• Hazelden Renewal Center

Getting to the Heart of Retreats

retreats

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”  Elizabeth Kübler-Ross When I think of retreats, I imagine practicing early-morning yoga, living virtuously on a plant-based diet for two weeks while detoxing my mind and body on a beach in Mexico. Even though my shoulders relax from up near my ears and my eyes widen at the prospect of such a retreat and some desperately needed time out, as I slowly exhale I … Continue reading

Too Much To Do

woman on elevator mountain of books

I am relaxed when I stop at the library, having dissolved a truckload of tension on a massage table. The library, not far from the spa, seems like a good place to kill some time before my next appointment. Good chance to pick up a novel and maybe a movie. Oh, here’s a good movie. Looks like it anyway. I’d better get another one just in case. Well, here are two that both sound promising. I’ll just take all three. Maybe I can get to all of them this week.  The CDs catch my eye. Oh, good thing I came … Continue reading

Social Integration Will Add Years to Your Life

young adults interacting

Smile and say hello to a random stranger today — social integration and personal relationships lead to longevity. Face-to-face connection releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters that reduces stress, including dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps give you a natural high and may relieve pain. It’s been found through various long-term studies that the top two predictors of living a long life are social integration and close relationships. Social Integration means interacting with everyone you come into contact with such as the barista, grocery clerk, a stranger, and people in your neighborhood. Close relationships may be the people that you can … Continue reading

The Art of the Urban Retreat

sauna towels

The sauna meister artfully swirled a white towel over his head, sending waves of eucalyptus scented steam to envelope us. “Try to hang in there and breathe it in,” he urged those of us remaining in the room. A couple of people from the group of 22 had slipped out the door already, opting instead to breathe in the urban air at the top of the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis. I moved to a lower bench in the small wooden-walled sauna, and calculated in an utterly unscientific way that it was probably 10 degrees cooler on the bottom bench versus … Continue reading

Sounds of Silence

Tuscon, Arizona

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”  Chaim Potok, The Chosen I retreated to Tucson in January for my annual days of silence. It was luxurious to leave Minnesota in the depths of winter. The low desert sun warmed my stay. I had another engagement in Arizona, leading me to wander the web to see what might be available for retreat. There were several. I chose the Desert House of Prayer, which borders Saguaro National Park, providing access to acres of open land and miles of trails for exploration. Most importantly, it … Continue reading

Take a Mini-Retreat with Aromatherapy

take a mini retreat with aromatherapy

Retreats are a vital part of healthy recovery and overall wellness. They come in all shapes and sizes; with varied costs, time commitments, and focus. Taking time for a retreat encourages rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Integrating a mini-retreat into your daily self-care routine is a simple way to manage stress and enhance your overall wellness. Aromatherapy is an effective and accessible wellness tool that can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle. So let’s explore aromatherapy, essential oils and how they work, and how you can start to use them right away to take that much needed retreat. What is Aromatherapy? … Continue reading

Memo From God

memo from God

I arrived at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center in Detroit, Michigan on a warm, sunny weekend in the late spring of 1991. My sponsor hinted strongly that I should attend the weekend gathering. Now that I was no longer suggestion-proof, I was discovering what he meant by going to any lengths. His timing was perfect, as usual. It felt like everything was caving in on me again. I needed some help. I sobered up and was divorced almost simultaneously early in 1987, one of the most difficult periods of my life. Now, four years later, disappointment and sadness … Continue reading

Go Away to Find Yourself

go away to find self

Could you use a break from your daily routine? Some time away for rest, reflection, and renewal? Maybe it’s time to go on a retreat. Whether you take a few hours, days, or months of downtime, going on retreat offers you a chance to unravel your thinking, be kind to your body, and revitalize your spirit. Here are the stories of how four Minnesotans create worthwhile retreat experiences for themselves. Two go on occasional retreats. For the other two, retreats are central to their spiritual life. Get Far Away from the Everyday Since his early retirement five years ago, Mike … Continue reading

Break the Chain: Go to a Retreat

wandering wild

Let’s face it, we live in a crazy world with crazy demands on us. Always on, always on the go, always more money to make, more bills to pay. Family, friends, obligations. It’s no surprise sometimes we need a break from the grind to find some peace of mind. So let’s not underestimate the power of a retreat — it can reset your life. Even just a day or weekend retreat can ground you in values and practices that empower and uplift you. A retreat can break the chain of old habits and free you to live by your highest … Continue reading