Chrysalis Retreats Newsletter March 2022
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Here at Chrysalis Retreats our vision is to support women to take a pause and reflect at key moments in our lives and clarify what’s important as we move
forward. We recognize that women face specific challenges in life and in work that show up in times of transition or uncertainty, and we are here to guide and support women on their personal journey. Our retreats are designed to allow spacious time for reflection, learning from each other and experiencing the joy of being in nature.
Welcome to our first newsletter!
This month we are exploring what a retreat is, and what this and self-care mean to us. We have a quiz on self-care and opportunities to join us on mini-walking retreats this Spring. And of course, more info on our next residential retreat!
Take a read and let us know what you think.
What exactly is a retreat?
Retreat is a middle English word originating from the military where to ‘retret’ was to pull back and withdraw. There are many reasons to 'retret', to avoid danger, to replenish energy or supplies and to regroup and strategize to name a few.
The term retreat is still used in this way and is also often used to describe a quiet place affording privacy and security. For a long time, spiritual and religious groups have been encouraged to retreat, meditate and shut out worldly concerns so as to connect within.
‘To go on retreat’ could be described as the act of giving up or withdrawing or a time away in a quiet and secluded place where you can relax.
Each of us retreats each day to varying degrees, taking a moment here and there to relax or shut out worldly concerns. This may be in the shape of a tea break, a book, a walk-in nature, and of course the ultimate retreat, going to sleep! These mini-retreats can re-energise us, provide clarity where there was once confusion or stress, or simply give us a moment to rest and relax, to allow our mind and body to pause and catch a breath.
We retreat as it makes us feel better, more connected, rested and at peace. It helps us to operate at a more comfortable and sustainable pace. In the business of life, we can all too often realise we need to retreat a little late in the day so being proactive about building in daily and weekly retreat practices can help us to feel a sense of balance and control.
What are your daily/weekly retreat habits and what benefit do they bring? What could you try out this week?
Our thoughts on what 'retreat' means to us..
I first started attending retreats about 6 years ago and I try to go on at least a couple each year.
My first retreat came as I sought comfort and peace during a time of transition and stress at work. I’d moved to the city centre and taken on a sizable role, responsible for a large team. I love leading teams but it can take a lot out of me and I was looking for a community and space where I could switch off, maintain perspective and find some peace. I started attending my local Buddhist centre a few times a week discovering meditation and a beautiful yoga class that helped me to connect my mind and body as one.
As well as much needed time to recharge and gain perspective I also found a loving and generous community and felt the benefit of their support and collective energy. I felt a sense of simplicity and a pace that was thoughtful and palpably present. This is something that Caroline and I aim to create with our retreats, a space for community alongside introspection.
It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I walk into the centre even if it's been over a year since my last visit.
The smell of sandalwood instantly makes me feel calm and soothed and the energy immediately invites me to breathe and just be. It is an oasis in the heart of the city. My own experiences of being on retreat have shaped what I bring to our retreats and I thank my teachers and all those who have been generous with their hearts and time. It is an absolute joy to work with Caroline and share our experiences with other women
I love working with Caroline as we both firmly believe that all women are fully resourceful and whole and our retreats provide space, activities and an environment that supports us as women to tap into our unique inner wisdom. Space, time and freedom to be. The beauty and simplicity of being immersed in nature, the time away from distractions and the freedom from day to day planning and doing is as refreshing as the country air itself.
What I love about being on retreat with Rachel is knowing that we are going to be with people on a journey of self-discovery in a great natural venue for an extended length of time. Time for them and us to take time to step away from the every day and pause to see what emerges. It’s so important that from the moment our guests walk in the door that they feel at ease, welcomed and safe to relax.
We give the main room a great vibe – think candles, music and a log fire. The retreat activities are diverse to enable us to take advantage of the beautiful natural setting as well as time to work together collectively and individually. It feels spacious and calm. For me it makes such a difference to be away from home and all the distractions there and to sink into such a nurturing and beautiful experience. One of the joys of working with Rachel is that we can support each other and give double support to our guests.
Here is a little look around our main space and garden during a crisp winter evening at our Winter Warmer Retreat in January...
