged to understand their perspective, then they are very important to your learning. Look into their eyes and find the “Divinity” and their perfection. Know that they are fellow seekers AND Masters! In your way, reach out and take their hands. Share unconditional love, no matter what your judgmental mind thinks! Perhaps you will remember that THEY are YOU! (They are struggling with their lessons just as you are with yours.)

This New Year offers you a new chance to begin a time of remembering your important role in ALL consciousness. I challenge you to move toward the “Light” and share your wisdom, more by example than in words, of the evolving spiritually awakened soul that you are, have been, and will continue to be.
Namaste and Blessings!

Masters of the Journey is a forum to connect with other seekers and to share your story. You can also discover resources which may enhance your search for remembering the Divinity within you. Or, you connect with other events and resources through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Sharing Wisdom and an Act of Service

In our spiritual community, Masters of the Journey, we practice a “Triad” process. This is a small group sharing of experience and the wisdom gleaned from living through the challenges of life. The purpose of the Triad is to gather three people into a conversation based around the “story” of one participant known as the “storyteller.” We are all “Masters” and have wisdom to share. If you have lived your life and survived to this age, you have learned from experiences and are moving along your “path” on your pilgrimage through this life.

As an example, the “storyteller” may share a story regarding a treasured experience with a personal mentor. It may have been a special college professor or a wise uncle/aunt or supportive coach who offered you some life changing information that set you on an important direction at one of the cross roads of your life. The lesson was a personal one yet it holds wisdom that can be used by other fellow travelers. The willingness of the “storyteller” to share and the active listening by the two other members of the Triad can make this a moment of “service” for all involved.

In the Triad process, the “storyteller” offers an experience which is heard by a focused “witness.” The second member of the Triad quietly and with focused intent, listens to the story. Using strong listening skills including good eye contact and “open” body language seeks to fully experience the story. Little or no verbal feedback is offered unless a clarifying question is required. The “witness” offers appreciation at the end of the 3-5 minute story. It may be appropriate to communicate what the value of this story has been for the witness. (A key is for the “Witness” to not interrupt or offer their own story but to allow the speaker to share their perspective until offered feedback at he completion of their story.)

The third member of the Triad is the “Observer” who focuses on watching both the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” The “Observer” feels for the connection and rapport between the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” When the “Observer” offers feedback, she/he may share information regarding the skills of the “Storyteller” to communicate their story and also may give feedback regarding the skills of the “Witness” to fully serve by observing the story. These are skills that carry over into relationships in life beyond the “Triad” process.

The act of witnessing is a powerful act of service. Focused listening and demonstrated “caring” can be therapeutic for the storyteller. In my training as a counselor for children, the theory of psychotherapeutic counseling was often less important that the act of “connecting” with the child. When these children were fully heard, respected, and Loved (Cared about) by the counselor the positive bond was created and the therapy could be effective. Outside of counseling, each of us can be of service by developing our skills to listen more fully, connect with the speaker, and then to share the wisdom of the experience of this sharing. The simple but powerful act of sharing a story and having it fully appreciated by the witness creates moments of learning for both sides of this experience. If you believe that we are actually “one” with all other living beings, then the respect and appreciation for another person’s story is a deep respect for yourself and the Divine Spirit within you (and every other soul.)

Do not take it lightly. Your witnessing of the lesson learned raises the consciousness of all the souls which are participating. Raising consciousness in all is the purpose which we all share. This common bond brings us closer and we can find the connections which offer positive learnings. Treat others with the respect of knowing that they are part of a much larger consciousness and though it may be difficult to see, every person has God within them. We may benefit from the raising of consciousness so we may better “remember” that we are all one and that each one of us is a Master with the wisdom of the Divine Spirit within our souls.

Blessings to you and all the fellow pilgrims you, and serve, along your path.

Namaste.

Masters of the Journey’s website and connections are found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com

Work: Being True to Spirit at Work

Much of our time is spent working. We spend more of our time with our fellow employees, employers, and clients than we do with our family, children and friends unless we work at home. As we focus on our work we often lose track of what we are here to learn. We can get caught up in the superficial thoughts and requirements of commerce rather than basking in the divine spirit. The egos which surround the work environment can draw us away from the consideration of the perfection we can find within the heart and soul of those we interact with while at work.

Are money and other forms of financial success at the core of why we came into this life? Is the separation from other people due to business competitiveness the satisfying answer to our spiritual needs? Can we bring to the workplace the love, gratitude, acceptance, and deeper feelings of “oneness” which we strive to learn in the lessons of this lifetime? These are difficult questions to answer when we may have two differing tracks in our lives, work life versus spiritual practices. But, can we find a balance?

Work requires our time and attention for long periods during many of our days. But setting the tone as we begin the day may be a big part of the solution. A day begun with quiet reflection and meditation which includes a review of activities of the coming day seen in the most peaceful and mutually successful way can set the the best spiritual environment to find success. It sets a positive loving tone for the day and can benefit the energy that vibrates out in all directions. The opposite of holding on to anger, fear, anxiety, and frustration sets the vibration of your energy off in the another direction, which may not prove beneficial to positive outcomes.

