How to Do a Solo Weekend Retreat

Jan 14, 2016

How to Do a Solo Weekend Retreat |

We all get stuck sometimes.  We try to make progress towards our goals, new careers, or different lifestyles and find ourselves ruminating in the same cycle of thoughts, unable to find the “aha” moment we crave.

Times like these are often best served by taking some dedicated space away from your usual routine:  though we don’t realize it, repeating the same activities day in and day out often serves as the rails upon which our cyclical thoughts run, making a cozy home for themselves among well-worn neural pathways.

A solo retreat might be exactly what you need to give yourself and your stagnation a swift kick in the behind.  But few of us can get away for an extended break, and so a weekend solo retreat is your best option for breaking through those pesky blocks and moving forward.  Here’s how to make sure your precious two days are as meaningful as possible:

1.  Determine your purpose

What do you need most right now?  Self-care?  A confidence boost?  Time to work on your business plan?  Goals for the year?  What area of your life do you wish you could take a magic wand to, wave it around, and cause a s-h-i-f-t?  Landing on the purpose of your time away before you depart will help you to ensure that you get the most value out of your retreat.  Be sure to write down your purpose and keep it handy; refer to it throughout the course of the weekend to stay on track.

That being said, sometimes in the thick of our busy lives, we think we need one thing, but given the space and time to reflect and be alone, we realize that we are craving something different.  Be nimble and aware of how your purpose feels throughout the course of the weekend.  If it stops feeling energizing and positive, go with what DOES feel that way.  That’s what you need the most while you’re on retreat.

2.  Visualize how you want to feel on Sunday night

Close your eyes.  It’s Sunday evening and you’re driving home from your weekend away – you’re headed back to your family, your house, your job, your “real life.”  How do you want to feel?  Clear?  Energized?  Purposeful?

3.  Create a loose structure for the weekend

You might know exactly what you want to accomplish on your weekend away:  perhaps there is a business planning activity you’ve been meaning to devote some time to, or coaching workbook you’ve wanted to work your way through.  Without putting specific time frames on your intentions (you want to be able to do what you’re most energized to do, in the moment), write down the things you’d like to accomplish.  Not sure?  Keeping your purpose in mind, ask yourself, “What’s next?”  “What’s possible?”  “What do I need?”  “Where can I gain clarity?”

4.  Find a setting that aligns with your purpose and ignites your soul

If you need to get away to feel pampered, spending the weekend in a cabin with no running water is probably not going to cut it.  Ask yourself, what surroundings will be most conducive to your process?  Where do you feel most energized?

5.  Build in s-p-a-c-e

You know how some of our best ideas come to us in the shower, or on a run, or in the car?  No matter where your inspiration tends to find you, these settings all have one thing in common:  they are where we find s-p-a-c-e.  Whether it’s the hypnotic effect of running water or pounding feet, or the fact that little other stimulus from the outside world can find you, your retreat weekend needs to intentionally generate this kind of space.

6.  Treat yourself and have fun

This might seem obvious, but make sure that you take the time to make your retreat truly special.  Bring the chocolate, the wine, the nail polish, the cozy slippers – whatever it takes to make you feel cherished during your time away from your regular life.

Enjoy your retreat, beautiful.


Your turn:


Have you ever taken a solo retreat?  What did you do?
What would your ideal solo retreat look like?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!