Some of the retreats I lead combine meditation and vacation. We practice yoga first thing in the morning followed by breakfast and then 2 hours of mindfulness and meditation. We practice sitting, walking and exploring themes and topics. This retreat took place in Italy at an 800 year old farmhouse. While very different from a silent retreat, each participant still meets themselves and challenges arise.
As we explored the Tuscan region of Italy in the afternoon, the participants had a chance to put what they were learning in the morning sessions into action as they interacted with others and observed the art and architecture of ancient civilizations. My college roommate and art historian, Kathy Daniels, guided us through cities, towns, museums and churches. As with silent retreats, participants here also met with challenges of past habits and patterns. They had to face their own discomforts of cold floors, unfamiliar food and the invitation to turn toward that which they might otherwise reject and learn to “just be” with what “is”.