Sharing your most positive feelings can help to reduce the negativity that pervades the business climate in most work places. Caring about fellow workers and clients demonstrates the most basic, positive spiritual practice because this demonstrates that we are all in this together and even the act of work does not have to create separation. Connection, acceptance, and gratitude for others in the work place is the blessing that provides for higher consciousness. Even the difference of opinions or beliefs can become an opportunity for learning and provide movement along your spiritual path.

Ask yourself if acquiring possessions and creating a large bank account will really be satisfying and fulfilling. In many wealthy communities, the residents are torn emotionally by their “need” for more and the “need” to protect their property. This often gets in the way of relationships, life satisfaction, spiritual growth, and good health (mental and physical.) Your heart will tell you, if you listen, what makes you happiest and healthiest.

Blessings as you follow your path and use work to connect rather than to separate yourself. Find the ways to serve and assist all of the fellow travelers that you meet along the way.

Consider our supportive non-religious spiritual community, Masters of the Journey or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney.

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Art of Listening

Is Communication Important?
Is Connection important?
Is Listening important to relationships?

Is there an art to effective communication?

At the core of good communication are two essential skills:
The art of offering a clear communication
The art of Receiving a communication

In this Blog, we focus of the Art of Listening:

Good Listening can involve:
Hearing what is being communicated but also of importance to receiving an interpersonal communication is the use of other primary senses. I will explain why, seeing helps hearing. Also why, feeling helps hearing. Even smelling and tasting can play a role in experiencing a communication.

There is a philosophy which believes that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much.

Hearing is much more than just registering the speaker’s words. It can also include: tone of voice, volume, choice of wording, pace of speaking, pauses and silences, and the unspoken content or what is left out of the communication.

Seeing: Non-verbal cues: gestures, body language, facial expressions, breathing patterns, the speakers presentation are things which we “see” consciously or unconsciously. Very essential to good communication is encouraging eye contact and attention. Being focused and “present” without distracting thoughts in the witness/listner will allow for better connection and comprehension of the communication.

Feeling: Will include listening between the words and feeling the impact of the words which are used. Interpreting the hearing and the visuals that are presented. If physical contact is a part of the communication, feeling your partner’s intent through pressure or movement can be a feeling which communicates volumes.

Humans use less of the sensations of smell and taste in communication but these subtle cues can also add to the experience of the communication. Consider how perfume or body oder add to the experience. Or, how the smells of the environment can enhance or detract from communication like baking bread or the pungent smell of antiseptic in a hospital room. And, what does the taste of a shared meal do to add to a communication.

Perhaps the most important skill in the Art of Listening is to be “Present.” This is easier said than done. Being “Present” involves using your focus to minimize your internal distractions. Avoid extraneous thoughts or the habit of finding an answer to what you hear until it is your turn to add to the conversation. Even if you get defensive, it is better to hear the speaker out and ask clarifying question to make sure you fully understand what is being said so you can answer most effectively. Emotions can cause “knee-jerk” reactions which often cause more harm than good in a possibly tense conversation. It would be better, in most situations, if you treat your communication partners as if they were a very important figure like: the Pope, or the President, or even God. With this intended reverence in listening to your speaker, you have the best chance of “Hearing” at all levels to get the very most from the communication. In other words, listen to your communication partner as well or better than you would want to be heard.

To sum up, the Art of Listening is more than registering the words you may hear. Read between the lines and feel what is really being communicated. Use every one of your 5 physical senses and your intuition (or gut feelings) to take in the full communication. And finally, in the Art of Listening give the greatest gift of respect which one person can offer another by being fully focused and present with the love and appreciation that comes from the deepest honor the “Sharing” that you are being gifted to receive.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Key to Communication: Really Listening!

Successful communication in interpersonal relationships can be very important in business and in one’s personal life. This is not difficult to realize as a concept but it can be difficult to achieve. There are many variables that help a communication or make communication go terribly wrong. Some of these variables you can control and some you can not. An example, you may be very focus and clear regarding an important topic of conversation you may have with a client but you can not control the client’s focus or state of mind. They may be busy on “other” things and can not “engage” or focus on what you are saying.

So let’s discuss some of the variables that you can understand and control. Two of the most important ones in interpersonal communication are Timing and Listening. There are many other variables which we will discuss in other articles but let’s start with these two variables.

Timing is key in every aspect of relationships. If one side is distracted or unavailable, it is not fortuitous for the success of a communication. Scheduling the time and getting an agreement regarding this appointment are essential when your communication is critical. If you can not create an environment that is relatively undistracted and conducive to an appropriate exchange then your important message may be missed. Find the best time and space for you to communicate. At the beginning of the conversation, it may be best to ask again if this is a “good time” to talk, knowing that just because your partner has shown up at the appointment it does not mean that they are ready and undistracted. So, checkin. Make sure the table is clear and they are ready to participate. If not, and your communication is of critical value, you may have to reschedule or risk the failure of the process.

