A retreat to remember - and what you can do at homeJun 28, 2022
Today’s post is guest authored by Stephanie, our retreat host and facilitator for the recent Mindfulness Incubator Digital Detox & Renewal Retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico. You can read more about Stephanie on our retreat page, she’ll also be hosting our upcoming September retreat. In the post, she shares more about the retreat experience in her own words, and provides actionable tips to bring some of the retreat magic to you, right at home.
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It was an absolute honor and privilege to host Mindfulness Incubator’s first retreat. It was such an incredible experience, and it exceeded every hope we had when we first began collaborating on creating it.
The most challenging aspects of taking time off can often be how long it takes to actually relax, and the load of staying “on” to take care of everyone else (like your spouse, your kids, your traveling party). When we created the retreat, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to transition into rest and relaxation as quickly as possible.
From the moment guests stepped on to the KitFox resort property, it was as if they were a world away. It’s a stunning glamping resort on 160 private acres, nestled in a 10,000 acre preserve. So many of us spend our days staring at screens, getting bombarded by emails, notifications and cluttered calendars. So many of us spend our days in service of what everyone else needs and wants from us.
We wanted our guests to feel enveloped in calm and taken care of from the moment they arrived. This was part of the reason the retreat was free of Digital Distractions, all of our attention was free to be on the experience.
What better way to say “welcome” than with a thirst quenching basil snap pea refresher creation? Take a breath, and take in the sweeping, vast views. Aaaah.
Our opening activity was a guided meditation and reflection, facilitated by Abby Dobbs. Meditation can be a powerful grounding tool, and Abby expertly guided us first through centering, then a visualization of transitioning from our “normal” world to this one, where we are free to relax and explore all that the retreat experience could bring us.
We journaled on our intentions for the retreat, what we most wanted to get out of the experience, and what we were ready to leave behind - helping us connect to ourselves and each other.
Our first introduction to the masterful culinary creations of Dig & Serve (other than that delicious welcome cocktail) was at our welcome dinner. Minds. Were. Blown. I still don’t understand how one can make a salad that delicious, and by the raving of our retreat participants, it sounds like I wasn’t alone. Dig & Serve’s approach is inspired by what’s fresh, local and seasonal. Their respect and admiration for the ingredients is clear, and every dish they put out is a piece of art.
You already know about the salad (!!!). We were also served gorgeous roasted local vegetables, grilled chicken and steak with a gorgeous chimichurri sauce. Yum.
We wrapped up the evening with an interactive drum circle. For most of us it was our first time (attempting) to drum. Here’s what we learned: you can’t be distracted and hold a beat. You can’t overthink and be part of the collective sound. There’s something really special about creating a rhythm together on instruments that were made by hand to express messages of celebration, joy or hope.
The rhythm we learned was a traditional African beat created by women trying to work through a problem
Our first day was a journey, and we retired to our luxury glamping tents for a night of blissful sleep, enveloped by pillows of fluffy duvets.
What can you do at home?
- Using meditation to transition - We can carry stresses, worries, overthinking from one part of our life into another. Whether it’s the workday to family time, or transitioning into the weekend, or starting a vacation. Try using meditation to help you arrive and be fully present in the space you are in. This two minute example helps transition from a hectic day.
- Try a digital detox - Whether it’s for a few hours, or a few days, try a digital detox to help be more present. Learn more about that in this recent blog post.
- Try an immersive experience - If you struggle to get out of your overthinking mind, try challenging yourself with an immersive experience, whether that’s movement like a Zumba or Dance class, a drumming/rhythm session, or something else. There are many options online, or in your local community.
Our second day was all about deep rest and renewal. We started the day with a guided meditation and slow flow Yoga facilitated by Natasha Scott of Align. As we slowly rose from Savasana, the Dig & Serve team met us with platters of smoothie shots. Pampered much?
We wandered over to the Clubhouse where Jenn from the KitFox team was already preparing our French Presses of Iconik Coffee Roasters brews, and I have to say that morning coffee taking in the views, chatting with the retreat participants was a daily highlight. (They of course also had spectacular assortment of teas for those who prefer that)
For most of us, this is not how our days usually start. Mornings are often hectic, busy, overloaded, and not very calm. Bringing more spaciousness and intention to the first few hours of our day was exactly the focus of our first workshop - Mornings that Matter, where we crafted experiments we could run back home on morning routines that left us feeling more energized, joyful and excited to tackle the day.
Lunch was a mindful eating experience, with a picnic packed that could be taken on a hike. Usually when we eat, we’re distracted, we’re thinking ahead. Rarely do we experience a meal with all of our presence and all of our senses, and that’s what this was meant to highlight.