Why we need to invest in self-care
”You can't pour from an empty cup”. There are many sayings like this that help to remind me that I need to fill my own cup first. To fill my mind and body with fuel, with nutrition and love. It’s not selfish, in fact, it's the opposite, it's generous, wise and has a positive impact not only on me but on those around me as I become more present and connected. When I’m making time for myself and tuning in to my needs I am the best version of myself. I feel ready for whatever comes my way and feel more joy in the everyday. I take time with others and am more present and mindful. It can be all too easy to neglect myself when things get a little busy or challenging. When motivation and energy are low and a cycle of stress and unrest takes over. Too often we notice the need to pause and retreat when things have become difficult when we’re feeling stressed, stuck, confused or overwhelmed. Building self-care habits and planning time to retreat gives us the space to look beyond what's immediately in front of us. To remove the pressure and weight of life. To connect with our creativity and to confidently dream and create options. To feel inspired, motivated and hopeful about the future and our role in it. It allows us to return to the world with more wholeheartedness, more focus and resilience so that we are more equipped to ride the rollercoaster of life and to help others ride theirs.
I associate self-care with compassion towards ourselves. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is not self-indulgent or selfish, to focus on self-care. I think women tend to put care for others before themselves. It’s the busy lives we lead, often supporting others at home or elsewhere. It is so easy to feel guilty for spending time and money on us. If we can learn to treat ourselves as we would treat a good friend, then we will make progress.
The benefits of allowing time for self-care are huge, helping us achieve a better balance in life, sustaining and refreshing us as well as keeping us happier! Little acts of self-care are as important as the big ones – for me that is making time for my morning meditation and yoga routine – nothing fancy or exotic – 10 minutes with my meditation app, then yoga in the living room with the TV – I’ve been known to do this in my pyjamas! It really sets me up for the day. That’s a small investment of time that has become a great habit.
Taking longer time out is also valuable – whether it is time with a friend for a treat like a spa day, or a walk together or time away in a different place, it can be incredibly restorative. Just a short time away from the everyday problems and issues of running life, can be incredibly life-affirming and enables me to appreciate it so much more.
I think investing in self-care is something to consciously plan into life. It gives us something to look forward to if it involves pleasure, and even if it is keeping up with dentist/optician / regular health checks etc we have the satisfaction of knowing we are looking after our health and wellbeing. Investment can be in terms of time, money and especially energy. I know if I wait until I feel I have time, or to be in the right mood, or have enough money, I keep waiting – I don’t commit, and it doesn’t happen. The time to take action to improve my self-care is now!
Whatever you do you have the satisfaction of knowing you have made a decision to care for yourself and look after your ongoing wellbeing - that's a great accomplishment in itself.
Try our self-care quiz to work out what you could do to up your game on self-care. Let us know how you get on in the comments, and your suggestions about what you are going to do next.
Fancy a spring walk with us?
Join us on our Spring Virtual Mini Walking Retreats in April!
Whether you're walking in the countryside or on an urban street there is great value in taking this time to connect within and appreciate the beauty of spring. Now you can walk with us virtually to support and guide you to have a mini-retreat as part of your day. We are starting with two options - an hour for those who have time and half an hour for those of you squeezing it into your lunch break. You are welcome to join us for either or both - the more the merrier.
All you need is a phone, headphones and an idea of a route you'd like to take :)
We have created a Facebook group just for our virtual walks where you can add your walk photos and share your insights - please join this group and be part of our virtual walking community! Looking forward to walking with you!
An invitation...Join us on our next retreat
Our next retreat in the beautiful Eden Valley in Cumbria is for the Spring Equinox next March 2023 - We know that seems a long way off so here are some good reasons to book your place NOW!
You are making a conscious decision to care for yourself
You have a wonderful experience to look forward to - just for you
You will get to be with a small group of like-minded women - our maximum group size is10
We have a great early bird booking offer! (Discount and payment plan)
Find out more on our website
Our Women Supporting Women resource recommendations this month:
Nora: A Dolls House is showing at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester until the end of March and is written by Stef Smith after Henrik Ibsen, directed by Bryony Shanahan. There are still 2-4-1 tickets available until 31st March https://www.royalexchange.co.uk/whats-on-and-tickets/nora-a-doll-s-house
Over a century after A DOLL’S HOUSE shocked audiences with its stark portrayal of female married life, this searing adaptation by award-winning writer Stef Smith is rooted in the women’s rights movement, exploring how tightly bound women still are by social convention even as the world seemingly opens-up. This is a muscular domestic thriller that packs a punch - a battle cry, a roar, a ripple of hope.
The Guilty Feminist Podcast
Less of a podcast and more of a global phenomenon, The Guilty Feminist, is part comedy, part deep-dive discussion and part activism. Hosted by Deborah Frances-White and featuring a different array of world-class guests each night, together, they examine our noble goals as 21st-century feminists – and our hypocrisies and insecurities that undermine those goals.
If you want to get our Newsletters and blogs and other interesting stuff directly, then please sign up to join our list on our website and keep right up to date. Our most recent blog is all about International Women's Day and is well worth a read.
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See you soon
Caroline and Rachel