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Retreat Re-Entry: Making It Count

Retreat Re-Entry: Making It Count

Nov. 5, 2015
Vol.13, Issue 10

It’s hard to keep an active person down, but surgery will do it. I didn’t mean to disappear from your In-Box, but I forgot what it takes to heal from surgery. Lots of rest. I got a new hip in mid-September, which I was very excited about — Hip, Hip, Hooray! — because I know from the experience of getting new knees in 2008, that there’s relief out there beyond the pain and limited mobility caused by arthritis. Nonetheless, I had to yield to the healing power of rest.

Now, having released my crutch, I am ambling about, though not quite ready for prime time. I’m so happy to be able to get around in the kitchen without leaning on counters. Better yet, I’m looking forward to my first dog walk, and even better yet, my first real hike.

Last weekend was my first big foray out into the world. I went to a women’s retreat in Eugene, OR, which I had booked way back last spring. If you’ve been with me for years, you know how I love a women’s retreat. So I spent some time looking back through my saved material on such retreats, and I discovered this post by our speaker Dr. Deborah Kern. Sharing it struck me as the perfect way to re-enter here.

Retreats are Powerful
Re-Entry Is Just as Important

by Deborah Kern, PhDDebKernStanding HighRes

Everyone who attends a retreat leaves and returns to a full life. It’s kind of like stepping off a treadmill that’s going 10 mph and then returning. My advice? Slow that treadmill way down before jumping back on.
But it’s not always easy.
Luckily, I’ve been leading retreats and re-entering life as a working mom for years and I’ve discovered a few re-entry strategies that might be helpful to you.
Before you get home:

1. Write down what the retreat has helped you release and what you desire to call in. (You’ll use this information later).

2. If you are coming home to loved ones (friends, spouse, children, parents…) write 1–3 bullet points to express how the retreat benefited you, how it will benefit them and how it will benefit your relationship. What I’ve discovered is that loved ones really want to hear about your retreat, but they often don’t have the bandwidth to hear a complete download all at once. So it’s nice to be able to distill a few things for your first re-entry conversations.

3. Create a grocery list! This one is so important because while on retreat you have been fed delicious, nutritious, TIMELY meals. And since you’ve been gone, your fridge and cupboards are probably empty. So in order to continue feeling great, you’ll need to make an immediate trip to the grocery store – and since your brain has been so relaxed, you cannot depend on wandering the aisles and coming home with everything you need. Trust me. I’ve tried.

When you get home:
1. Create your new daily routine based on the things you committed to during your retreat. If you committed to morning meditation and a morning workout – start before checking emails and doing laundry. This key moment will determine how you will integrate and continue to expand the healing you received from the retreat.

2. Give yourself at least 2 days before fully jumping into your life if at all possible. If this isn’t possible (like my current situation where I literally jumped back into life as a traveling swim mom) then stay focused on one or two things you decided to call in (from #1 above.)

For example, I committed to add a specific meditation to my daily practice and to take the same good care of myself as I do of my son (this is huge.) So here I am, in an AirBnB house shuttling 2 swimmers back and forth to warm-ups and events, feeding them meals and snacks and coordinating with coaches…and I’m also starting each day with that meditation and making sure I have my morning smoothie and timely, prana-filled meals.

DebKrnSplayed copy

3. Stay in touch with at least one person who was on the retreat with you. This is a great way to share creative  solutions for re-entry conundrums.

4. Remember…. healing happens when you slow down and connect with nature. You can bring yourself back into the feeling of the retreat by taking a few moments to walk barefoot in grass. It can be that easy.


I’ve known Dr. Deb for many years. She was one of the first speakers I connected with when I started The Speak Well Being Group in 1998. This very week, she is leading a retreat in Costa Rica. This is a woman who walks her talk. Her friends like to call her Dr. Dare, because she doesn’t just talk about the things that interest her, she does them. Her years of practice as a nurse, health educator, personal trainer, yoga teacher and therapist have given her lifestyle insights not found in books. And she didn’t stop learning after earning her PhD in Health Sciences.

Her life is her laboratory. To learn about herbal medicine, she lived with indigenous women of the rainforest of Costa Rica. To understand the healing benefits of yoga, she lived in an ashram to study and experience yoga science and lifestyle. To study the ancient Indian healing system, Ayurveda, she apprenticed for eight years with an Ayurvedic physician. The only thing she likes more than learning, is sharing what she’s learned.

And she does share skillfully and vividly. Deb has that rare ability to take science-based data, and relate it to our every day lives. She moves seamlessly from talking to physicians about the mind-body connection, to working with nurses on stress relief, to helping women learn to listen to their bodies. At event after event she makes her points via sharing experiences, as well as humor, inspiring her listeners to make significant changes to improve their health and well-being. So whether you’re looking for a speaker to lead a retreat or keynote an event, you’re in good hands with Dr. Deb. Call me at 503-699-5031 for availability or email

Asking For Help

So even though I’ve been laid up, Bella the Beagle has had her walks thanks to stepdaughter Ann, and granddaughters Emma and Hope. As I was preparing for surgery — cleaning drawers and stocking up on things like toilet paper — I realized how much I do around the house that I wouldn’t be able to do for a few weeks, like watering outdoor plants, walking the dog, shopping, cooking, etc., and that this was a lot for the husband to take on. So, now that we have the kids so close — less than a half mile away — I had the brilliant idea to ask them to help out with dog walking and plant watering. My intentions were very much in my self-interest, as I figured if my husband had less pressure to do EVERYTHING, he could pay more attention to me. I’m happy to report that it worked. ;-), and the kids were happy to help.

One of the recommended precautions after hip replacement surgery is that they don’t want you bending over. That means I haven’t been able to unload the dishwasher or load/unload the stacked washing machine and dryer, or pick up stuff that falls on the floor — you have no idea how many things you’re dropping until you have to think before you bend over to pick them up. Nor am I physically able to put on my right sock and shoe. (That’s one thing my husband can do as a result of freeing his time to pay attention to me.) I’m not quite sure when I’m going to admit I can unload the dishwasher. I do highly recommend, however, asking for help.

Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!

The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, nurses, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they connect with their audiences while bringing them life-changing information, smiles of recognition and ultimately a sense of well being and hope.

Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me great joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.


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