When January 1st rolled around, everyone had their own New Year's Resolutions: lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, eat better, etc. Now that we are about three quarters of the way into 2016, how many of those resolutions actually lasted?
When you think about it, isn't the best resolution of all, one in which you can make yourself just plain happier -- even if you are a few pounds overweight? If you agree, then it's time to think about going on a journey -- one where you get back in touch with yourself, find your true calling, and learn more about what it is that will make your heart sing!
While you can certainly do this in a number of ways, one great path it is by taking a spiritual retreat to a place that focuses on body, mind, and spirit awareness. If you have some vacation time coming up — whether it be just a few days or a week — maybe you want to invest that time and money into checking in with yourself and seeing what it takes to find out more about what makes you happy — away from the stresses of the kids, your spouse, the carpool, your job, family, etc.
Three of the best places in the country to do that are Kripalu, The Omega Institute, and Esalen.
Kripalu is located in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Here you can investigate yourself on so many levels whether you simply want to go for an R&R Retreat where you can enjoy daily yoga, opt for some healing arts treatments (massage, facial, etc.) or you can take a workshop in all manner of things that might appeal to you from healthy cooking to writing to spirituality in many forms. Workshops usually run from Friday evening to Sunday midday or some special classes and workshops run for a week. It's the perfect place to truly get away from it all, unplug, disconnect, and get to know yourself again. You can go by yourself and meet wonderful new friends or take along a friend, spouse, or family member. But it's definitely more than fine to go solo — in fact, it's recommended.
The Omega Institute is based in Rhinebeck, NY but also has retreats in Costa Rica and California, and offers select one-day workshops in New York City as well. You can do everything from learn to be a yoga instructor (if that is your thing) to get back in touch with your teenager daughter, to reclaim your creativity or empower yourself in all areas of your life. Just like at Kripalu, the scenery is stunning no matter what time of year you visit and again, going solo is just fine.
This is one of those times when a true vacation luxury is having the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Doing your hair, makeup, and ironing your clothing is so not the trend here. Don those yoga pants and T-shirt and just be yourself.
Esalen is located in Big Sur, California and its location alone is enough to take your breath away. Esalen also offers "Time To Reflect" experiences where you can visit and enjoy the facilities without taking a workshop or you can immerse yourself in something that tickles your fancy whether it be a week's writing workshop with "Wild" author Cheryl Strayed or learning about intimacy, vegetarian cooking, self reflection, and so much more.
Travel doesn't always need to be about going to a beach, drinking all day and night long, or running around a foreign city seeing as much as you can in as many days as you can. Sometimes it's about the journey inward that will have the most impact on your life and will give you a high that will last long after your tan has faded.
Trips to these types of retreats have been known to foster change in people...to get them thinking about what really matters in life. To change the way they approach their lives. To better their relationships. To get themselves healthier. To truly relax. And, most importantly of all, to walk away with a sense of personal happiness and fulfillment that has nothing to do with alcohol, food, title, or salary. Sometimes the greatest luxury travel of all is just taking the time to reflect and journey inward. And, of course, a beautiful setting doesn't hurt.
Sure, there is planning involved to get yourself covered at work, to find someone to watch the kids or the dog, to save up money if you need to. That's why you might want to start visiting the websites of these spiritual retreat locations now. Check out their roster of workshops for the rest of the year. Pick one that resonates with you, and reserve now as they tend to book up fast — and that includes making some appointments to pamper yourself with a facial or massage. Then you have something to look forward to all year long even if you aren't going until the fall. And just think about how wonderful it will feel when you have the luxury of knowing who you are, what makes you happy, and how you want to approach the rest of your life.
Times moves along fast — we all say how we can't believe how time flies. Don't waste another moment saying "some day...".