Awaken Into Life Blog

Retreat Bliss: Taking my family along for the ride.

I LOVE retreats!  I love planning them.  I love going on them.  I love learning how to facilitate them.  Whether it’s a self-imposed 15 minute break in nature or a weekend away to relax and learn.  I find tremendous peace in taking time for myself.

In the past, my least favorite way to retreat was when I attempted to “retreat” with my family.  After returning from a “relaxing” family vacation, I would feel like a I needed to go on another vacation by myself just to de-stress.  Something changed recently though when we decided we’d make an impromptu road trip and do some tent camping.  I’ve been traveling to Watkins Glen for almost 20 years with my husband Tom.  It has always felt like such a sacred place to me.  There is an incredible energy in walking the path of the gorge, through this crevice in the mountain that used to be connected.  There are gentle waterfalls that spill over your head as you climb the steps.

Even driving into the town of Watkins Glen and catching glimpses of Seneca Lake in the distance makes me feel all tingly inside.  My mom says my experience could be summed up as a “gorge-gasm”.  And she might be right.

We entered the state park late on a Monday afternoon and chose a beautiful spot not too far from the restrooms and set up camp.  I didn’t have time to plan much so the fixin’s were simple.  I had done a “things to do” search online for the area and had a short list of activities we could do that included hikes, swimming in the waterfalls, a farm sanctuary tour, and even a walk to the old time renovated movie theater to watch the latest Ice Age movie.

It was bliss, every moment.  I woke with the birds and the sun and journaled my way into oblivion before the family even found their way out of the tent.  I was also reading a great book that reminded me to be immune to the kids’ arguments in the background about who had cooler hair.

So here are a few things I learned that might help you make your own blissful family retreat:

  1. Don’t over think it.  Keep it simple.
  2. Go somewhere you are already familiar with and enjoy being.  We went during the week and avoided the heavy crowds.
  3. Leave any turmoil or stressful thoughts behind.  Be in the moment.
  4. Take a good book.
  5. Remember to breathe.
  6. Look for some of the local hidden “gems” of the area to enjoy.
  7. Trust your instincts.  Is there a place that’s been calling to you?

Do you have a special way that you retreat with your family?

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