Do you ever feel like you need to press the reset button and halt life in its tracks? A pause so that you can take a step back, breathe for a moment, and have a look at where you’ve come from, where you are right now, and where you want to go in the future?
This feeling is much more common than most people think, and the yearning to step off the treadmill of life and just stop for a moment can be overwhelming and lead to endless frustration and irritation if that time out isn’t taken.
I’ve been leading retreats for nearly two decades now, and beyond the remarkable physical changes that can occur during a retreat, often more powerful than what happens on a physical level, are the insights and awareness about our lives that naturally rise up when we give ourselves the space to just stop.
Today our lives are pressure cookers of busyness. Time seems to be speeding up and there is very little space for the deep contemplation that leads to finding our clear path through the noise. Our soul speaks to us in the quiet spaces, and if we never give ourselves the time to listen to the call of our soul, we can get caught on a path that is not ours, one that is reacting to the day-to-day minutiae of a busy life but not one that is a creative force that empowers us with passion and vitality.
How often do you take time out to think about yourself and your life? To not have to worry about meals and housework, jobs, kids and husbands, shopping, paying bills and tending to the massive mental load that we all seem to carry? It just never happens. Yet the results from taking quality time out, lead to a clarity of mind that cuts through the busyness and brings to the surface a new way of thinking and feeling that carries through to all areas of life. It is like the reset button has been pushed and you get to start fresh.
For me, this is one of most powerful manifestations that happen at the retreats that I run. Once you are out of your normal environment, the persona can drop, and what rises is real and true and comes from your heart. As healing takes places on the physical and emotional levels, lost passions, interests and paths in life come up to be looked at as possibilities for a way to live in the future that doesn’t lose the essence of who you are and what you are here to do.
I find that many of my guests are between the ages of 40 and 80 and that is no accident. For many of us in this age group the life-changes we are going through are every bit as challenging as finding a career path, getting married, buying a house and starting a family were in our early years. Although this is not necessarily a path that the younger generations of today follow (who carry many different challenges than we did), for those of us in our middle years, this was the expected journey through life. Then we hit our middle years and are confronted with changes we are not necessarily prepared for. Changes to our body, energy and well-being, often with the exhaustion of the last 40 years of tireless effort coming home to roost. This is often a time when we are no longer responsible for young children or building a career – we may be looking at what we have achieved, and if that does not fulfill our dreams, then it may be wondering what’s next in this phase of life? It can be a disconnection from your partner and thoughts about whether this really is as good as it’s ever going to be? It can be a niggling that there is something else you need to do in this life, but you may not even know what that is yet or how to go about achieving it. There may be emotional wounds or patterns that need to shift, for you to be able to fully step into the life you feel is waiting for you just around the corner.
Looking at life at this age and realising that it is likely half-way or more than half-way through, brings to light the fact that we can no longer coast. That if there are things that we want to achieve and experience, things that we do not want to pass from this world leaving undone, then the time really is now. If we don’t get clear, and then take the steps we need to take to create that vision for life, then it would be very easy to let the next thirty years slip by and be left wondering at age eighty, what the hell happened?
There was a saying that I remember reading in a memoir, that went something like “If life from birth to fifty felt like it went by fast, 50 to 80 is gone in the blink of an eye”. And that made me pause. What are my unfinished desires and passions in life that I have never pursued? What am I going to regret not doing at age 80 looking back over my life? Out of those questions and bringing to the surface the knowledge of my own mortality, honed my focus down to a few things that are really important to me, that I want to make a priority over the coming decades, and clarified the path I need to take.
Heading to Bali to run a retreat this March, those questions are going to be at the forefront of my mind as I take the time to delve into my own path forward, alongside the guests doing their own inner work. Being in such a beautiful part of the world, clearing the mind through the practices of juice fasting, yoga, massage, breathwork, sound healing and the myriad of other supports on offer – allows your truth to be known. If you are at a crossroads and not sure which path to take, or need guidance on healing an emotional wound or trauma, this is the space that brings clarity and purpose to the next steps forward. Something that is not able to be done well, in the midst of your normal life.
If you are wanting to push the reset button on life, I invite you to consider joining me in March at the next Embracing Health Retreat in magical Ubud, Bali. If your heart is calling you to just stop, why not do just that, and watch your life change over ten short, but incredibly powerful days.