You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
I not only survived my very first retreat, but I had an amazing time, too! It exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait to do it again. What crazy idea do you have that you should try? This one was mine, and I’m so thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone and did it.
In honor of my crazy idea, this episode is also an experiment for me, so if this is your first time listening, know that this is not my usual format. It is more of a narrative and an audio journey. Whether you are a first-time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try. I open with the sounds of nature that I heard as I laid in my tent during my very first GPS Reset Weekend Retreat.
I’m thankful to my first retreat attendee, who took a chance on my idea, signed up, and uncovered how brave she is.
00:00:00 [Background nature sounds] Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 42: My First Retreat: An Audio Experience. … Hello, my future empty nest friend. This episode is an experiment for me. If this is your first time listening, know that this is absolutely not my usual format, and more than likely will happen very rarely. It takes a lot more work. Whether you are a first time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try.
00:00:00 [Background nature sounds] Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 42: My First Retreat: An Audio Experience. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:40 Hello, my future empty nest friend. This episode is an experiment for me. If this is your first time listening, know that this is absolutely not my usual format, and more than likely will happen very rarely. It takes a lot more work. Whether you are a first time listener or not, thanks for giving this episode a try.
00:01:01 [Background nature sounds] These are the sounds of nature as I laid in my tent during my very first GPS Reset weekend retreat. The event exceeded my expectations. I am so incredibly thankful of my very first retreat attendee who took a chance on my crazy idea, signed up and uncovered how brave she is.
00:01:24 Okay, so I’m walking home and some of my friends asked if I would do some vlogging, so I will put this all together at the end, but I’m about to go on my very first retreat, and the night before I’m staying all by myself, camping. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, so yeah, I’m a little nervous. But it’s an emotion. I’m going to work through it. I’m going to build my own freaking fire, and it might rain on me, and I will let you know how it goes.
00:01:53 Look at that sky. That’s the direction I’m heading, and the torrential downpour that I just drove through, could be an interesting evening.
00:02:02 Yes, I do all of the set up of my campsite the night prior to my attendees arriving. My site is kind of the home base, so I have a covering for the picnic table. My tent is huge, in case it rains all day, we can hang out inside there, with our chairs and still do our coaching. I do that the night prior. It also allows me time the morning before arrival that I can recharge myself, so I may serve them best.
00:02:31 Look what I did. I’m almost done. It said drape rainfly over the tent. Okay. Tent and me. It’s like, taller than me. I’m like, how am I going to do this solo? Slow and steady. Being present. I’m really proud of myself, and I did notice after getting this far, that all the poles I put in upside down. That was fun.
00:02:55 Wow, that took twice as long as the tent. But I did it, so now, if it rains, I can run from one to the other and cook.
00:03:04 In case you are wondering, I stay where there are modern restrooms. No pit toilets for me. I draw the line there. And, I look my best late at night in campground’s restroom. If you’re listening to this and not watching it, yes, I have a picture.
00:03:20 [Background nature noises] That’s like a creepy movie. I have my solar lamps in the tent. I am in the tent; I did a fire. It lasted more than 10 minutes.
00:03:29 [Background nature noises] It’s 6:30 in the morning. I made it through my first night all by myself, and if you watch the rest of this video, you’re watch my hair get worse and worse.
00:03:38 [Background nature noises] Hey, so it’s about 9:30. I just finished reading a book. It’s the Dalai Lama, and what’s it? “An Open Heart.”
00:03:48 I’m charging all of my solar items, including my phone right now. Well, using the solar panel to charge my phone, before I go on a walk. Just in case.
00:03:59 Well, I made it to the trail. I cleaned up the campsite a little bit. I have water. I have everything I need, and I will show you the falls, maybe a little bit of the trail, too.
00:04:19 [Background running water noises] As I walked along the trail, I stopped to listen to the water a few times. It’s so interesting, I’m trying to just focus on nothing, nature, without labeling it. That’s really tough. I only make it a couple minutes, if I’m lucky, and then I catch myself thinking about all these things. I just came upon a wedding in the woods. That was pretty cool, by the falls.
00:04:57 [Background running water noises] So, here I sit, and I think I made a little progress on my own. When I was on that spot, I should be no less peaceful than when I’m sitting here. Tough work. Really tough work. There was one moment where I slipped on a rock, and my foot fell into mud. The focus and energy and presence that I had at that moment, you know, it’s like it pulls you out of everything else you’re thinking about and all that you’re focused on is that moment, is moving your foot from one place to another. I had no anxiety for the first time in my life over it, so I’ve made progress, but that focus and determination is what we want in every moment of our lives. Whether it’s sitting at our desk, whether it’s sitting here in this beauty. You know, there’s beauty everywhere. Sitting at our desk, driving in the car, and those thoughts and the presence of being where you are in the moment, is what you take with you in every moment of your life. The environment has less to do with it than our thoughts, and I already know this, but I was thinking of the irony of I say that as I’m sitting here in nature. But sometimes we need these moments to reset us, to regroup us. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to walk through, to go through life and really stay present. Oh, my. But it’s worth it.
00:06:32 I felt led to keep my hands together, kind of like, thank you, praying position. It keeps me balanced and little more focused on my thoughts. There’s some bug on me. Excuse me. What I noticed, is when my thoughts trail into other things, like when my guest comes in a few hours, or my day job, my pace changes. It’s not as peaceful. It depends on the emotion brought up. I just found that interesting.
00:07:03 [Background rushing water noises] I made it to the bottom of the falls. Interestingly enough, the top of the falls is not well marked, so you easily could do this whole trail and miss it. So, my voice-over you might not be able to hear, is that sometimes the most beautiful parts, just like life, are off the trail.