Our second day had lots of space for naps, reading (we had a library of favorite books onsite), staring at the horizon, or there was optional massage and Reiki treatments available. I certainly took advantage of the extra services!
All of our meals were spectacular, and today was no exception. Dinner was a gorgeous Halibut, with yet another epic salad.
What can you do at home?
- Morning Rituals - All of us can create more spacious and mindful mornings. Check out this blog post for some specific ideas and tools.
- Mindful Eating Experience - We’re making the instructions and handout available to you, you can download it here! Set aside a day and time, and give full sense eating a try!
Our third day was chock full of inspiration, and probably my favorite day. It was simply magical.
We had another incredible start: Wonderful sunrise. Wonderful coffee. Wonderful yoga and meditation. Wonderful Breakfast. This does NOT get old.
Then we settled in for a Breathwork and Sound Bath session. This was a first time experience for nearly all of the retreat participants, and not something they’d normally try. Breathwork uses focused breathing to help pull us out of our overthinking and provide a deeper meditative experience. It can be a pretty intense experience. In the Sound Bath, our facilitator Richard Grace performed his 29 harmonious Crystal Singing Bowls while guiding a meditative experience. The combination of the sound and vibration takes you on a journey. It’s hard to describe how deeply relaxing this experience is, but nearly all of the participants referenced this as one of the most unexpected and favorite revelations of the experience. For folks who might struggle with quieting the mind for contemplative practices, this was truly a revelation.
Our afternoon was spent in our second workshop, focused on Goal Setting. During this session, participants were guided through a six step process to set future goals and a future vision for their lives. Often when we set goals, we default to extrapolating the next steps of our current path. In this powerful workshop, we expanded our vision of what our futures could be. We ended the day creating visualizations with vision boards - and the party really started when the glue sticks and stock photos broke out. The Dig & Serve team brought us out Palomas, made with fresh squeezed grapefruits (and tequila, optionally).
Our last dinner was a dream. The Dig & Serve team created another miraculous meal, and we were serenaded by a live performance by acoustical duo Atalaya. This husband-wife team showed us #couplegoals as they serenaded each other with love in their eyes (with a 6 month old at home). Their music was lyrical poetry. This meal and this experience was so special, punctuated by tear-inducing belly laughs, and actual tears of emotion. It was beautiful, and there’s no way I can capture it in words or photos.
What can you do at home?
- Set your vision - Check out this vision board blog post for some tips and tools on how to do this at home.
- Sound healing - Richard Grace has made his recordings available on bandcamp, you can find there here. They are worth listening to with over the ear headphones for the full experience.
- Atalaya’s music is also available on bandcamp, listen to their tracks, or try supporting local artists in your community!
When the sun rose on our last day together, we rested, inspired, and connected to ourselves and each other. It truly is incredible how much can change, how much can settle in just a few days.
We were true to tradition, starting our day with a beautiful sunrise, yoga and meditation, and another incredible meal together. On our last day, we were spoiled with fresh squeezed juice (and optionally, mimosas).
Our last workshop was focused on Minimum Viable Priorities. Minimum Viable Priorities are the clear expression of the essential elements that make your life feel successful, rewarding and worthwhile. They represent the minimum amount that you commit to doing, consistently, that you’ll celebrate as a success. In this workshop, we assessed where we would most benefit from MVPs, and created tiny, specific priorities that we are easy to implement. This helped all retreat participants leave with some super tangible actions they could take immediately when they returned.
And then, it was time to go home. We arrived with a shared desire for renewal and inspiration. We left with that and so much more.
What can you do at home?
- Make your morning coffee a ritual - One of my favorite parts of the experience was sitting with a steaming cup of craft coffee. It taught me how much of a beautiful ritual this simple step can be. What would it look like if you sat down with your hot mug and enjoyed every moment?
- Learn more about MVPs - Check out this blog post to learn more about MVPs and how to apply them in your life.
That’s a wrap!
Our time together started to come to an end. It felt like a lifetime had passed, and no time at all. This experience was so much more than I could have ever hoped for. The team at KitFox was incredible, their hospitality and attention to detail was unmatched. I have a special place for KitFox in my heart that’s probably never going away. Every meal the Dig & Serve team created was one of the best culinary experiences I’ve had in years, if not ever. Every facilitator brought so much passion and wonder to the sessions they led. Every participant brought their whole heart, and gave so much wisdom, compassion, and joy to the group. I haven’t laughed so fully and wholeheartedly in a long time.
I’d be sad that it’s over, but we have incredible memories to cherish, and newfound friendships to keep the magic alive. And, there’s another retreat to look forward to: September 16th-19th we’re doing it again. I hope you join us!
Thank you to @thevacationatlas for capturing the event so beautifully. Thank you to KitFox, Dig & Serve, and all our partners for creating such a special experience!
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