Perhaps even more importantly, is the skill to listen! It is easier said than done, but an essential key to great communication is not speaking but listening to your partner. If you interrupt, or think ahead, or find an emotional tangent to distract you, or simply lose your focus, your partner will sense your lack of “presence” and be distracted in a way which may make the meeting destined to failure. Use all of your senses to focus and to listen to what your communication partner is saying. Make eye contact. Relax your breathing to encourage your partner to relax. Respect your partners words and their opinion even if you may disagree. Do not interrupt! Keep your mouth closed until you can assist your partner by asking and “open ended question” to help clarify what they are communicating. Restate what you have heard to make sure you are very clear about what they are attempting to convey to you. Only after restatement and permission to response, is it a good time to find your appropriate answer. Show some gratitude to your partner. As a reminder, shouting someone else down does show intelligence, maturity or respect for a positive outcome.

Hint, for the best possible communication: Listen to your communication partner as if you respected this relationship so much it would be as if you were listening to the most honored elder or even, as if you were sitting in the presence of God. (Some people believe that you can find the perfect spirit of the divine in everyone, if you look for it.)

It has been said that we were given two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much. This is critical in personal relationships, friendships, family, and in business. Timing and listening. You are going to be more successful if you remember these keys to better communication.

We will have more to share regarding communication. This is a start. Please respond and try these two concepts in your next “important” communication.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Can a Retreat Program Change Your Life?

Have you ever participated in a retreat? Was it for spiritual growth or as an education experience? Perhaps it was a healing retreat to help find relief for a physical or emotional challenge. Was the retreat a weekend or week long experience? Did you spend the money to travel to this retreat and find that your life was changed making the value was very high for you? Or did you have a negative attitude about time and money spent on a retreat-like experience?

Many people have paid lots of money to go on vacation. Some vacations are “retreats” in practice, if not in name. Weeks on a cruise ship or a golf vacation are actually retreat-like but perhaps without the focus upon a specific outcome. Most people hold vacations in their memory for their entire lives. These were rewarding experiences that, in subtle ways, may have changed your life.

There are retreat centers that have recognizable names such as Esalen on the Big Sur coast in Northern California. Since 1962, Esalen Institute has offered healing and “growth” retreats for professional development and for the general public. This is a model that has been duplicated, in principle, by many other organizations. Often a retreat is “lead” by a therapist, author, philosopher, artist, poet, healer or expert in some emotional or physical process. There are many styles and formulas that can be used to impart the necessary information. Often people who attend these retreats learn that the information they receive is secondary to the experience of the “process” that brings individuals and the group to their highest levels of insight. The “process” is what the retreats are really all about and this cannot be gleaned from books, audios, videos, or conference calls. This process can include the physical and emotional experience of connection to the information and also the connections made with others attending the retreat. The connections are important and possibly even therapeutic, making the experience a life changing event. By making these meaningful connections with others you can change your self-awareness and in doing so change your life.

Not all retreats benefit every participant deeply. Every participant brings to the retreat their own energy, history, and past experience. Not everyone who leads a retreat is skillful at reaching out to every participant. In some cases, the connections are not made and so the retreat experience may have less value. Some participants go with the belief and intention that it will change their lives for the better. They are ready to transform and do not resist the new insights or deny the insights they experience. Often people fear change and resist the process.
Insights gained from retreats can have long-lasting effects. These changes may happen rapidly and be integrated into the participant’s life in dramatic ways or they may manifest more slowly over time and have a seemingly subtle effect. Rapid, sudden change is not always good or even long lasting.

If you are reading this blog and have made it this far, I would appreciate you contributing the past experiences you have had on personal growth retreats. Why did you go? What did you expect? What knowledge, information, or benefits did you receive from the process? How did the experience change your life? Did the connections you made with other people or with the process continue in your life? Would you recommend a specific retreat process and why was this retreat so life-changing for you? Thanks in advance for your input. (Send your thoughts to wellness@dstress.com)

I have lead retreats for many years and I am building new retreat processes for the future. My dream has been to build a retreat process that helps to pair people with specific health or emotional challenges, like PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, etc, with professional therapists and coaches who wish to be trained in assisting individuals or groups of people in the processes that can relieve these challenges. I have floated around the country offering programs in various venues but I would love to see a retreat facility that has been created to certain specific criteria so the very best retreat work can be accomplished. Any thoughts on this are also welcome.

I appreciate your time and attention. I hope to meet with you in a rewarding and productive retreat process in the future. Until then, please take good care of yourself. AND, keep open and growing along your way.

If you would like to explore the Retreat Process for yourself or for your organization contact the Stress Education Center through www.dstress.com.