00:07:23 Two hours and 45 minutes later, I’m back to my car. I really took my time. The purpose was not to be fast. It was for mental health, and it was good. It was worth it. It was what I needed. Off to get back to the campsite, and get ready for my guest.
00:07:43 Yes, I provide a covered picnic area for my retreat guests, as well as a two-burner camping stove. I brew a lot of hot water for coffee. I need coffee. I don’t pack elaborate meals for myself, and go for ease, lots of raw fruits and veggies. Kind of what I eat at home, too, to be honest. If you were to join me, I provide water and coffee for you. You bring whatever you want to eat and any coffee additions you like. One of my favorite moments before my guest arrived, was when I bought an axe. Isn’t this how horror movies start?
00:08:22 I bought an axe, chopped some wood, and I made that fire. It’s legit. It’s a real fire. I’m just going to move a little back here. Look at that.
00:08:34 [Background nature noises] Once my guests arrive, I am available for encouragement and assistance as they pitch their own tent at their site. We then have time to meet one another, and chat through dinner. We end the evening with group coaching and some introductory discussions about presence, around the fire.
00:08:51 [Background camping stove noises] Hi, so it’s Saturday morning. I got up early, prepped the stove, so water will be hot for coffee, and we’ve got about an hour, and then we’re going to go on a silent hike, or a place to just sit, and work on presence. So, good work.
00:09:11 [Background fire noises] My retreat guest built this. I’m super proud of her, and we just roasted marshmallows, had smores, and we are working on finding our future selves. Fantastic.
00:09:32 Christine: Yes! Oh, my God.
Retreat Guest: Did you get it?
Christine: I got so excited, I moved the…
Retreat Guest: Okay, now we need to get more. I want the bottom cotton balls to light.
Retreat Guest: Oh, got them.
Christine: All right. We’ll come back, show you how we did.
00:09:48 Christine: Oh, that’s video. Hey, say “Hi.”
Retreat Guest: Hi.
Christine: Here’s our fire.
Retreat Guest: I did that!
00:09:53 [Background nature noises] I’m going to bed early tonight. We earned it. We did a lot. It was great. So much work and came up with the idea that, if you are on this retreat, you will leave with three action items that you can implement over the next 30 days, and I will check in with you, 30 days or a little after, not necessarily that day, to see how you are doing, and see if you need to assess, address, change them up, or if I just congratulate the heck out of you, which is what I want for everyone.
00:10:32 [Background camping stove noises] Good morning, it’s Sunday morning. I cannot wait to drink my coffee, which is heating up right now. We had rain last night, and looks like everyone did okay. I’m waiting for check in shortly. It was a great day yesterday. This is super exciting. I’m so glad I did this. Whatever crazy idea you have in your head, you need to go do it, because this was one of mine, and I am so thankful I did it. I can’t wait to do it again.
00:11:06 We took a short hike to a lake, and worked a little bit more on presence. We also worked a little bit on staying on the not-so-well-marked trail. While my guest looks like a walking advertisement for REI, I’m kind of jealous, I am layered with whatever is in my closet to get me through the day. Both levels of hiking gear and camping preparation are perfectly acceptable for these GPS Reset weekends.
00:11:35 On this, my very first retreat, I had just listened to Brook Castillo’s podcast episode titled, “Giving It Up.” It hit me Sunday morning that we have the perfect opportunity to list things we are ready to give up in our life. Write them down, and burn the paper in the fire. So, we did that. Now, my guest’s ready-to-give-up list is not mine to share, but mine, for this trip were gossip, afterwork TV watching, doubting myself, and talking to fill quiet. Yeah, I gave myself one extra. Always the over-achiever. Go away, I’m done with you. Yours catch? Yup, yours caught. Okay. Done with them.
00:12:24 Hey, red cheeks an all. Oh, by the fire. My client just left. We had a fantastic first retreat. It worked out really well. She was kind enough to leave some words about her time here with me, and I am about to pack up my things, and I’ll let you listen to them. Here you go.
00:12:49 Christine: If you look at your goals for this trip, do you feel as if you’ve reached them?
Retreat Guest: So, one of them, I reached. It was to go home refreshed and reset, and I definitely feel that I’ve reached that goal. The other one was more far-reaching, but I definitely feel like I have a direction and some clear ways in which I can work every day on achieving that goal.
Christine: Did you get anything else out of this retreat?
Retreat Guest: I think I’m going home feeling a little bit more confident in my own self-reliance. Even though Christine was at the site next door, it was the first time I ever pitched a tent and slept in the woods by myself, and that felt great. It was the first time I ever started a fire, even attempted to start a fire from a spark, and I did it. The fire was great. It burned for hours.
Christine: My last question is, what message do you wish to give someone considering this retreat?
Retreat Guest: Just do it. Just sign up. Find the courage to sign up and then you will find courage through the weekend that you never knew you had.
Christine: Thanks for joining me and I hope to see you at one of my upcoming retreats. Bye!
00:13:52 [Background nature noises] The questions I have for you in this episode are: have you ever done anything like this? And, would you ever do anything like this? I invite you to fly on over to our Facebook group to share your answers to these questions with our amazing flock. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. I know the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
00:14:30 [Background nature noises] Okay, we’re going to get back on track, and my next episode’s title is “Are You Living Your Life as a Victim?” If my episode has helped you in anyway, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
I couldn’t agree more. I recently returned from a camping trip, and while preparing for it, I realized that I enjoy these trips tremendously because of the inability to use my cell phone.
It makes a few days feel like a week – I attribute that to the fact that I’m more present in my life when my phone has no service. Isn’t it crazy that by connecting ourselves in this way (online), that we disconnect ourselves from the life right in front of us?
I do a lot of coaching about living through your emotions and finding future you, but attempting to make significant changes in your life without being fully present is an uphill battle: a vertical rocky cliff type of battle.