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Two Day Retreat


And what do you want for Christmas?

I bet a lot of us get asked this at this time of the year and sometimes my heart sinks. What do I want that’s within the budget? It’s prompted the thought that there can be significant times in our lives when we don’t know what we want. The hardest people to buy presents for are those who have everything they need or want, but increasingly I’m coming across people who do have some idea what they want but feel hampered in getting it. Needless to say, it’s not another Christmas present!

Quite often, this occurs in the run-up to ‘retirement’ whatever that means for the individual. If they’re stepping back from full-time paid work, what this inevitably brings into focus is their relationship with their partner who may well have got their own life very well organised and doesn’t want it disrupted – the ‘I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch’ phenomenon.

I speak to many people at this stage in their lives who recognise that change is coming, have some ideas about what the next stage of their lives might bring, but it’s vague and not well thought through. Because it’s ‘retirement’ many don’t feel they can make an investment in themselves at this point – it’s just not worth it, they think. But life expectancy being what it is, if you retire at sixty, you might have another thirty years ahead of you, thirty years of what? Trailing around in the supermarket?  Not only that, but you’ve built up a considerable bank of skills, knowledge and experience – all to go to waste?

But what if you do invest in finding what you want for this next chapter of your life? And what if it’s different from what your partner envisaged? The management writer Charles Handy made the point that relationships need to be renegotiated at different stages of our lives. It makes sense when you think about it – how you need to be as a couple with small children is very different from when the children have upped and gone to university. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a risk. What if you find some quite big gaps opening up between you?

But if you don’t know what you want, you don’t have a starting point for negotiation and then it’s very easy to fall in with someone else’s wishes, to opt for a quiet life, not rocking the boat. But don’t forget about those thirty years. Not knowing what you want is not a recipe for happiness. This week we’ll be doing a virtual retreat with an engaged couple in the US working out what they want for themselves and together.

If you do want to invest in those thirty years, how about coming on one of our retreats? We give you space and time to start knocking those half-formed ideas into some kind of shape. Give yourself something to look forward to.


Here we go again?

‘Oh no, here we go again,’ I’ve caught myself thinking this last week in response to the news about another variant. But are we in the same place? No, we’ve got vaccines and we’ve got learning about how we’ve already handled the virus, but it still injects another wave of uncertainty into our lives. What about Christmas? We’ve made the decision not to travel after mid-December to give the Christmas we didn’t have last year the best chance.

So we’re making some concessions to Omicron and being sensible, but I can’t deny a degree of anxiety about all the retreats we’ve got planned next year. That’s got me thinking, what do I bring to this stage of the pandemic adventure to get me through? I wrote last week about the need to look back, to recognise our achievements and successes and that’s certainly a good place to start.

Then there are all those old-fashioned virtues that are not always prominent on Instagram – determination, perseverance, patience, perspective, not giving up. I sometimes torture myself by asking myself if we shouldn’t be building our business faster. Maybe it’s just not possible in the current climate.

But maybe as you start to look inside yourself to find what you bring and what you have to offer to all the people who depend on you – staff, clients, suppliers, family, friends, you find you’re running on empty and the possibility of getting away for a break is rapidly fading. We know that one of our retreats would be ideal to help you recharge the batteries and find the resources to keep going.

It’s our intention to keep running in-person retreats as far as possible, so please keep in touch and watch this space for what’s coming up. Our ‘From Burnout to Flourishing’ retreat in February could be just what you need.

In Stories we Exist – Two day retreat, West Coast of Ireland – July 2022

What does the next stage of your life consist of?

Are you clear on the story you want to play out?

This is for anyone who wants to start writing and living the next stage of their life – whatever it might be.

Located in the breathtaking beautiful West Coast of Ireland in County Kerry, these two days provide so much more than simply two days away from the busyness and pressure.

After a reception and welcome meal, the first full day starts with a morning visiting local sites, where a local storyteller brings to life local folklore stories before free time to think, walk, and explore.

In the afternoon, the spotlight shifts onto our own stories, those we tell to others about our life, our work, our past, the special moments and celebrations, along with the opportunity to write a short piece.

Then in the evening, over drinks and supper, Irish authors share their insights into stories and the place they occupy in all our lives.

The next day is devoted to examining the previous afternoon’s stories and the impact they’ve had on us and those around us. What does this tell us about when we’re at our best, full of energy and joy – knowing we’re on track.  And how do we get from here to there – with practical steps to stay there?

Next Chapter Retreats give you the time, space and attention to write your next chapter.


What Are Retreats?

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘retreat’? I found this piece by Madisyn Taylor, author of DailyOM which sums it up beautifully.

‘Occasionally we need to pause – and step away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. One way to do this is to go on retreat. Far more than a holiday, a retreat offers us time to ourselves to rest, heal, reflect and renew our spirit. It is a time to cocoon so that we may emerge renewed refreshed and ready to return to everyday life with a new perspective. A retreat gives us time for uninterrupted meditation so that we may go deep within and spend time with ourselves.

A retreat may offer quiet solitude and sometimes even silence. Our senses may be reawakened to the beauty, sights and sounds of nature. When we spend days in contemplation, we can more easily hear our heart when it speaks to us. We are also able to really listen when a bird sings, breathe in the smell of flowers, grass, and earth. When we go on retreat we have time to take a long reflective walk through the woods where we give each step our full attention.

Without the pull of deadlines, relationships, the internet, or other media, we give ourselves time to go deep into our own solitude where we can fully reflect on our joys, sorrows and fears, owning them and releasing them as needed. We may even come to know and understand our life path more deeply. Hopefully, when we return home, we can take a little bit of this time alone back with us. We also may come back to our life more renewed and ready to take on the world.  

The beauty of going on retreat is that no matter where you go or how long you are away you will always meet yourself when you get there.’

Our retreats offer all of this. We provide guided reflective activities that stimulate your thinking in very carefully chosen, completely confidential small groups which enable you to explore the stories of your life more deeply to discover what you are like at your best and what holds you back. We help you retell those stories so that you can craft the next chapter of your life, whatever that needs to be for you. Our retreats will make a big difference to your mental health but are not primarily wellness retreats in that we don’t offer yoga or detox, though we stay in a lovely hotel where there’s a very good spa if you want a massage!

We work with successful people who may have lost a sense of purpose and direction, have run out of steam, gone off the boil and those who want to get back to their best. Our clients know the power of investing in their own personal growth and development, they are intelligent and self-aware. We help nurture that awareness into action, leading to a more fulfilled life. Bringing focus, renewed energy and impact. Contact us for a conversation

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