1. You Really Need a Break.
If there's one thing I can say for certain it's that I never fully expected to lose myself in the midst of being a mother. Sleepless nights, stains on clothing, and remnants of wanderlust adventures seemed to all come together in a state of blurred monotony.
I never really fully expected that my life would change that much simply because my will and determination said "Hell no!". "Things will be different" I said as I trudged through the continuing pressures of modern day parenting. Perhaps I was in denial. Call me an idealist if you will, but in any case it was like falling off a tall building and endlessly plummeting to the ground unable to find my footing.
And then one day I found that footing in a heap on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably over a Christmas tree that may or may not have been pulled down once too many times by bandits in nappies.
(True Story. Photo Exhibit A)
It wasn't until much later that the realisation hit me that I may not be coping in the way I'd always hoped for. For me personally, the crescendo of change that was the catalyst for my personal turning point included job loss, selling and buying a home in the middle of a recession, living with friends while in limbo, a move to a new country with a 5 week old baby, a toddler with Down Syndrome, and an 8 year old temporarily living with my in-laws while my husband worked in the North Island of NZ and I stayed in the South Island. We did eventually end up getting our own place and settling in the best that we could. Within this shift there were other factors at play including my husband and I not being able to cope very well in these changes which affected our marriage. In any case, I got to a point where it was vital that I made a decision to jump in the life raft and get away on my own.
My first trip away was to Hong Kong for 5 days for one of my best friend's 40th birthday. It became very apparent to me that I had been walking around in a state of stress back at home. Clenched jaw, holding my breath constantly. What a relief it was to finally exhale and let go of any responsibility and worry!
Having regular personal retreats is now a part of my self care routine. If I'm happy, everyone else around me is happy. I go away at least once if not twice a year to recharge and unwind and have seen incredible breakthroughs in my relationships, and in my work. It wasn't until I went on my first photography retreat alone that I realised how much value could be gained in personal growth and self reflection. I learned so much from the other participants and came back with a refreshed and renewed perspective on life.
2. You Are Stuck in a Comfortable Rut
We all get stuck in our comfort zones, and while it feels good to be there for a while, as humans we are meant to extend, expand, and grow beyond those comfort zones to get to the juiciest parts of our life.
Our feminine side encourages us to "move and flow" in pursuing those unexplored aspects of ourselves. This is not always easy to achieve this when we have so many responsibilities that need catering to. Stepping outside our comfort zones and opening ourselves up to the unknown creates a vortex of amazing possibilities. This may just be the right time to give yourself that loving push, and I can honestly say you will never be the same once you give yourself that permission!
Here's what two of our participants had to say about stepping outside their comfort zone.
3. Being Selfish is Empowering.
I always wonder why the word "selfish" gets such a bad rap. Each and every one of us was created with the utmost attention and love, and yet as we get older we shun the idea that we should draw any attention to ourselves, let alone actually nourish our body, mind, and soul.
Taking a stand and putting ourselves first is not only healthy, it's essential in today's world of chaos. The benefits of a few days away can be seen well into the following months ahead with improved sleep, clearer focus on what really matters, increased energy, and a stronger connection to who we really are.
Kerry was another one of our lovely participants on our last retreat. She is a creative woman who stretches herself on a daily basis between her 2 boys, volunteering at school, creating a craft label, and spreading herself among family and friends in being the loving person that she is. When she used the word empowering, I said "Yes!", because it really is about taking responsibility towards your own wellbeing. No one else can really do that for you, and that being selfish is essential in being able to sustain a busy life.
4. You Crave Connection with Like Minded Souls.
Let's face it. In today's world of social media, it is easy to make believe that we are connected more than ever, but in reality, how much time do we actually spend really connecting and getting to know new people? The power of women together in a peaceful and supportive environment is like nothing I've ever experienced before. The women that come to a retreat generally are there for the same reasons. We are all mirror images of one another, and by taking time to sit, breathe, and create, we are able to learn so much from one another through the way we do things and our own personal life "stories". This is the type of connection that creates a ripple effect and big shifts occur!
Belinda attended our last retreat after having gone through some major life challenges. She brought so much to the table in terms of sharing her story to help others to be able to do the same.
5. Big Change is on the Horizon.
Life is a constant cycle and series of constant challenges and change. Some come with epic proportions, while others act as a sign towards something big to come. Either way, as creatures of habit, none of us really like having our boat rocked. Knowing that a move, career change, loss of family member, or recovery from an illness has come into your life can be stressful to say the least, but it is in these times of stress that we are forced to sit down, take a deep breath and truly try to understand the message that lies beneath the change.
Dawn came on our last retreat just as she was about to make a huge transition moving from Dubai back to the UK to open a Bed and Breakfast. Her daughter was leaving home and moving overseas as well, so there was a lot of things to reflect on. She could have easily passed the opportunity up as there was lots to be done back in Dubai, but as she says herself "Don't miss a once in a lifetime opportunity, you will never regret doing it, just that you didn't seize the chance while you have it!"
So there you have it!
Nektar Soul Retreats was created with the greatest love and care out of my own passion for self growth and improvement. The retreat is based on mindfulness principles in aligning ourselves back to who we really are without all the chaos that surrounds us on a daily basis. During the retreat, participants will tap into their own potential using yoga, meditation, photography, Reiki and body alignment sessions, journalling, colour therapy, nourishing food and superfood workshops, as well as the icing on the cake....an individual Soul Portrait Photo session to celebrate your magnificence as a woman. Our divine feminine nature craves connection, laughter, movement, and creativity, and this retreat was created to fulfil those needs and more.
Our next retreat takes place back at in the magical energy of the foothills of Mt Kilmanjaro in Tanzania from February 14th to February 20th. We also have another retreat running from April 19th to 24th in the magical coastal town of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka. There are a few places left, we'd love to have you join us!! Contact Stephanie Hamilton on 0508701927 to book your place or click here to register your interest for our future day and overseas retreats!