We live in such a fast paced society, where there is continuous reinforcing of the illusory belief of infinite economic growth, that we get stressed, we get anxious, and we get out of sync with the environment from which we came. For all the hi-tech connecting we’re doing we find ourselves severely malnourished when it comes to meaningful connection with the earth and with each other. It’s no wonder that studies have found that the hyper-connectivity we have with others through the internet and through phones are making us more depressed, not happier.
In order to rekindle the inherent connection we have with our environment and with the universe, we must first disconnect from the virtual reality we have recently created and connect to a several billion year-old reality. There’s an ever-increasing number of ways to reconnect with nature, something that’s proven time and time again to bring us happiness and wellness. One of those ways, which has been gaining a great deal of popularity lately, is to go on a wellness retreat. When you go on a retreat (be it focused on meditation, yoga, raw food, hiking adventures), you are ‘retreating’ from the artificial reality humanity has created, with its hustle and its bustle, and going into a place where life runs on natural time in its indigenous habitat.
I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a place called Perfect Vermont in the quintessential small Vermont town of Pittsfield. At the feet of the lush Green Mountains there is a community that has come together united to create a microcosm where we can become restored to our vitality, happiness, and zest for more meaningful connection to the earth and those who live on it. This collective of co-creators are include the Amee Farm Lodge, Riverside Farm, and Sweet Georgia P’s. What they have to offer are experiences that can both help us center ourselves and recalibrate our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements. Their vision is to be a gathering place where diverse groups can learn, share ideas, and leave with the knowledge and motivation to create positive change in their daily lives. They are changemakers.
To meditate and practice yoga in an environment with an energy that feels both comforting and refreshing is a life-enhancing experience for sure. It’s places like the Amee Farm Lodge and Riverside Farm that are run by people looking to help make a positive difference in others, helping make a greater imprint of a new paradigm. While I didn’t snowshoe in the forest, bike in the mountains, or participate in the Spartan races, I did more than enough to recharge and recenter myself amidst the idyllic surroundings.
While on the retreat I was introduced to all the various experiences small town Pittsfield, Vermont has to offer in the area of reconnecting with a rich and direct experience of nature. I set my sights on the retreat element because I know firsthand just how soul-nourishing it has the potential to be. I found myself affirming this while at Perfect Vermont.
To me it was indeed perfect, for it dissolved any worries, concerns, or lack of lucidity there may have been within me. The hiking on one of the many trails in those foothills of the Green Mountains covering 20 miles of trails while breathing an amazingly fresh spring air released any mental tension I may have had. The yoga down the street in a former Bikram studio dissolved any physical tension within my body that comes with any desk job. The stillness from the meditation practiced where there is no electromagnetic smog to cloud the mind created an avenue to insight thanks to the lucidity experienced.
For empaths and intuitives there is a uniquely warm feeling you get in the presence of ancient trees, be they in the forest or in the form of reclaimed wood in restored and converted farmhouses. This only adds to the soul rejuvenation experienced from the rest of the retreat experience. I was continuously envisioning the kind of experience I was having as something many others would hopefully get to have. In the unnecessarily fast-paced culture that humanity has either chosen or accepted here in the West we forget that it doesn’t have to be this way…it doesn’t have to be this way at all. It’s not making us any happier. Antidepressant use is higher than it ever was. Why do people feel they need to numb themselves from the reality they are experiencing? A life out of balance with the very environment we emerged out of will be a life filled with suffering.
We have the choice to choose whether we are in tune or not. Thanks to places like Perfect Vermont we can revitalize and recalibrate ourselves…something that shouldn’t just be confined to the infrequent wellness retreat escapade. Incorporate as much as you can that you experienced at such retreats into your daily life. Practicing ashtanga vinyasa yoga, meditating on stillness, and directly connecting with the forest and lovable goats is something I knew I could bring back with me and have as part of my daily life (well, minus the goats).
We have much more freedom than we let ourselves experience. Of course there are elements that a retreat has to offer us that we don’t necessarily have the ability to experience in our day-to-day lives (which is why going on a retreat is such a great idea) but never feel as if the only solution to the suffering brought on by a society out of sync with nature is to do things that numb our consciousness.
I can picture myself holding a yoga and meditation retreat here as the space inside and out is ideal for a New England-flavored retreat back to wholeness. Tom and Erlin (the people behind making the retreats possible) are wonderfully warm and open to exploring further the ways in which they can help create an environment that’s conducive to a deeper and richer personal transformation. I know this will not be my last time and I do hope that others can experience what I experienced. Life is incredibly short against the backdrop of the universe and to go through it without nourishing the whole Self is going through life living a shadow of what is possible. So go on and get lucid. You’ll thank yourself many times over that you did.